Monday, 2 November 2009

Tiny schools/ Decreasing schools

photo by remoto 13 en FLICKR

This post was inspired by Agnetta's post about her school. It reminded me of a problem we have here in Spain in rural regions: Many Primary schools have to close due to lack of children in the villages.
I used to work in a Secondary School which received pupils from little villages, and I could see how most of them were the only young people left in their villages and that they sadly enough left the village for good when they went to study to the University or moved to the capital for seeking better opportunities.
Do you have the same problem in your countries? How do the authorities deal with it?
I am also curious about the methods used by teachers of this kind of school who must work with pupils of different ages and levels. I hope you find the topic interesting enough.
For those who can read Spanish I include this link where you can find an example.


  1. we have exactly this same problem in Italy. I was about to answer Agnetta's post, so thank Elena for bringing the topicto attention.
    My Institute, for instance, has three branches in three different towns: the bigger one has about 700 students, mine has 120 students, and the smallest has just 26 students. This last branch is set in a very small village, whose inhabitants of course don't want their children to go to other distant schools. It is a very big problem, as they cannot have different classes, so students of different ages have to study together, even if their curricula are not the same. So it's not very good for their education, but still better than having to travel a lot to reach the nearest school.
    How does the Government deal with it? Closing the smallest schools. It's very sad and unfair, as this decision is taken just to save money. Another option is, for the Municipality, to create an independent school, but this will be considered to be a private school, and the town will have to pay for everything (teachers, buildings, furniture...). So of course a small village cannot afford this.
    So, the problem of tiny schools is a very hot topic here in Italy, and it's far from being solved.

  2. Indeed we have this problem in Sweden, especially up here in the north where I live. I live in the south of Lapland, in Åsele Municipality, where we are about 3350 inhabitants on an area of 4315 km2. Lots of forests, lakes and swamps... We have two schools. One in Åsele, wich is a little bigger - maybe 200-250 students, and ours in Fredrika, with only 25 students from 1st-9th grade. The reason that we still are "alive" is the long distances between the schools. It's 60 km from here to Åsele, and they have figured out that the costs for bussing the children there are bigger than the costs for keeping the school here. Of course closing the school would also become a tragedy for Fredrika Village and for the children to have such long schooldays - but just as i Italy it's the money that rules!
    The school with 26 students - what ages are they?I'd love to get to know teachers and their students in small schools all over Europe! I'm sure we have a lot in common and lots to discuss! And how fun for our students to get to know children abroad in the same situation as they are.
    I could write a lot about the small school pedagogy, distans teaching over the internet, integration aso. And there are many advantages too! It's a privilegie to have small classes, time for all students and to be able to help them to reach their optimal levels. They tend to become very independent, motivated and responsible. The biggest disadvantage as I see it is the lack of dynamic in the classes, that they have so few friends and classmates to work with, discuss with and exchange thoughts and ideas with. That's why I love the eTwinning! It gives us a lot.
    Hoping to hear more about how this is handled around Europe! It's extremely interesting for me, and I'm so glad that Elena brought up the subject.

  3. I´m a teacher of English in a secondary school in Tucumán , Argentina.(
    Every day students walk round the school looking for chairs!!We don´t have enough chairs,if I sit one student won´t have his sit.Since Monday We´ve had no water !!.There´s no internet!!.
    Nevertheless most of the teachers are enthusiastic and the students are respectful and a lot more responsible than others from the capital city.They need a place where they could practice sports...and much more...

  4. Hello Argentina! How great to get to know about the conditions in Argentina, so different from us. And also, I'm sure, so similar... This is indeed a global blog!
    Tell us more about your school! How many are you? How big is Tucuman?
    In Fredrika, Sweden, we have the opposite problem; too many chairs and too few students.
    I have to tell you all, that we are not only the smallest school in the world (at leats among the smaller), we are also the best school municipality in Sweden, according to a the press. They have investigated how students succed - and we are THE BEST!
    I still want to hear more about small schools around the world! Warm hugs to you all.

  5. Here in Greece, we have the same problem. Primary schools or kindergarten classes works with few students. However when these children go to high school, they have to travel to the nearby bigger city or village as in the smaller places they have been closed. Imagine in a very small village. last year it was one student and one teacher. The only child of that age in that village and the last one. Now that she went to high school, the primary school was closed.