Schools for the Future

a community vision for 21st Century education in mid and northwest Pembrokeshire

All-through schools help rural communities

In our interview with Kate Evan-Hughes, director for Children and Schools at PCC,  she told us  the only way to keep secondary education on the St Davids Peninsula is to amalgamate YDS and at least two local primaries, creating an all-through school for St Davids.   Our Schools and Education research team find that it’s a model that is transforming rural education for the better elsewhere.

All-through schools are taking off across the UK.  They join together primary and secondary education on one site or across 2 or more sites under a single school establishment.  Successful all-through models have developed quickly in Scotland, especially in communities in the Highlands and Islands, many with much smaller school rolls than here, yet these schools are leading the way in terms of results and are now among Scotland’s best performing schools.

In England the number is growing rapidly through the free schools programme.  Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network, a charity set up to support free schools, said that as many as 25 per cent of proposals for new free schools are now based on the all-through model.  “The main thing appears to be dealing with the issues around transition.” she said, “Children find it difficult to go from primary to a bigger secondary environment and can slip back at that point. Quite a lot of motivation for doing this is about preparing children properly for secondary education and maintaining something of the primary environment at the age of 11 and beyond.”

Prof Graham Donaldson, architect of the Scottish education transformation says that all-through schools provide much more than just academic success. “Of particular importance to all-through schools are partnerships with parents, local employers and community groups. All through schools have significant responsibilities to work with local partners in nurturing, supporting and educating their young people to be productive members of sustainable local communities, as well as confident citizens ready to step out into the wider world.”

Some communities in Wales’ top county for education, Ceredigion, as well as Lake Bala and Machynlleth, have already sought out the Scottish all-through model as a way of aiming for excellence within the school and providing a viable, sustainable blueprint for the future of a community.  And with the Donaldson review of Welsh education seeking a route to excellence within Welsh schools, and Donaldson’s enthusiasm for All-through education it seems it won’t be long until large parts of Wales are putting in the foundations for this school model within their community, however big or small.

Tell us what you think………..


  1. If YDS were to lose its 6th form, then a couple of years later it may be seen that the whole school is not viable. That would certainly have a huge detrimental effect on the whole peninsular, let alone St David’s

    • schools for the future

      March 21, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      That’s certainly true, Chris. We have it confirmed by the Director for Children and Schools that the proposal to remove the 6th form would make the school too small to survive. Her solution is to suggest we amalgamate YDS and two local primary schools and create an all-through school.

      • I have a concern that we are in danger of being led by the council. We are categorically not in a position to trust either Kate Evans-Hughes OR PCC. Yes, we must hold discussions and debate with them but given their history of cynical manipulation and utter failure to listen, we must not imagine that some ideal ‘civilised’ debate will necessarily lead to a fair and satisfactory solution. We are right to be suspicious and to reserve the right to protest and to profoundly disagree.

  2. Caroline Willis

    March 21, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    There are many all through schools in the private sector which work very well. I think this would be a successful model.

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