Posted: 18th January 2021

Through-schools are those which combine different stages of a child’s education on a single campus. At Leweston we have around 500 pupils ranging in age from three months to eighteen, but whilst all of the different ages and stages share our beautiful parkland site, they each have their own zone tailored to the needs of the pupils at that time.

This one campus, all-through approach offers many advantages but at its heart it provides a more personalised, long-term perspective on your child’s education.

For pupils, the benefits are considerable. An established friendship group that travels with them, familiarity with the site, teachers and routines all allow for a more secure and gentle transition between the different educational stages. Faces will be familiar as specialist Prep staff teach in Nursery and Senior Staff teach in Prep.

This consistency allows teachers to build up an in-depth knowledge of their pupils as people. All teachers get to know their students’ abilities and potential, but knowledge of some of the episodes in their earlier life can provide insight and may support development decisions in later years. The quality of pupil data, as well as consistent tracking and monitoring, provides a further detail building a picture of each learner. This shared approach to both academic and pastoral development provides consistently high expectations for all.

The direct proximity of younger children to older ones provides leadership and mentoring opportunities for the older students developing confidence and empathy. For the younger children the older students provide excellent role-models, fuelling their ambitions and showing them what they can become.

The shared campus enables pupils of all ages to access a range of facilities often unavailable to individual year groups. At Leweston the Nursery, Prep and Senior Schools all have access to the Swimming Pool, Astro-turf, Sports Hall, Science Centre, Art and Design Centre, Chapel, Dining Room and Music School.

If, once boarding becomes an option from Year 4, a pupil wants to become a flexi, weekly or full boarder they are doing so in an environment which is already familiar and with Houseparents who will already be known to them.

For parents, the benefits are similar. The school can forge longer term relationships with them and provide a comprehensive and consistent approach to their child’s education. Communication tools, routines and processes only need to be learned once. For parents with more than one child there is a logistical advantage of having the whole family on one site. The school day at Leweston is the same in both the Prep and Senior schools with buses arriving and departing to fit in with the wrap-around care provided in both schools.

This consistency is mirrored in the school’s values and ethos which are recognisable throughout. A single Senior Leadership Team, with Prep and Senior specialists, ensure a central vision and a seamless approach to all aspects of planning from estates and facilities to the academic curriculum.

However, it is important to recognise that each stage in the educational journey is unique, it has its own character, purpose and requirements. Primary and secondary students, and their parents, are different and they need to be able to embrace these differences.

Whilst Leweston supports three major transitions: Nursery to Prep, Prep to Senior and Senior to Sixth Form, the most marked transition is that of Prep to Senior School. At Leweston this takes place between Years 6 and 7. It is important to acknowledge this step in a way that lets the pupils know we have noticed their ‘growing up’. At each of these points there is a uniform change and an increase in personal responsibility and independence. Inside and outside the classrooms the teaching as well as extra and co-curricular programmes evolve and grow with the students. This helps them to feel that a new and important step has been reached.

Time and again, Leweston is referred to as a ‘family’ and this overwhelming sense of community is perhaps the most marked quality of through-schools. Like all many families there are siblings at different points in life experiencing different things and taking different perspectives, but a shared experience and comfortable familiarity will always bring them back to together.

Miss Phillips, Head of Early Years and Prep

For more information about Leweston at all stages contact the Admissions Team on 01963 211015 or admissions@leweston.dorset.sch.uk

You can also join us at one of our upcoming Virtual Open Doors events. 

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