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☰ Smaller Numbers = Bigger Impact

Head's Blog

Smaller Numbers = Bigger Impact

Posted on January 15 2019

Lark. Early bird. Two terms that refer to morning people and something I have been called in the past (along with many other things!). You see, within the Tucker household I am the first to rise at home and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the morning with a coffee and read of the newspaper, if there’s time! School days are a little busier, but again I enjoy my time greeting all the staff and pupils at the start of a school day. I thoroughly enjoy my time out on the playground interacting with the children just before the bell rings for the classes to line up.

This morning I was discussing with Mrs Carrasco just how well organised the children were, a far cry from my first school. Not only were the pupils slightly less organised, but I could barely see to the rear of the class line. You see, there were 38 children in my first class as a teacher, meaning our class line meandered right around the playground. At Forest Park, there is no such trouble. Not only are the pupils better behaved, more organised and motivated, but there are fewer of them in each class. Something that adds a great deal to our school community.

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. The main point being that if there are fewer pupils within a class then the child will get more attention and time to learn. This is very true, but there are many other aspects to smaller class sizes that create a positive impact to a child’s development.

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 class sizes."

The academic success at Forest Park comes 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. It is important to note that within Trafford the average class size is 30 for infant pupils, but actually increases to averages of 33 in the juniors. We find that at Forest Park, as a consequence of small class sizes, pupils are also better behaved and are more engaged in their learning process. Pupils in small classes ask more questions, discuss more 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 a child to flourish than at Forest Park. 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 extremely powerful in early learning and development and forms a solid foundation for their future progression.

Our small class sizes (typically 20 children) allow teachers to spend more time with children individually and with small average class sizes throughout the school - you can be sure that all of our children receive the attention and high standard of education that they deserve.

At Forest Park, 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. All pupils leave our school fully prepared for the challenges a larger class environment brings with the confidence to be heard and seen amongst their peers.

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

We believe in maintaining small class sizes from Pre Prep all the way through to Year 6, meaning that every child will receive a consistently excellent standard of education throughout their entire time at Forest Park. Every child is known and is loved at Forest Park and, therefore, our pupils will never disappear into the crowd.

A recent parent comment captures our ethos and approach perfectly:

'My daughter has always been quite shy at home and at her previous school she was lost in the crowd. However, since joining Forest Park her confidence has blossomed. She is always talking about how much she enjoys the school and a large part of this is the small class size and pastoral care the school offers. Deciding to send our child to Forest Park has been the best decision we ever made!’

Nick Tucker

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