Small School Benefits

Small schools, such as Skelton Community Primary, offer an environment in which pupils are more visible which allows pupil-teacher relationships to improve. Teachers are more easily able to identify individual talents and the unique needs of each pupil, which offers a more personalised educational experience.

Smaller schools typically have smaller classes, and low teacher-pupil ratios translate into more focus on your child and their education. Smaller classes offer the opportunity to delve deeper into the curriculum and move through it at a faster pace. In fact, many studies show improvement in instructional quality and academic success at small schools. It’s equally beneficial from a social standpoint - fewer pupils in a room make class participation inescapable, but also usually less intimidating. Small schools actually promote belongingness - it becomes difficult for children to go unnoticed and slip through the proverbial cracks.

Smaller numbers of pupils offer a more intimate and personalised learning environment, and a cohesive vision among teachers characterise small schools. Smaller schools operate more like a community than a corporation and they frequently have a greater sense of unity.

Another reason for this close-knit feel is that there are often more opportunities for children to participate, for example, in a typical school sports team in a big school, competition is fierce for a coveted few spots; those pupils who make the team gain a personal investment in the school, while those who don’t feel left out and their families, by extension may feel marginalised. In smaller schools the chance for pupil participation is recurrently higher because pupils are required rather than redundant; as a result, children in smaller schools and their families have more of a stake in their school.

Teachers are able to interact more with all their colleagues as a small school staff size allows more opportunity for teachers to know each other well, more easily share information about their pupils, collaborate to solve problems, and generally support one another.
 
In an article in The Guardian about Ofsted's inspection of small schools, entitled `Recognising the good of small schools', the following positive points were made "..after inspecting every primary school in England, Ofsted reported on the comparative performance of small schools, which it defined as those with fewer than 100 pupils. It found that small primary schools achieved markedly better test results".
 
"...there was much else that was positive for small schools. Ofsted argued "the quality of teaching in small schools is generally better than in larger schools". Inspectors concluded that their "positive ethos" and "important place in the community" meant there was "a good case" for small schools".
 
"...as Ofsted reported, small schools have a positive ethos that fosters "a family atmosphere", "good standards of behaviour" and "close links with parents and the community". That sounds like a recipe for solving many current problems, not only in rural areas but also, perhaps especially, in urban areas too".
The benefits of mixed aged classes
 
In a mixed-age class pupils stay with the same teacher for a couple of years. This allows the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a pupil’s strengths and needs, and puts them in a better position to support their learning.

In the second year of being with the same teacher, pupils at the school gain extra teaching time as the teacher does not have to spend the early weeks in the school year getting to know each child.

Less review of prior instruction is needed before proceeding with new content and the pupil feels more comfortable and ready to learn.

Mixed-age teaching at the school ensures that teachers view pupils as unique individuals and pay more attention to their needs. As a result teachers focus on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths.

Socially, pupils enjoy being taught in mixed-class groups and love growing in stature across the two years. Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles and younger pupils are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. Pupils develop a better sense of familiarity with their classmates and learn to mix with a wide range of age groups from a young age.