Is all-through really all-that?

Supporters of the system – including many free schools – claim that having children in the same institution from 3-18 smooths over transition issues and also boosts results. Nick Hughes investigates how true those claims are

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It’s not that Ed Vainker and his team were disappointed. How could they be, when the first cohort of students at their South London free school, Reach Academy Feltham, achieved some of the best GCSE results in the country, a third gaining 5 A*-As and 93 per cent at least 5 A*-Cs, including English and maths?

It was more that they believed those results could have been better...if only they had founded the school six years earlier. You see, this year’s GCSE students attended Reach only from Year 7. In six years’ time, the students taking GCSEs will have been at the school from the age of 4. ...

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