Why choose an all-through school?
When it comes to choosing a school – be it nursery or secondary school – it's always important to think about what comes next. Will this senior school enable my child to reach the best sixth form? Will they be able to deal with the stresses that come with changing schools, having to start from scratch and make a whole new group of friends?
All-through schools have the advantage of providing long-term continuity and stability for a child’s education. Not only are children more settled in a consistent educational environment, but by having the same teachers as they get older, individual teaching and learning methods can be tailored throughout the different stages of education. All-through pupils can also maintain the same friendship groups they’ve always had, and children aren't subjected to the social pressures and stresses of having to make new friends. This sense of stability can certainly benefit a child in many ways.
At what age do pupils start all-through school?
Although all-through schools primarily offer primary and secondary education, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some enrol pupils at secondary school age and provide sixth-form facilities, while others cater to nursery and primary school students. While no approach should be considered right or wrong, the educational continuity offered may be more suited to a child’s development at different stages of their education. Some pupils may respond better to a change in the environment upon leaving school; similarly, others may thrive within a large campus that has facilities tailored for multiple age groups.
What are the types of all-through schools?
When deciding upon an all-through school it is also important to consider the different types of schools that are offered and the school stages that they cater for. All-through schools come in three types: one-site schools, same establishment split-site schools, and affiliated schools – each with distinct differences for pupils.
One-site schools offer a seamless educational experience on one single campus. The extent to which pupils of different year groups are separated is also dependent on the specific school. Some may have distinct facilities and staff for different age groups, while others might offer a more integrated schools experience with shared spaces for both junior and senior pupils.
Same establishment, different sites
Pupils remain with the same school establishment as they get older but like traditional schooling, they still have the experience of moving to a new campus. These schools essentially provide a unique best of both approach to an all-through education, and while pupils benefit from the stability and educational continuity of one school, they also get the feeling of graduating and progression through the education system by moving campus.
Affiliated schools similarly provide a hybrid approach to all-through schooling. Instead of operating out of one single establishment, affiliated schools are often the result of a merge between two different schools. While remaining autonomous, the partner schools have the flexibility to share facilities, curriculum insight, and more. Again, this provides greater continuity and stability as pupils transition between schools. Another benefit of affiliated schools is that they can often (but not always) guarantee admission priority into the next stage.
Key considerations when choosing an all-through school:
With each all-through school offering its own unique experience, understanding what makes a good all-through school is important. When considering an all-through school there are a few key variables to consider:
Parents should first look at the type of school, its location, and whether their child has met the age criteria to enrol. These considerations should always be driven by what works best for the child.
Parents should also look at the educational standards of not only the school and the class within which their child would enrol, but also the older year groups. Given that they will learn at this school for the long term, high educational standards are fundamental to the child’s future development. One of the best ways to do this is by looking at past school inspection reports and attending school open days
in person. This will also provide an opportunity to see the quality of facilities and the size of the school first-hand.
The best all-through schools
The most important thing to remember when deciding on an all-through school is that there is no one-size-fits-all option. Our reviews contain unbiased admissions information and in-depth insight to help ensure you have the best tools available when choosing a school for your child.
How many all-through schools are there in the UK?
The popularity of all-through schools has grown extensively in the past 10 years. Currently, there are 109 all-through schools in England, with 13 additional schools approved and set to open in the coming months.