Heathcote is a ‘gem of a school’ . It is so unique in its ethos. As I show the ever increasing number of visitors around, it always delights me to share with them what an amazing community we have, albeit a very small one. Yet small is everything. Here are five reasons why choosing a small school for your child is the RIGHT choice:
1. That Personal Touch
At a small school every child is known not just by name but by personality, talents, strengths, interests too. That special personal touch is so rare. In many larger schools children can be lost, unacknowledged, . Such knowledge of each individual fosters a sense of community and promotes a climate of mutual respect.
2. Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow
Being small doesn’t mean that those schools aren’t significant. Here at Heathcote we always seems to have something to celebrate whether that is winning an art competition, competing in a local sports fixture or taking the lead role in a drama performance. Having the chance to shine, find out your talents, try new things without the fear that others might criticise or object, overlook you or neglect you is vitally important for a child. Celebrating all successes, which small schools can really do, gives children the self-confidence and the belief to ‘have a go’. The final results are often amazing!
3. Bigger Isn’t Always Better
A small community can empower children where learning is concerned. Parents often wonder if a bigger school might offer more for their child but bigger isn’t always better when it comes to the relationship between pupils’ learning and school size. Research has shown that far from being disadvantaged by a smaller school, children really can do better. Children are less likely to be overlooked in small schools. Everybody’s participation is needed for team activities and children come to know and care about each other to a greater degree than is possible in larger schools, giving them the comfort and encouragements to take intellectual and personal risks, to succeed, to fail, to grow and ultimately to flourish.
At Heathcote our small classes (of no more than 16 children) mean that there is a special bond between staff and pupils, a mutual trust and respect but furthermore that expectations are high. Our pupils tend to take more responsibility for their own learning, activities are more individualised because of our small classes, with tasks being organised around the children not vice versa. Such a small community also means our parents and teachers are allies in fostering our children’s success because our home-school relationships are close and supportive.
4. Making Friends is Easy
Being at a small school means your child will have more of an opportunity to get to know everyone around them. This enables them to make more friends with people of different ages, thus improving their social skills. When you’re at a small school, you almost get to know each one of your friends like the back of your hand. With friendship comes support, trust, comfort, respect. All important values for a happy, successful child.
5. A Sense of Belonging
At a small school you feel a part of something special. You feel welcomed by everyone around you, that you have a role to play, that you can make a contribution. This doesn’t happen easily in a big school. Here at Heathcote our pupils are proud to wear our uniform, show round our guests and talk about their school because they know they belong here and are valued.Children feel a greater sense of engagement, belonging and personal value when their classmates and teachers get to know them. This in turn has a positive effect on behaviour and any behavioural issues just disappear!
So if you are in any doubt about choosing a small school… large schools can tend to be de-personalised, less friendly organisations whereas small schools are able to be close-knit, happy communities where no-one is a stranger. Why would you choose anywhere else for your child?