The Pareto Principle

Before half-term we all trooped outside onto the field to have our AKS photo (pictured). It was great to get together as a whole school, from nursery to sixth form. For me, it symbolised our unity of purpose. Whilst some junior and senior schools can have quite separate identities, I am delighted that at AKS these two parts of the school continue to grow together.

Apart from the obvious progression of curriculum and assessment, we are seeking to develop greater sharing of staff and resources, developing elements of a common timetable to facilitate that. Music, sport, drama, art, science, design technology are particular areas that I have been discussing with Mrs Ilhan for next year.

I recall once reading about the Pareto Principle, sometimes known as the 80/20 rule, a tendency for 80% of the effects to arise from 20% of the causes. In the context of students at AKS, I see some of the most positive benefits of being at an all-through school arising from some of the least managed processes. It is the informal interactions between young people of different ages that can be so mutually beneficial. I see older students supporting younger ones, role-modelling positive ways of being. Recently I was pleased to hear Year 13 students talking to Year 6s about how to prepare for exams, and see Year 6s looking after nursery pupils in their learning on the beach.

Whilst it is easy to see how younger students benefit in these relationships, I also see their creativity and fearlessness in keeping older students on their toes; the brother- or sisterhood one would expect in a family orientated school. Visitors often comment on this atmosphere where young people of varying ages are comfortable with, and learn from, each other. I can’t find this written in any policy or procedure, it just is!

Whilst sharing resources and having a progressive junior-senior curriculum are of great importance, the advantages of being part of an all-through school go far beyond that. The majority of those whole-school pupil partnerships come from informal everyday contacts, rather than the formal plans of management. I think that’s the Pareto Principle….

M H P Walton