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FINDING THE IDEAL SCHOOL SIZE - BIG SCHOOLS VS. SMALL SCHOOLS

By ITS Education


Finding the right fit school for a child is of utmost priority for parents. It can take many hours of research, weighing objectively the merits of each school, the emotional connect one feels upon entering a school and last but not least - prioritization of your child's needs and your educational values and education expectations.

School size – large, small or somewhere in between – will play a huge factor into your child’s success in a new learning environment.

However, when it comes to school size, there is no right size that suits every child. Some students thrive in a smaller environment where they receive quite a lot of attention, while other students are more comfortable in a larger school, where a variety of activities and peer groups are available.

What it comes down to is that all schools have their advantages, and disadvantages which all should be equally considered when choosing a school.

A prudent parent of a primary-going child usually asks about maximum class size, teacher to student ratio, adequate individual attention and look for a nurturing and warm environment.

Parents of children in secondary schools, focus more on the infrastructure and facilities, clubs and social engagements, subject choices and external exam scores and university placements.

But what are the benefits of both small and large? Let’s examine these in more detail.

 

Small School Benefits:

  • More individual attention and support due to lower teacher to student ratios
  • A tailored approach to learning and individual study plans are possible
  • Open and closer communication avenues exist between academic and leadership teams
  • The intimate learning environment offers the opportunity to delve deeper into the curriculum and move through it at a faster/slower pace as needed
  • Smaller student numbers facilitate development of long-term and close knit  friendships
  • May be a better fit for children who are shy or introverted or need additional learning support
  • The ‘close-knit community feel’ and ‘everyone knows everyone’ allows for a strong sense of belonging

 

Smaller schools such as ISS International School, Canadian International School (Tanjong Katong), Chatsworth International School, and International Community School offer a certain community spirit that can sometimes be lacking at sprawling campuses in Singapore.

 

ISS Singapore

ISS Singapore

Large Schools Benefits:

  • Offer a greater variety of academic programmes, co- curricular programmes and sometimes a combination of programmes such as: A levels & IB Diploma/ IB Diploma & AP
  • Bigger facilities with modern equipment and innovative learning labs
  • Stronger reputation with post-secondary institutions if school is well-established
  • Large faculty of teachers, specialists and counsellors to deal with a student’s individual psycho-educational needs
  • Higher opportunities for offering a range of scholarships and bursaries
  • A larger diverse community of students with the opportunity to experience different cultures and traditions.
  • Something valuable in various ways for all learner types and personalities Larger alumni network that helps foster relationships after graduation university
  • Higher level of competition; grades, sports, clubs.

 

Singapore American School

Singapore American School

In Singapore, schools with large campuses which compete not just because of size but in terms of academic reputation, extra-curricular activities and facilities are: United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA), Singapore American School (SAS) Tanglin trust School, Australian International School (AIS) and Stamford American School.

SAS is without doubt the largest school in Singapore, with a capacity for 3,700 students. Space is limited in Singapore so SAS is extremely fortunate to have a 37-acre campus.

 

UWCSEA

UWCSEA

 

GEMS World Academy

GEMS World Academy

Other schools which fall in between small and large in terms of size are:  St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), GEMS World Academy and German European School Singapore (GESS).

GESS

GESS

In the end, the choice of a small school or a large one comes down to personal preference, your child’s learning needs and their personality. Size alone does not determine a school’s success, but it certainly can be a contributing factor to the success of your child.


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