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Got to apply for a school for ds1 - have large or small schools worked for you? Please help!

(6 Posts)
kt14 Mon 06-Oct-08 14:51:54

I have a real dilemna making this decision, and happily it's because we're spoilt for choice. DS1 is 3.2, is pre dx but probably has HFA/lang disorder. He happily attends 2 mainstream preschools, both of which feed into local primary schools. These are our options -

Big school - 1 mile from home, great reputation, very large - 60 per year, good SENCO, good resources for SN, feeds into local secondary.

Small school - 6 miles from home, great reputation again, very small, 15 kids per year, fantastic staff-pupil ratios - 4:1 in nursery/reception. Experience with SN inc HFA but fewer actual resources.

The larger school would be more convenient and have better resources, but the pastoral care offered by the smaller school might be better for ds1 as the staff already know him well and have been so supportive through his time in nursery there.
Also got ds2 to consider who is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Can anyone help or advise? Teacher friends say definite yes to the large school, purely for resources, but the small school has more teaching assistants than I've ever seen elsewhere and ds1 is thriving in preschool there. Both schools are very popular so starting in one and changing to another may not be an easy option..

dustystar Mon 06-Oct-08 14:56:23

I think I'd be tempted to go for the smaller school since he is already at nursery there and is happy.

kt14 Mon 06-Oct-08 15:12:47

He is very happy there, but I meant to mention that they mix up ages in classes higher up the small school, so although resources in reception are amazing, when he hits 6 yrs old, he'll potentially be in a classroom with 8 yr olds. He's an Aug baby so that doesn't help.

TotalChaos Mon 06-Oct-08 17:32:37

that's difficult - what sort of ratios do they have further up the school for staffing? I would see what senco has to say abut support for Yr1 kids with language problems. oddly DS's school is very similar to the small school you have described (it's a fresh start school so I suspect it's had lots of money thrown at it that's been well spent). and he is absolutely thriving there. Another thing you might want to consider is after school/breakfast clubs if you are likely to return to work.

btw - what sort of resources are you thinking of?

kt14 Mon 06-Oct-08 18:45:54

Thanks totalchaos, the resources at the larger school include a full time SENCO who works one to one with any children with additional needs, statemented or not. They have a fun fit class which runs every morning and is geared towards children with SN and encourages team building, listening skills, improvement in co ordination etc.

It does also have good breakfast/after work clubs which is a very good point in its favour - I'd forgotten that the smaller one didn't and I do intend going back to work in the next couple of years.

Did ask our SENCO but she is very diplomatic, and thinks each school has its advantages. She has warned me off another local school though, so I know she'd tell me if she had concerns with either of them.

dustystar Mon 06-Oct-08 18:47:36

I think you need to go in and have a chat with the SENCO and the head from both schools before you make a decision. Try and go when the children are there so you can get a real feel for the place.

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