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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:17 am 
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I was taking a look at the website of a very well regarded London prep and was surprised to see it had class sizes of 24. I believe this included a TA so the actual TA/teacher pupil ratio not too high.

Is this unusual? If the prep was otherwise suitable would you consider it?

How much of a deal breaker would class sizes of 24 be for those considering independent schools?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:12 am 
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reckon depends on the school and what you find when you visit. First school was co-ed and some "lively" boys :roll: - so great benefits from class sizes around 12 - then DD went to girls only - all v well behaved :wink: and classes of 20 absolutely . I am sure if you see a class in action you will know whether the higher number works... ...


... just thinking about this again... 24 suddenly seemed high but my church primary (decades ago) was 44 .... we got 3 public school scholarships, 2 to KEHS, group to GS (can't remember how many)....


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:12 am 
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Cranleigh wrote:
Is this unusual? If the prep was otherwise suitable would you consider it?

Yes I would. If I felt postively about a school I would not let this put me off as I think there are other more significant factors and with a full time TA a decent school/teacher ought to be able to make this work well. My view would partly depend on the range of ability in the class, as it is coping with a hige variety or learning pace and style which can prove more difficult. Is it a selective prep? Small classes are great but, particuarly for girls, can leave friendship options restricted and 'cliques' more pervasive.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:15 am 
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Hi For me small class sizes is a major plus for independent schools. My DD has typical class sizes of 14 and last year when due to timetabling she had a class of 25 for French she really noticed the difference.

The advantages of small class sizes are so obvious that they don't seem worth repeating.

Like all things you need to look at every aspect of a school but I would take class sizes of 24 as a serious negative.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:55 am 
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London schools seem to get away with this because the only other choice left for parents is the potential failing state school. Outwith London the preps have to have major selling points because a state primary education is adequate for the majority of children.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:55 am 
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guest43 wrote:

The advantages of small class sizes are so obvious that they don't seem worth repeating.

Like all things you need to look at every aspect of a school but I would take class sizes of 24 as a serious negative.


Sorry but I disagree with all of that. I could cite personal example and say I moved my DC from an indie with small classes to a state primary with 30 - and it was one of the best things I ever did; or I could tell you that the evidence does not suggest any advantage to small classes per se. In fact they are often very effective at masking poor teaching - it is much easier to deal with a class of 14 than one of 30, so you don't need to be such a good teacher. The factors which matter far more are quality of teaching and learning - and it is absolutely not the case that there is a definite link between those and class size. If a class of 24 is a 'serious negative', then I am assuming you would consider a class size of 30 a complete disaster, but my experience, both as a parent of 3 and as a teacher, does not in any way bear this out.

Edited to add: I totally agree with the point made by mad? about the social implications of small classes - my DD was very miserable as there was an 'in crowd' which consisted of every girl except her and one other. Much better when she had more to choose from.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:28 am 
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Amber wrote:
Edited to add: I totally agree with the point made by mad? about the social implications of small classes - my DD was very miserable as there was an 'in crowd' which consisted of every girl except her and one other. Much better when she had more to choose from.


agreed - in DS year at prep there were 2 girls.... one tomboy, one rather more girly - difficult! DD loved going to join a class of 20 girls... heaps of friends


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:38 am 
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If inde's are going to have class sizes of 24 then they really should have setting firmly in place as I don't think 24 is value for money, although I'd still put up with it if I lived in London!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:59 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
It is worth looking at subject classes and see if they are split further. For example at my DD's prep (out of London) they had class sizes of 24 .. 2 /year. I was initially a little surprised. On further investigation I found that maths and english were set across the year into 4 groups of 12ish (top set more, bottom set less), science was split into 3 groups as was PE. The other subjects french and humantities were taught by form class. I remember reading that for good interaction/discussion the minimum class size is 18. I think social mix is also very important ... having the ability to choose your friends.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:40 pm 
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Think you need to look beyond the class size and see if they are split into smaller teaching groups.

Both my DS's had quite large classes/year groups which were split into two for academic lessons (completely mixed ability not streamed) but for things like drama and games came back together as one group. Worked really well - you can't have a game of footie with just 10 boys!

I liked this arrangement as in a class of 10 if you fall out with one child you can fall out with nearly half the class!!


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