Councils across England are planning a new wave of ‘super-size’ secondary schools with between 12 and 16 form groups for each year. The government have claimed that larger schools could produce very good results.
But let’s think of what effect this would have on students. Think about it. Kids today have enough problems at school without having a metric ton more people to worry about. Here we’ll look at the pros and cons of what this could mean for student life in secondary school.
– Think how difficult it was to settle yourself into a friendship group when starting out in secondary school. The amount of new faces and names you had to get used to, including a new building, and new teachers – overwhelming.
– With the schools being planned for both urban and rural areas when pupil numbers peak in the next few years, there could be more than 2,000 students per school. And if that doesn’t sound like a terrifying amount of humans to have in a single building, who knows what is.
– It would also mean having to get the appropriate number of teachers, and with the estimated 53% of teachers planning to quit in the next two years, there have to be some questions raised as to how the government will build these schools, and then equip them with relevant staff.
– There must also be confidence in the fact that students can maintain good behaviour and academic standards, according to Nick Gibb (Schools minister). If these schools are opened, would that mean smaller schools would be closed, and students from them would be transferred to the larger buildings? If so, what would happen to the teachers?
– Even minor things like travel could be an issue: how would (potentially) 2000 parents get their children to school, along with everyone else? Traffic would be a concern, along with road safety.
However, while there are a number of things that could go horribly wrong with this ambitious plan, it cannot be denied that there may be some good to come from this.
– There would be an undeniably wide range of subjects to cover. With 2,000+ students, there will be more diversity in the subjects that could be taught due to the differences in interest. Things like drama, art and music – subjects that aren’t as widely recognised as academic – may get attention from a wider number of students. Different languages could be introduced, from Spanish to Dutch, or even Japanese. There would be a vast array of subjects that could be taught.
– They could save money on building smaller schools, and with one large school, it could encourage more interactivity with the community, particularly in rural areas, as it could mean an entire village of people could be going to the same school, increasing the value of communication between things like student council and where the students live.
– With more students, it’s more likely there would be a friend for everyone. Or potential for more students to become friends with those they might not have originally thought. However unlikely that may sound.
While these ‘super-sized’ schools won’t be confirmed for the next few years, given pupil count, it would be wise to watch closely as this develops, – especially since, according to many, lots of the decisions the government has made with regard to education haven’t been the best.