The end of the first half-term of the school year has gone by in a flash. Seven weeks in and all the children are settled in very well. They have already engaged in a wonderful range of activities and lessons to inspire and challenge, and help accomplish a variety of achievements.
Our small class sizes are an important factor in this. Being a member of a small class can be hugely beneficial in early learning and development and forms a solid foundation for their future. However, it isn’t just having a small class size that makes the difference. 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. We average 14 children per class (and are slowly growing as a School, but keep that maximum of 20), compared to the national average of around 30. This really does allow 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.
At Brabyns every child can have individual targets so the child and teacher know what they are specifically focusing on, as well as the bigger picture. This also means 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, sometimes 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 becomes time ‘wasted’. Our children are under constant ‘scrutiny’ in a positive way, ensuring they remain on task and have appropriate support.
Individual attention also enables the children to be more confident and 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 a true understanding of someone’s individuality and their specific needs. It allows children’s confidence to flourish in many ways, including working towards 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 one big family, with individual attention at the core of the School as well as us valuing every child and their unique personalities.