Ysgol Llanhari & Ysgol Bro Preseli – All Age Leadership Research

All Age Schools Forum – Research Questionnaire Submission

Participating School or Schools:

Ysgol Llanhari and Ysgol Bro Preseli

Local authority and / or Consortia?

Rhondda Cynon Taf and Pembrokeshire

Participating Staff researchers:

Meinir Thomas, Rhonwen Morris, Ffion Porter, Catrin Thomas, Carwen Morgan Davies, Lloyd Owens


Developing All Age leadership skills.

If “other” please state:


Rationale for the choice of theme:

As newly appointed headteachers undertake leadership roles within schools of all ages, understanding and making the most of the structural framework of the school becomes essential to navigate the evolving educational landscape. This research stems from a proactive initiative by new headteachers to investigate the alignment of the all-age school structure with national educational priorities. The intention is to foster informed decision-making, promote effective leadership, and contribute to the overarching goal of promoting educational outcomes in line with national strategic priorities.

What was the research question?

Action research into strategic leadership in all-age schools 3-19, with a specific focus on how national priorities are developed through effective distributed leadership.

What research design was used?

Organisational Research. (Analysing and interpreting the school).

If “other” please state.


Research methods used.

Interviews., Observations.

If “other” please state.


How was the funding used to resource the design?

Staff cover., Staff visits.

If “other” please state.

Other – Online meetings

What were the research objectives?

The main aim of this research was to increase and deepen the understanding of restructuring processes and principles shared in all-age schools by comparing organizations of similar size. This was done through visits and interviews. Specifically, the focus was on analysing and disseminating the strengths of our schools and similar institutions such as Ysgol Bro Teifi, Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw, and Ysgol Garth Olwg. Through this comparative analysis, the research aimed to facilitate the process of sharing ideas, encouraging open discussions on effective practices, and exploring the feasibility of adopting successful strategies by peer institutions.

What were the research outcomes?

By achieving these objectives, the research aimed to contribute to the overall development of restructuring processes in all-age schools, improving the quality of education and aligning institutions better with national educational priorities. The research has increased the understanding of Headteachers and senior leaders of the nature of all-age schools and specifically, 3-19 schools. Open discussions have highlighted the importance of continuous learning continuum, emphasizing the connection between primary and secondary education.

Positive findings include effective curriculum alignment, smooth transitions between stages, and a holistic approach to student development. Among the identified challenges is the need for ongoing collaboration between primary and secondary educators, ensuring consistency in teaching methodologies, and addressing potential gaps in the curriculum.

Together, the research underscores the significance of an integrated learning continuum within the all-age school setting. Recommendations for improvement include targeted professional development for primary and secondary leadership, personal interventions for students, and ongoing efforts to enhance “learning to learn” skills across all stages. The insights aim to guide strategies, initiatives, and structures in the future to optimize the educational experience for students within the all-age school framework.

How has the research process impacted the school?

Professional discussions between headteachers and senior leaders have affirmed a common understanding of how leadership development is successful within the context of every all-age school. The research process has confirmed that similar strategic decisions have been made in both schools to facilitate the response to national priorities e.g. senior leaders in both schools have cross-school responsibilities e.g. the role of the CADY is a 3-19 one. Through good discussions, it was concluded that perseverance as leaders is important! It was seen that staff must be convinced of adaptations to practice arrangements as primary and secondary colleagues respond to the vision. When managing change, it was agreed that evaluation and change are necessary if elements were not working. It was agreed that leaders must be confident in adhering to the vision for our all-age schools.

What, if any, are the potential areas for follow-up research?

Research looking at middle leadership roles within all-age schools

Looking at a specific all-age cross-school leadership aspect e.g. literacy and numeracy leaders and comparing experiences

How have any changes resulting from the research been implemented?

No changes have been implemented as the leadership experiences are similar. However, discussions were held and accepted how different staff appreciation and various experiences within and across sectors. It was found that this was not limited to one school and it was agreed that there should be no hesitation in developing a successful all-age school. As a result of the research, it was seen that it is fair to accept this.

Can the school make recommendations to other schools based upon the research?

Despite some practical challenges, it is evident in both schools that aligning responsibilities with national priorities is a success. It was also seen that ensuring a balance of primary and secondary practitioners on the leadership team is a strength.

Ethical research practice

The school confirms that the inquiry detailed above was carried out in accordance with the 2018 British Educational Research Association’s Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. These guidelines include participant consent, transparency, the right to withdraw, incentives, avoidance of harm, privacy and data storage, and disclosure.

Report Author:

Meinir Thomas and Rhonwen Morris

Report Date:



Meinir Thomas, Rhonwen Morris, Ffion Porter, Catrin Thomas, Carwen Morgan Davies, Lloyd Owens

Schools included in the research:

Ysgol Llanhari & Ysgol Bro Preseli


Meinir Thomas & Rhonwen Morris

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