For many parents choosing a School for their child, class size is one of the fundamental features they consider when making their decision.
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 hugely beneficial in early learning and development and forms a solid foundation for their future.
That said, lots of effort, combined with implanting an ethos where every child is comfortable being challenged, is still required to fully benefit from small class sizes.
The individual attention a small class brings certainly has a huge impact on a child’s learning and enables them to be appropriately challenged and supported.
Every child can have individual targets and no one is allowed to ‘coast’. If a child has a misconception this can be immediately picked up and dealt with. When teaching in bigger classes, through no fault of the teacher, often any misconceptions or children not giving their all may not be picked up until the end of a lesson when going through the books – often meaning that this is then time ‘wasted’. Our children are under constant ‘scrutiny’ in a positive way, ensuring they remain on task and have appropriate support.
Coupled with our small class sizes, we also have lots of other adults supporting the children's learning. Our Nursery Nurses and Learning Assistants (along with additional Students) add further to the children's learning by being able to provide extra one-to-one and small group support: that may be intervention groups, gifted and talented children or just general support. One of my daily highlights is seeing the children working in small groups, on work clearly very suited to their needs.
Research certainly supports the benefit of small classes, including for exam Blatchford (University of London) who found "in both reading and Maths, pupils in small classes performed significantly better than pupils in regular class sizes."
Our small class size (the average is 14 and typically the maximum is 20 children, compared to the national average of around 30) allows teachers to spend more time with children individually, ensuring that their questions are listened to and answered, every ‘hand-up’ is noticed and every voice heard.
It also helps make the children more inquisitive and helps them to feel that they can discuss various matters with their teacher. It aids team spirit, and the children’s support and respect for each other. I often see them helping a friend and showing true understanding of someone’s individuality and their specific needs.
Every child at Brabyns has the opportunity to join in a sports activity or a School assembly or performance.
This allows their confidence to flourish in preparation for their move into secondary education as they are fully prepared for the challenges a larger School / class environment brings. What's more, the children have developed the confidence to be heard and seen amongst their peers. Small class size has also been found to have a positive impact on behaviour: a fact we would certainly agree with.
At Brabyns we are small enough so every child (and member of staff!) knows each other. As a result all children learn 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 really are #onebigfamily with individual attention at the core of the School as well as us valuing every child and their individual nuances.