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Which primary school?(38 Posts)
What would you choose & why?
School A - 1 class of 30 per year group, non faith, very academic driven, more modern/liberal approach to teaching, newish building, equal distance as school B but logistically a bit harder to get to
School B - 2 classes of 30 per year group, faith school (Christian), more traditional approach to learning, old building & a bit tired, equal distance as school A but easier to get to
First child going to school & worried about which to put as No.1 choice. Both in catchment area. Tia
We were lucky in many ways that all the schools around us were equally 'good' so we looked at other things such as before and after school club. We also looked at what environment would suit ds best. He needed a nurturing, calm, structured environment so we went for the school that suited him. If it had been ds2 we may have chosen a different school.
We did go for a single form entry but looking back that isn't always best. It can limit friendship choices and once you are in that group of 30 there is no flexibility if there are issues.
Surely the biggest argument is faith vs non faith? I'd personally never sent my children to a faith school so would be an easy decision for me
What faith? RC or CofE? It makes quite a lot of difference where I live. RC is pretty much RC children. CofE Controlled are a lot more diverse (religion wise). So if it’s CofE, possibly B. Unless A is exceptional in other ways. Do you prefer liberal teaching? Not sure I know what that is! You don’t mention attainment, quality of teaching, progress of DC, prior attainment or even where you, as a parent, might fit in. Outside space, sport, music, art, drama and other activities might be of interest too. Look at their newsletters - which one is more dynamic? What are the heads like? Lots to weigh up.
I can see your dilemma as we found a single form entry not great.
Does the bigger one mix the classes up? If they don’t then I’d say there’s no benefit to two classes. You’d expect them to be mixed once or twice throughout primary to see a benefit.
Do you have a faith? Is it the same as the faith schools? If not, are you happy for your child to be educated at a faith school? The impact of that will be different at RC or CofE schools.
Liberal and modern and big enough
There is a benefit to 60 dc per year group. More expertise within a larger group of staff is the obvious one. Team teaching is easier to deploy. Sports teams and music might well be better.
Sorry. When I said Christian I meant CofE. Not Catholic. So it’s a C of E school. I don’t mind either way if it’s CofE or not as here that tends to be even non religious children. Option B is just known as the ‘big primary school’ & option A is known as the ‘small school’. I didn’t know if the faith would impact resources & funding that the school can get.
I have no idea what the teaching is like. Ofsted reports & data are pretty much equal. Both heads were good. DC is currently at a preschool doing fine.
I can’t decide whether 1 form or 2 form is better?
DC isn’t sporty in the slightest so that’s not a factor for us. All of preschool friends/my parent friends are sending DC to the bigger option B, mostly because they all went there & it’s logistically easier to get to. But again I wouldn’t send DC just on that basis either...
'Very academic' and 'liberal approach to teaching' read like contradictions to me. In what way are they liberal? The more academic school near me is very into reward charts and behaviour charts with a cloud, the less academic (still good results) doesn't do reward charts, is more inclusive of SEN and has a more 'a happy child will learn' approach.
For me, 2 form always wins if everything else is equal. It means more kids for the potential friendship group, plus the capacity to switch classes around if there's a problem. More kids in the school = a bigger budget, more staff, capacity for a greater variety of after school clubs, more opportunities for staff so hopefully better retention. Your child might not always get onto the football team or be the lead in the Christmas show, but there might be a better quality of performance in both because there's a greater pool of talent to draw on.
My kids are/were in a 2 FE school (one is at secondary now) and I honestly think it's the ideal size for a primary. Plenty of people feel strongly the other way though!
I’m part of the opposite view to the pp - all else being equal i’d always go smaller for Primary, one form entry only.
One of the great things about Primary imo is the sense of belonging, of community - knowing every teacher, all the kids (and most of the parents).
All of mine have been in one form entry schools - usually around 30 but my middle sons year was a very unusual low-birth year and there were 17 in his class!
There’ve always been plenty of extra curricular clubs/trips and I love the community feel of the school. There’s plenty of time for them to spread their wings and get used to multiple form entry at comp.
Sorry, I don’t think liberal was the right word. I was trying to say it didn’t feel like a ‘traditional’ school in the way that I remember school. I should have said they seem to have a more modern, forward thinking attitude to teaching (eg all staff participate in research, focus on child being happy as a huge part of teaching). The building itself is very modern as just been built with renewable energy, recycled rainwater etc. But it’s 1 form and in a pig of a location.
The 2 form school is more of a ‘normal’ traditional school, itms?
Loved our single class entry school.
No lack of expertise at all, had such a happy atmosphere as every teacher knew every child. Lots of TAs - 2 per class until Yr4.
For me it would be school A because I like everything about the sound of it. I would not choose a faith school if I had another good choice.
If all things are near enough equal go for the one that's easier to get to. Travelling there and back twice a day for seven years gets old really fast.
@OrangeGinLemonFanta - good point, the travel to & from school I’m yet to experience!
I wouldn’t say they’re both equal. They’re completely different, it’s like comparing apples to pears. If I could pick option A up and put it in option B location I’d definitely go for that. Location is worrying me & the fact it is smaller. Other than that, it’s great. Option B is in a much more convenient location & is bigger, but seems more average overall than option A
Make a decision and sleep on it... If you wake up in a flap... Swap the decision... See if you sleep better...
A daft technique but it worked for me. 😂
@happytoday73 😂😂 I’ll give it a go!!
Try the school run for school A. Get up, leave at the time you would have too and see how bad it actually is. You will be doing it a lot for the next 7 years so you don’t want to be stuck with it if it really is bad.
Please note that CofE are not ‘faith’ schools! They are schools of a religious character. People who are anti quite often don’t really know what this means in practise.
I would choose B - your child will get great nurture, pastoral and spiritual (not religious) development as part of the ethos. You will get a lot of nice church/community events. The academics work out wherever they are.
What is a faith school then? I thought the fact it belongs to the Church academy & they base their values on bible teachings made it faith? They have prayer, hymns etc. Whereas the other school had nothing to do with any faith, other than just standard RE lessons
I actually tried the school run, they were both easy - but the roads are dead around here at the moment with a local lockdown
Faith schools are only for people of that faith. So generally speaking you have to be Catholic to go to a catholic school for example.
CofE schools are for ‘all faiths and none’ but their Trusts are tasked with making the education distinctively Christian.
What this means in practise is that collective worship (which all schools have to have by law) will mention God and prayer but your children, or any of the staff for that matter, will not be compelled to have to join in if they don’t want to. Prayer is invited ‘if you would like to join me in prayer please do, if you would like to sit silently with your own thoughts that’s fine too.’
The beauty of church schools, whether you are a Christian or not, is the values - great emphasis is put on kindness, tolerance, forgiveness, reconciliation, justice for the lowest and least, critical thinking, spiritual development, joy and wonder. The want to develop the ‘whole child’ not just SATs results.
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