The pros and cons of a village school education please!(23 Posts)
We are moving home! So I have started ringing around schools to find spaces for DD (Y2) and DS (FS2/reception). Our school of choice is full in reception.
Exploring a bit further I have found a school in a nearby village with spaces for both of them. Ofsted is good although I would need to visit. Class sizes are small - DS would be in a class of 15.
I had just never envisaged them going to a village school - not sure why. What would you say are the pros and cons?
How small is the school?
With small village schools the classes are usually mixed year groups and there can be friendship issues with a much smaller pool of same aged children. There may be fewer after school activities.
But, you will really only get a feel for it and know if it is right when you visit.
It didn't work for ds, he's the sort that needs lots happening and small schools simply don't have the staff to run lots of clubs. For instance on a typical lunchtime at his new school there would be more teachers involved in sport or clubs than there were teachers at the country school.
He only has one class per year level and they are small classes - so that limited choices for sport down to 2. This will get better though as the school is top heavy.
Small classes are good if there is enough kids for friendship groups. I am working with a boy in a yr5/6 class and there is 8/18 boys and only 2 year 6 so difficult for friendships.
I have also seen a lot of children with severe SN successfully staying in a small school until year 7 instead of transferring to Special much earlier.
How big is the school altogether?
DS goes to a village lower school (so reception to year 4). There is one class per year and a mixed nursery/reception class and about 150 children altogether in the school. The classes lower down are fuller than the ones higher up from what I have seen.
It is a great school and DS loves it. DD is looking forward to starting nursery there after Christmas.
There are 148 children in the school a the moment. DD will be in a mixed Y1/Y2 class - which she's in at the moment but not because her current school is small it's because it's big - there are 3 Y1/Y2 classes!!
Our school has 60 pupils from Yr R to Yr 5, 3 of them are mine .
all kids know everybody, lots of mixing between year groups in playground,
lots of extra attention for what would be considered minor sn issues in a bigger school, lots of IEPs.
Small classes so teacher time not spread too thinly.
Very good discipline because of small class size.
not many children to choose from for friendships in own year group - can be as few as 2 girls in one year group.
Not many after school clubs/lunchtime clubs (but that means you take them to other activities in next village and so they make more friends with kids who they will see at high school, so not really a con)
I teach in a small village school, we currently have 80 children in 4 classes ( R/1, 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6)There are certainly some disadvantages, I have only 2 year 6 boys, several siblings in one class ( at one time when I taught R/1/2 I had three children from the same family in my class!) and we NEVER win football matches ;(
But I know each and every child in the school and am on first name terms with most parents, what we consider poor behaviour wouldn't even be noticed in larger schools, our SEN provision is excellent, discipline is never a problem and if you want to represent your school at any sport you can do, everyone plays! We do run a variety of after and lunch clubs, we currently have 9 running, and the individual attention the children get can make all the difference.
Today I have also been offered places in another larger school - 278 pupils! It has an outstanding ofsted report and although it is a similar distance away it is in the opposite direction and the journey will be busier!
Not sure what to do now - I guess I should wait until I have visited them both! Thanks for your advice
My dc go to a village school with just over 100. DD Yr2 (class mixed yr1/2 - 30 in total in class), Ds in reception (16 in class).
The benefits are that everyone knows everyone, the older children are great with the little ones.
For us the problem with lack of teams for sports is an issue (dd very sporty), I work and have other dc so can't run her around much after school. Also lack of friend pool is a bit of a problem.
I agree that you can't get a true flavour of the school until you visit. Small schools particularly depend on their staff.
Good luck with the move
My dd's school has 220 and the pro's are that you know everyone, you know all the teachers, familiarity (forgetting the whole fire issue LOL)
However, I regret not putting her in a bigger school as the social side is hard, small peer group (1 form intake a year)
crap after/before school care
crap school involvement in sporting inter school events and when they DO enter something, no teachers turn up.
PTFA consists of head & deputy, no other teacher turns up at any fair etc etc
I do like it in a lot of ways, and I wouldnt change her (no point now as yr 6) but I do envy bigger schools.
Me and DW both went to a village school and it did us no harm - in fact we did rather well. If we did not have the money for private schooling we would choose a village school over just about any other option for DSs.
The only thing I would say is that 15 to a class is definitely in the territory where an LEA might decide to close it down and amalgamate it with another nearby school to save money.
Happened a lot in Oxfordshire to small village schools that had great Ofsted reviews.
I'd go for the village school over a bigger one
Pros are what have already been mentioned above. Plus, I have found our local Village school has a real community feel which is lovely for both parents and children.
Lots of events on at the school during holidays and end of term e.g. summer fair where all the village is involved.
Cons - don't have any from my POV, but I guess it depends what you are looking for in a school
QOD, I am astonished that you describe a school with 220 as a small school. THat is a normal sized school to me.
I think to the OP you can only decide having seen the schools and deciding which has the best atmosphere for your DC.
astonished is a strong reaction LOL
Most of the other schools in the vicinity are 2 form intake (twice the size). The only 1 form ones are church/village ones and I do wish I had gone for the one in the next town rather than in the closest village (we do live in said village now)
Sorry QOD, should have explained my astonishment was partly due to the fact that my DS goes to a school that has 30 children.
Also when I was growing up the majority of the schools had a one form intake, very few had two.
wow! Are the friendship group things hard?
My dd struggles a bit, she is a bit inflexible, being an only child - I hate it
my three are all at our village school - there are 68 pupils altogether.
Pros: everyone knows everyone, moving into a different class is made less scary because the teachers and children generally know each other quite well already, mixed year group classes are a good thing imo as teachers become very good at differentiating work. The school is small and easy to navigate for a very young child. There's generally a 'family feel' about the place.
Cons: Friendship groups have been a big problem for us in the past, the extracurricular provision is woeful (although this does vary - I know small schools that do loads), before and after school care isn't going to happen due to lack of demand, if there is no one taking a particular interest in, for instance, languages, music or art, the education your child will receive in these will be extremely basic.
Both my two went to our village primary, 73 pupils. They left at the end of year 5.
I'm not going to go through all the list because most have been covered.
Really, what matters most is the head. We chose the school because she picked up on our son's unusual name and knew where it had come from. My heart kind of melted at that.
You will be integrated into your community in a way you won't otherwise. My children have brought us into local life in a way I never thought possible. They know children from every kind of background. Although it's C of E we are Catholic and the school also has muslim children in it. And used to have some Jewish kids, too.
Your children will probably be nurtured by the school in a family atmosphere. I miss this a bit now, tbh.
You will get a chance to be involved in your local school. I still go in, even though my two have left, because I miss the contact and the staffroom chat.
Fewer playmates to choose from. Less competition if you have bright children.
We have 3 classes and 60 children at our school.
Teachers know all the children very well even before they start in their class.
Smaller class sizes
Better relationship between home and school not as much 'us and them'
Actually we have much ,more parental involvment and a HUGE range of clubs (well 12 this term anyway) many run by parents.
more trips because smaller number of kids to cope with
More chance of being in teams (and we only compete against other similar sized schools)
Smaller friendship pool
one Bad teacher has more effect on your DCs education
maybe too small to publish SATS results
Not enough interest to attract peripatetic music teachers to come
Cliquiness -some may resent non catchment children coming in and filling up THEIR school
Often very narrow band socio-economically (although you might see this as a good thing)
My dds have been at medium sized primary, then big primary, then to the current little village school (100 pupils). The pros and cons are as people say, though in fact my only real con is that with two dds in consecutive years they are sometimes in the same class which I don't like).
for us the huge pro is that the dds can walk to school and their friends are local and they are thoroughly involved in the village communtiy by going to the local school, if they'd stayed at the further away bigger school when we moved to a village they wouldn't have been part of either place properly. so for me that's the plus of a village school, if you live in the village it's your local one. I don't really get why people commute out from our local city to go to our school, I would never bother, it's not that great compared to the bigger city schools.
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