A three-tier system of lower, middle and upper schools will continue in Bedfordshire after councillors rejected a proposal to move to a two-tier model.
A report recommended that county councillors back the primary and secondary school system, which was opposed by many parents.
A council working group had made the recommendation saying the move would help improve pupils' results.
The decision was taken at a full meeting of the council on Thursday.
Those who had opposed the plan were concerned at the possibility of school closures if it went ahead.
The majority of parents in lower schools and middle schools who took part in a consultation were in favour of retaining the current three-tier system.