Society’s glue is no longer affordable – the best schools scale down for the child not scale up for the budget 

Sir Michael Wlishaw’s comment that schools are the glue that holds society came a couple of days before the claim that established one form entry schools are no longer viable. 

Schools should be part of a range of structures enabling children to learn, to feel valued and to thrive. Sadly, an obsession with individual consumerism as the basis for economic policy has swept away everything else and left schools to carry the burden alone.  With reorganisation into larger schools in order to achieve economies of scale on the horizon, it’s worth considering the impact on the child.

I’ve worked with brilliant large schools, including  a primary school of 1200 pupils, in densely populated parts of the city.  What they did so well was create and invest in structures that reduced the scale for the youngest children who were known and given a sense of value and identity.  In order to succeed large schools require a focus on investment and the child not be based on a policy obsession with saving money in the short term.

All primary schools should offer children a sense of care, security and community. They should be within walking distance from home because obesity and traffic congestion go hand in hand. For many areas of the country, 1 form entry primary schools offer the balance of individual and community that enables children to thrive to independence. To deliberately undermine their viability in order to achieve short term savings is to compromise the well-being of some our very young children.


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