The Advantages of an All-Through School Education

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Greg Meakin, Head of Prep at Sherfield School, looks at the advantages of an all-through school education, from familiarity with staff to the logistics of dealing with siblings and a seamless curriculum…

All-through schools combine at least two stages of a child’s education. Within the independent sector this typically involves a combination of Pre-Prep (Reception to Year 2), Prep (up to 13 Years) and Senior School (up to A Level).

In some cases, the full age range is included from Nursery, the different phases sharing one site, zoned age-appropriately. This provides the powerful advantage of accumulated benefits over the years, with a long-term perspective of a child’s educational journey in full focus, every step of the way.

The learning journey
Providing education over multiple phases allows for secure transitions in a familiar environment. The school can forge longer term relationships with pupils, pastorally and as learners, with the continuity of a consistent educational ethos.

Moving through the school with an established friendship group, familiarity with staff and routines, avoids the disruption of moving schools. If there is a requirement for a child to convert from day to boarding, doing so in an environment which is already familiar and secure is most effective.

One-stop shared facilities
Where schools are based on the same site, younger pupils benefit from specialist senior facilities, such as in sports, science, languages and the arts. Specialist teachers can have an input in the lower years, in lessons and after school activity options.

For parents with several children, the logistics of one school looking after different age groups of learning and clubs makes a great deal of sense.

Seamless curriculum and leadership vision
Cohesive planning across the school phases can create a seamless curriculum, adding value at each level. All-through schools often have a more diverse senior leadership team than a single school, with specialist heads of Prep and Senior pooling their expertise and experience to support the entire age range, within a single vision for the school as a whole. Continuity is key.

Sherfield School is a co-educational day and boarding all-through school (Nursery to Sixth Form), located between Basingstoke and Reading. For further information or to register for open days see or email

Photography: Neil Turner