You are here: Home / News / Small But Perfectly Formed - Are there benefits to a smaller school?

Small But Perfectly Formed - Are there benefits to a smaller school?

For many parents choosing a school for their child, class size is one of the fundamental features that they look at when making their decision. However, many people are not aware of the benefits of small class sizes (typically less than 18 pupils) and the positive effects they can have on learning.

Small class sizes are essential for good learning and can hugely influence the level of academic excellence achieved by pupils. A report by Professor Peter Blatchford of the Institute of Education, University of London, found that "in both reading and maths, pupils in small classes performed significantly better than pupils in regular classes."

This academic success came from teachers being able to spend more one-to-one time with pupils as well as having more time to spend planning and marking work - two key opportunities which are not easily accessible for teachers of regular sized classes. As a consequence of small class sizes, pupils are also better behaved and are more engaged in the learning process. Pupils in small classes ask more questions, discuss subjects with teachers and are more inquisitive than their regular class size peers.

The evidence in favour of small class sizes combined with exceptional teaching is overwhelming and as a result, there is no better place for your child to flourish than at The Phoenix. Small class sizes are at the core of our philosophy and always have been, for a child being a member of a small class can be fundamental in early learning and development and forms a solid foundation for their future.

Our small class sizes allow teachers to spend more time with children individually and with small average class sizes throughout the school - you can be sure that your children will receive the attention and high standard of education that they deserve.

We want our pupils' questions to be listened to and answered, and in a small class, no hand goes unseen and no voice unheard. No child goes without the opportunity to take the lead in a sports activity or in a school performance and this allows their confidence to flourish in preparation for their move into secondary education. They leave our school fully prepared for the challenges a larger class environment brings with the confidence to be heard and seen amongst their peers.

Our small class sizes allow children to thrive in a productive learning environment where any negative behaviour or educational issues are spotted and resolved quickly. Children can play safely together and learn how to interact with various age groups with no fear of bullying or being scared of the other children.

Every child knows every other child at the school and as a result learns to interact and communicate with different age groups giving them another essential life skill. Younger children are inspired by the older children, whereas the older children learn how to care and be responsible for younger children.

We believe in maintaining small class sizes from nursery level all the way through to prep school, meaning that your child will receive a consistently excellent standard of education throughout their entire time at our school. Every child is known and is loved at The Phoenix and therefore your child will never disappear into the crowd.

 

A case study written by one of our parents:

'My painfully shy son joined St Colette's and was with it's successor, The Phoenix since opening in 2010. Seven years ago he wouldn’t even let go of the teacher’s hand at an Easter Bonnet Parade and refused to wear the bonnet itself. He was at The Phoenix from the moment it opened until he left in Year 6 and everyone who knows him cannot believe the remarkable change that has happened over the time he has been at the school. Due to the small class sizes, my son was given the attention he deserves, he was listened too and was encouraged in every way which has helped build his self-esteem and confidence. As his classes never exceeded 8 children, he was taught at a speed to suit his own capabilities and thrived academically as a result.

Parents sometimes wonder if a small primary school can prepare children for the much larger environment of the secondary school, well please be reassured, my son and his best friend both left the Phoenix this year and both of them have started at their first choice secondary schools, Kimbolton and Stephen Perse respectively, are so happy, have made friends really quickly (neither having friends from the Phoenix at their new schools) and have settled in very well. My son's first report from Kimbolton is exceptional.

He never stops chatting with adults and children alike, loves learning (even out of school!), is very outgoing and we have The Phoenix team to thank for this transformation.'