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debate with me the two primary schools i need to choose from! please : )

11 replies

eleanorsmum · 06/12/2007 11:05

Ok we have two 'good' schools which are both within walking distance from home (need to be as am childminder and too many for car on some days!).

One is a lovely roman catholic school (husband was bought up catholic and teaches in catholic school now). it has one class a year group of maximum 30 pupils. dd is 3 and would start in september with the rest of the class. school is well laid out, has IT suite, infant and junior library, fantastic outside space and whole class instrument lessons.

The other is a community priamry school. she would enter at easter into the nursery class in afternoons. she currently does 5 afternoons at local pre-school. then she'd start reception in january with the whole class. class size is 25 in rec, yr1+2. BUT then in 3456 they mix them so 34 tog and 56 tog. each class is then at a maximum of 33. they are set for english maths and science from yr 3. good grounds, faclities, It etc. they are going through major rebuild next summer but dd would have two different rooms for her nursery time, one from easter to sept then another from sept til xmas.

Took dh this morn and we're planning a discussion tonight and just wnated some other input. think my main concern with the 2nd school is the mixed ages. dd is an august baby and would therefore be just 7 mixing with children who turn 9 in septmeber. both feel nice and supportive, lots of ta's around. so small catholic school (which also may hold her back a little when she goes to secondary as they are all very big round here!) or bigger community school? arg feel like i'm going round in cricles!

OP posts:
tiredAli · 06/12/2007 11:17

Don't worry about mixed age groups classes - in a good school the curriculum will be well planned and there is such a wide spread of ability in each class anyway it really doesn't make that much diffence. In fact, it can be extremely beneficial because if your little one turns out to be a whizz at maths for instance, she'll be well stretched and challenged.
The community feel at a church school can be real plus.
I can't offer any advice about how the size of the primary affects how they settle at secondary school - but I'd be willing to say that a lot depends on how well the schools handle the transition. Perhaps that's something you could find out about and factor into your decision.

eleanorsmum · 06/12/2007 13:53

ok thanks for that. did think about the fact she might get stretched but what if she gets too far ahead and then repats it next year?

OP posts:
eleanorsmum · 06/12/2007 17:53


OP posts:
tiredAli · 06/12/2007 20:03

Repetition in mixed year groups rarely happens in a good school because the planning will be on a 2 year cycle so that content isn't repeated. Also, say your dd turns out to be the maths whizz, in year 3, she'd probably do what an average year 4 would do and in year 4 do what an average year 5 gets etc.

nooka · 06/12/2007 20:24

I'd look at the results. Our experience of mixed classes has not been a good one. If well planned it can work well academically, but I have found it very disruptive on the friendship front. The other thing to bear in mind is that with a few exceptions the reason why mixed classes are used is because there aren't enough children for single year classes, and an under subscribed school may be a school that people don't want to go to. We have one school locally that has always had mixed classes, and it is the most desirable in the borough, but the others mix because they just don't have enough children (like my children's school). My poor dd hasn't started a year (she is in yr2) yet with more than five children she knows well in her class, and it hasn't done her confidence much good.

Heated · 06/12/2007 20:46

Sounds slightly similar to our choice: nearest smaller primary, one class of 30 or slightly further away bigger primary with 3 classes of 24.

We went for the nearest one with one class of 30. Stable environment, good use of TAs, better results, more formal bums on seats/hands up teaching which would suit our ds, music classes, wider curric looked good, pupils focused & on task.

The other school in some ways looked better resourced and had very friendly staff but the open plan classrooms felt distracting & a bit manic.

Tbh, I am nitpicking as both looked like nice places to be.

tiredAli · 06/12/2007 21:12

Small year groups don't necessarily mean undersubscribed! (and the negative connotations that go with that) Children have confidence issues for many reasons and some thrive when they have to make new friends at the beginning of each year. If the class was being mixed up half way through a year I could see that causing problems, but a fresh start for each school year can be a good thing for some children.

nooka · 08/12/2007 18:47

Should have clarified - in our local area there are too many schools. The really popular ones get filled up in seconds, and the others struggle (and fail) to make it up to two full classes. This year two of the schools have been cut to one form entry, so it shouldn't be such a problem in future. I agree if you haven't done very well at making friends then mixing it all up can be helpful and give you a fresh start, but poor dd seems to always make friends with the children from the other year her class is mixed with, so she has lost friends (expecially this year when her old best friend went into juniors, who have different play times). She then has to start again and has found other children have settled into groups, which is hard work to break into. Maybe if the school had planned mixed classes it would be different, but where it happens because the school has no choice I don't think it's a very good thing. Certainly there was uproar amongst parents when our new head decided to mix all the yr1/2 and yr3/4 classes this year.

PortAndLemonaid · 08/12/2007 19:00

My primary school had mixed classes and as pp suggested I did find it quite disruptive on the social/friendship front.

SparklePrincess · 09/12/2007 16:59

I am planning on moving my dd`s after Christmas from a tiny school with small classes & mixed age groups to a one form entry school with much larger classes, purely because of the disruption caused to friendships & lack of girls in my youngests year group.

TotalChaos · 09/12/2007 17:02

have you visited either yet? as one may just "feel" right. Otherwise I reckon the RC one has the edge, the non-mixing sounds more straightforward to me.

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