Large or Small School Which is Better for Your Child
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Large or Small School: Which is Better for Your Child?

Whether you’re a local citizen, permanent resident, or foreigner, you want your child to attend the right school for them. But there are just so many factors to consider when choosing a school, and one that always stumps parents is the size. 

Which is better: a “small” school or a “large” one? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two, and does size matter in the long run?

If you’re asking all these questions, you’ve come to the right place. This article lays out everything you need to know about school size so that by the end, you get to decide what the right school is for your child. 

What makes a school “small” or “large?”

What makes a school “small” or “large

Before we begin talking about the advantages and disadvantages of small and large schools, we need to talk about what makes a school “small” or “large.” 

Truthfully, it’s tricky to determine to answer this question because experts can’t agree on which factor to consider. What do we take into account: the school’s physical size, the number of students, the student-to-teacher ratio, or the combination of all three?

Many experts prefer the number of students as the main criterion. A lot of studies define “small” schools as those with less than 400 students, while a school is “large” if its student population is more than 1,000.

For the sake of this article, we’ll be using the aforementioned definition for small and large schools. 

“Small” Schools

What are the benefits of a “small” school?

Small schools have gotten popular in recent years, and it’s not really surprising. There are many benefits that come with a small school:

  • Better student-to-teacher ratio
  • Better connections between teachers and students
  • Flexibility in learning 
  • Closer relationship between parents and the staff

Better Student-to-Teacher Ratio

Better Student-to-Teacher Ratio

If we had to pick only one advantage of small schools, it would be the fact that they have a better student-to-teacher ratio than large institutions. 

Essentially, a student-to-teacher ratio is the number of students for every teacher in a school. There’s no standard for what makes the ideal ratio, but it’s believed that the smaller the ratio is, the better the outcome will be. 

This is because the teachers will have more time to closely monitor their students. If a child is lagging behind, the teacher can adjust or initiate a session after class to help this student. 

In other words, teachers in small schools can better track the learning development of each of their students. And they don’t have to overwork themselves just to achieve this. 

Better Connections between Teachers and Students

Better Connections between Teachers and Students

In the same vein as the previous point, small schools also allow for a better relationship between teachers and students. 

Students, even those who aren’t in the same classroom, will be able to get to know each other really well because they see each other all the time. The same thing can happen between students and teachers.

Because of this, being in a small school feels like being part of a small community. Best of all, if one of the students needs help, they can easily ask their schoolmates or reach out to their teachers without feeling ashamed. 

Flexibility in Learning

Flexibility in Learning

Students don’t have to stress about not catching up to the speed of the lessons because small schools allow for flexibility in learning. If someone is falling behind, the teacher can help them in whichever way, shape, and form they can. 

Maybe the teacher can slow down the pace. Or they can have a one-on-one session with the struggling student, and the child can express all the issues they’ve been having. 

The teacher can then come up with solutions to help the student improve.

For this reason, many children with special needs attend small schools because their parents believe that they will get the attention and care they deserve.

Closer Relationship between Parents and Staff

Closer Relationship between Parents and Staff

A better connection isn’t just reserved for students and teachers. Small schools also help foster a closer relationship between the school staff and the parents. 

If your child is experiencing problems during class, their teacher can contact you and vice versa. It also means that during parent-teacher conferences, teachers can provide personalized feedback if needed

This encourages students to make progress because both their teachers and parents work hand in hand to help them.

What are the disadvantages of a “small” school?

Despite the many benefits of a small school, it also has its own share of cons. Some of the disadvantages of a small school include

  • Lack of funding
  • Lack of diversity
  • Social pressure to “fit” in

Lack of Funding

Lack of Funding

A lot of the time, a school is small not because that’s what the management intended. Instead, it’s because there’s a lack of funding. 

When there’s a lack of funding, there will also be a lack of opportunities for the students. 

In other words, smaller schools tend to have a limited amount of extracurricular activities to offer, so only a select few can hone their skills in their preferred subjects of interest, while the rest just go through the school year without pursuing their passions.

Lack of Diversity

Lack of Diversity

Since small schools don’t have a high population, chances are there’s not that much diversity among the students. What this means is that the students’ exposure to different perspectives and ideas will be somewhat limited

This can be an issue simply because young people form their unique perspectives of the world and life based on their surroundings. And if their surroundings don’t have a good variety of people, their worldviews might be flawed.

For example, if the school only has students who live in the same neighborhood, they might form ignorant ideas and misconceptions about people in other areas and countries. 

So, if it’s important for you to expose your children to a wide variety of ideas and experiences, enrolling them in a small school might not be the best way to go about it. 

Social Pressure to “Fit” In

Social Pressure to “Fit” In

As mentioned earlier, small schools allow students to get to know each other on a deeper level. And though this is mostly an advantage, it can actually be a disadvantage as well because cliques within the school are most likely to happen.

When cliques happen, students will feel social pressure to fit in somewhere because naturally, they don’t want to be friendless during the school year. They might do things they don’t normally do just to be accepted by a group. 

And when they don’t get accepted, the rejection will sting a lot of them. They might end up isolating themselves and not befriending anyone at all, which is always a problem because social relationships are integral to a child’s growth and development.

“Large” Schools

What are the benefits of a “large” school?

Large schools may seem intimidating to many people because of their size, but they offer their fair share of advantages. Some of the benefits of a large school are the following:

  • Funding
  • Well-rounded curriculum with greater variety
  • More options for extracurricular activities
  • Diversity of students
  • Prestige



More often than not, large schools have a lot of funding, and that makes them appealing to many parents. 

Since the school is well-funded, the management can invest in state-of-the-art facilities, and they can also offer many options for extracurricular activities

Because of this, students are free to pursue whatever subjects interest them, and athletes can set their focus on improving and winning competitions because the school provides them with competent coaches and all the resources they need.

Essentially, funding lets students expand their education, thus making their school experience interesting every time.

Well-Rounded Curriculum with Greater Variety

Well-Rounded Curriculum with Greater Variety

Funding also allows the school to create a more well-rounded curriculum with a greater variety of classes. 

They don’t have to stick to the typical subjects taught in schools; they can also create more specialized classes that students might be interested in. 

If the school decides to include more specialized subjects (e.g. creative writing, robotics, and many more), they can hire teachers that are well-versed in these fields of study so that students can learn from the very best. 

Diversity of Students

Diversity of Students

Since large schools have a high student population, the odds are the students come from different walks of life. 

Because of this, if you decide to enroll your child in a large school, they’ll be exposed to people with various experiences and worldviews, and this diversity will help your child form a unique and well-rounded perspective of their own. 

Another thing that’s great about having a large population is that students can find like-minded peers, so they don’t have to worry about forcing themselves to fit into the available cliques. 

These students will challenge and support each other, allowing them to foster a healthy social life during their schooling.



This benefit is more applicable to tertiary schools and universities, but essentially, large schools hold a level of prestige. Many people can recognize the school’s name and acknowledge that it’s an outstanding educational institution.

So, if you’re child is studying in a large school with a prestigious reputation, they can benefit from said reputation. More doors will be opened in their career, so they can apply for further studies or get great jobs in the future.

What are the disadvantages of a “large” school?

Large schools may enjoy the luxuries that come with their prestigious names, but they still have a few cons that turn parents away. The most popular disadvantages of a large school are the following:

  • Overcrowding
  • Higher student-to-teacher ratio
  • High dropout rates
  • Problems with school discipline
  • Inaccessibility of teachers



This is the most common drawback to a large school. Since there are many people, overcrowding is understandably bound to happen sometime—whether it’s in the hallways, the parking lots, or even the classrooms. 

And when there’s overcrowding, there’s a lot of noise. So, students and teachers in large schools have to get used to hearing so many people talking at once and shouting on a daily basis. 

Higher Student-to-Teacher Ratio

Higher Student-to-Teacher Ratio

Some large schools tend to have a higher student-to-ratio, which can lead to two major results. 

Firstly, there will be a lack of engagement from students—since teachers have so many students to take note of, some might end up getting lost in the shuffle. As a result, these students will feel discouraged from reaching out if they ever need help.

Likewise, students with special needs won’t be able to get the level of care and attention they need to succeed. Because of this, they might feel helpless whenever they’re struggling since they don’t think the teachers have the time to help them out. 

If there’s a lack of engagement, many students will undoubtedly suffer. So, if you’d like for your child to attend a large school, make sure to select one with a low student-to-teacher ratio. 

High Dropout Rates

High Dropout Rates

This is somewhat related to the previous point because if some students are struggling academically and they don’t get help from teachers, they might feel inclined to drop out of school. And when many students drop out, it becomes a problem for everyone. 

A high dropout rate is a problem for large schools because it affects their credibility, resulting in parents choosing a different school to enroll their children. But dropping out is also a problem for students because it impedes their education. 

If they suddenly quit school, they can’t pursue schooling at a tertiary level, and they also will have a hard time finding a job. So, it’s essential for any educational institution to stop students from dropping out. 

Problems with School Discipline

Problems with School Discipline

If some students are misbehaving in a large school, they’ll probably not get disciplinary action from the higher-ups simply because there are just many attendants to account for

Sometimes, teachers will just be too exhausted to discipline their students, so they might just ignore the misbehaving students. This can become an issue because these same students might take this as an opportunity to continue acting up. 

If many students keep misbehaving without receiving proper disciplinary action from any of the teachers, their behavior will only disrupt the other students. 

Inaccessibility of Teachers

Inaccessibility of Teachers

If parents ever want to get in touch with teachers to discuss their children’s performance in class, they might have problems doing so simply because teachers in large schools are most likely busy. 

The only time parents and teachers can interact will be during parent-teacher conferences, and even then it will still be lacking because the feedback teachers might give will be generic and not catered to the child at all. 

Essentially, sometimes in large schools, the relationship between teachers and parents tends to suffer. 

How do I choose the right school for my child?

How do I choose the right school for my child

If you’re choosing which school to enroll your child in, you need to ask yourself if the school’s size really matters. Sure, the size does sometimes affect the quality of education being provided, but it’s not the end-all-be-all factor.

Instead, the best way to go about choosing the right school for your child is to also consider other components alongside the school’s size. These other components include

  • Curriculum
  • School fees
  • Admission process
  • Student-to-teacher ratio
  • Facilities and extracurricular activities
  • Exam results and success
  • Location



The right school for your child is one with a curriculum that best suits their character and needs. It’s also ideal if the curriculum also offers something unique that your child can benefit from.

For example, maybe the school offers several language courses or other subjects that go beyond the lessons in the classroom. That’s a good sign because that means your child can expand their learning horizon. 

Earlier, it’s been mentioned that large schools tend to have a more interesting curriculum, but this doesn’t apply to all of them. Small schools can also have unique offerings, so you better check out the curriculum of every school you’re eyeing.

School Fees

School Fees

The tuition varies from one school to another, so it’s best that you factor this in when choosing the school for your child.

On the one hand, a school with a higher tuition fee implies that it has better facilities and can afford to hire teachers with impressive backgrounds. But on the other hand, the tuition might be too expensive. 

So, when you’re looking at schools, be sure to select one that hits the sweet spot of offering quality education and still being within your budget.

Admission Process

Admission Process

Every school has its own application process. Some only require an online submission, while others have entrance exams and ask you to submit your child’s records from their previous school. 

When it comes to this, you have to ask yourself a question: do you prefer the convenience of online submission, or are you okay with extra steps to enroll your child? 

Sometimes, schools with a rigorous application process are often ones with a prestigious name, so you might be willing to undergo this process—even join a waiting list if it comes down to this—just so that your child can attend a well-known school.

Student-to-Teacher Ratio

Student-to-Teacher Ratio

As mentioned earlier, the student-to-teacher ratio refers to the number of students for every teacher in an educational institution. It’s also mentioned previously in this article that small schools tend to have a lower ratio while large ones tend to have a higher one.

However, you should keep in mind that this isn’t true all the time. Sometimes, it’s the opposite: a large school has a lower ratio than a small school. 

The ratio really depends on the school—if they hire enough teachers for the number of students they have. So, the best way to know if a school has an ideal student-to-teacher ratio, you have to do more research about said school.

Facilities and Extracurricular Activities

Facilities and Extracurricular Activities

Is your child interested in sports, theater, and any other extracurricular activities? Or maybe they don’t show any interest yet, but they want to explore their options in the future.

Whatever your case is, you might want to look into schools that offer quality facilities and many extracurricular activities. Though large schools are more likely to fit the bill, many small schools can also do this to their students. 

Exam Results and Success

Exam Results and Success

Schools typically hold major examinations to test their students. They also undergo annual inspections to prove to parents and the school board that they have maintained their standard of quality education. 

Most schools publish the results of these inspections every year, so you might be interested in checking them out. The higher the scores are, the better the quality of the education for that institution. 



You and your child will have to travel to and from the school every day, so it’s best that you find one that’s easily accessible to you. It doesn’t have to be extremely near, but at the very least, it should be located near public transportation. 

Most schools detail the location and how to get there on their brochures, so be sure to check them out. 

What are some of the best schools to consider in Singapore?

You can find all kinds of schools in Singapore: there are preschools for your little ones, government-aided schools for citizens and permanent residents, and international schools for foreigners and affluent citizens. 

If you’re looking for suggestions, check out the schools mentioned below:

Primary (Government/Government-Aided)

Primary (GovernmentGovernment-Aided)
School NameTypeArea
Rosyth SchoolCo-ed/mixedSerangoon
Nan Hua Primary SchoolClementi
St. Hilda’s Primary SchoolTampines
Catholic High School (Primary Section)All BoysBishan
Raffles Girls’ Primary SchoolAll GirlsBukit Timah

Primary (International/Private)

Primary (InternationalPrivate)
School NameCurriculumAddressYearly Tuition (Based on 2022/2023 Fees)
Holland International School SingaporeEnglish, Dutch65 Bukit Tinggi Road22,538 SGD
Swiss School in SingaporeFrench and English, German and English38 Swiss Club Road8,484–25,637 SGD
XCL World AcademyFuture-oriented approach, personalized learning2 Yishun Street 4229,005 SGD
Astor International SchoolInternational Primary Curriculum (IPC)1 Kay Siang Road, #05-01/0214,900–19,700 SGD
Australian International SchoolInternational Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP)1 Lorong Chuan19,428 SGD

Secondary (Government/Government-Aided)

Secondary (GovernmentGovernment-Aided)
School NameTypeArea
Ang Mo Kio Secondary SchoolCo-ed/mixedAng Mo Kio
Boon Lay Secondary SchoolJurong West
Edgefield Secondary SchoolPunggol
Cedar Girls’ Secondary SchoolAll GirlsToa Payoh
CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ SchoolAng Mo Kio

Secondary (International/Private)

Secondary (InternationalPrivate)
School NameCurriculumAddressYearly Tuition (Based on 2023/2024 Fees)
St. Joseph’s Institution InternationalInternational Baccalaureate (IB), British, Catholic490 Thomson Road34,365–44,084 SGD
Stamford American International SchoolIB, American1 Woodleigh Lane26,600–46,324 SGD
One World International SchoolIB, British21 Jurong West Street 8118,564–21,342 SGD
Canadian International SchoolIB, Canadian• 371 Tanjong Katong Road

• 7 Jurong West Street 41

25,450–44,200 SGD
Dover Court International SchoolIB, British301 Dover Road26,631–39,921 SGD

Tertiary (Government/Government-Aided)

Tertiary (GovernmentGovernment-Aided)
School NameAddressQS World University Ranking (in 2023)
National University of Singapore21 Lower Kent Ridge Road11
Nanyang Technological University50 Nanyang Avenue19
Singapore Management University81 Victoria Street561–570
Singapore University of Technology and Design8 Somapah RoadN/A
Singapore Institute of Technology10 Dover DriveN/A
Singapore University of Social Sciences463 Clementi RoadN/A

Tertiary (International/Private)

Tertiary (InternationalPrivate)
School NameAddressNotable Achievements
Curtin Singapore10 Science Park Road, Level 3 Unit 03-08 The Alpha, Science Park II• Ranked among the top 2% in the Academic Ranking of World Universities
DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore510 Dover Road, #03-01 SIT@SP, Building 139660• Ranked 4th in the Top 50 Games Design Undergraduate in 2019
ESSEC Business School5 Nepal Park• Ranked 4th in Master of Management and 5th in Master of Finance by Financial Times
German Institute of Science and Technology — TUM Asia510 Dover Road, #05-01 SIT@SP, Building 139660• Ranked within the top 25 in QS World University Rankings by Faculty from 2017 to 2019
James Cook University Singapore149 Sims Drive• Received the Singapore Education Trust Certification star Rating in 2015

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