Sarah Ade

They’re small, but don’t sell rural schools short

Amid the threat of closure and amalgamation, tight-knit community-based educators are teaching children in ways that only public schools can match

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As a pupil, my first school, set in a remote glen in southern Scotland, comprised 11 children in one classroom, aged 4-11, and one teacher. We all learned together at mixed-age tables and played together at breaktime. When I was 12, we moved to the United States and the junior high school I was sent to had 3,000 pupils, all aged 12-14 – I needed a map to find my way round.

I was completely overwhelmed, both by subject choice and the sheer number of pupils, so my parents soon found me a smaller school nearer to where we lived. A shock to my system, this experience made me realise the value of ...

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