Harrodian School

Logo of Harrodian School

Pupils Info

Gender – Co-Ed School
Age range – Age 4-18
Number of pupils on roll – 990 Pupils


Average Class Size: 22
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 5%
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 73%

The Harrodian is the London equivalent of Bedales. About as hip a school as you will find, pupils are encouraged to interact with their teachers informally; this can make for rather raucous lessons, but it seems to get results (73% A*-B at A Level). The school is heavily competitive to get into (there is one place for every five applicants), however once you’re in you’re in, and the school’s nurturing ethos means that students say they feel as though they are part of a vast family.

For such a new school – it was founded in 1993 by Lady Eliana and Sir Alford Houstoun-Boswall – it seems to have roots. The alumni – which boasts actors like Robert Pattinson and Tom Sturridge – all stay in touch with each other and the school.

Background and Reputation

You would be hard pushed to find an old Harrodian with anything bad to say about the school: the consensus seems to be that this new school has struck a winning formula. The 25-acre grounds (on the site of Harrod’s old employee clubhouse and sports field) are unquestionably impressive; while the classrooms are about as high tech as you will get this side of NASA. The very best thing about the school though, is its Philosophy; there are rarely disciplinary problems because there are so few rules and the Arts are encouraged just as much as academia. The result seems to be happy unstressed students; which in the cauldron of competitive London day schools is comparatively unique.

Academic and Exit Results

Despite its artsie reputation, The Harrodian also seems to have got the hang of getting its students through exams. In 2012 67% of students got from A*-B. Although 100% of students go on to Higher Education, it is arguable that the school hasn’t quite got the knack of getting its pupils into Oxbridge. Although 5% is a respectable amount, odds are this number will go up as the Universities increasingly learn what to expect from the school.

Social and Pastoral

Harrodian students are known for their confidence. Lessons are an interactive affair (no one seems to stand on hand-raising) and this vibrant atmosphere extends beyond the classroom. The relationships encouraged between students and their teachers of respectful informality, seems to inform how the pupils treat each other. Ex-Harrodians report that there was little to no bullying and little cliqueness. Though at 960 pupils, the school is relatively large, the small class sizes and system of form tutors mean that everyone gets a high level of individual attention; and a family atmosphere prevails.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

The Harrodian’s Sports department is really beginning to come into it’s own. The schedule is cram packed with fixtures: other teams love coming to play on their beautiful games pitches. Like so much of the school, the Sports department is inclusive. All are welcome to come and get involved in all manner of activities, karate is a very popular option for instance, and there is talk of making a dojo. PE is also taught very well as an academic option for GCSE and A Level; with those taking it being the envy of the school as they sally forth to the pitches while others are stuck inside. Harrodian’s Art Department is incredibly strong. Perhaps the best thing about the department is how few restrictions are placed on the students; the idea is very much that each artist should develop their own style. The result is pretty impressive: not only are all the walls decked in art from students of all ages, but most surfaces are covered in sculptures too. Another strength is the emphasis placed on the study and context of art; students are expected to both have a historical grounding in art, as well as to be engaged with the contemporary scene. And although there are numerous opportunities to visit galleries with the school, students are strongly encouraged to gallery-hang at the weekend and in the holidays. Music is taken seriously at the Harrodian: the majority of students will study an instrument as an extra, and a large amount choose to take Music for GCSE and A Level. This might have something to do with the early compulsory music lessons that all Harrodians take; unlike many schools where these periods are a noisy excuse to bang drums together, at The Harrodian the students are expected to properly compose their own music. As a result, when those who have chosen to continue with the subject for GCSE embark on the course, they are much more advanced than their contemporaries around the country. The results achieved by the Music department reflect this early endeavor and are uniformly impressive. It is no surprise that a school with so many showbiz parents has an outstanding Drama Department. Not only are numerous full-length plays staged throughout the year (there is generally standing room only after all the parents, friends and talent scouts pack in) but lots of impromptu performances in Assembly too. Drama, as a GCSE or A Level subject, is treated with the same seriousness as Further Maths. The idea is that it is not enough just to play the part, Drama students are also expected to have a go at directing and playwriting. They are given a thorough- grounding in things like the Brechtian technique and are frequently whisked off to theatres around London.


Extracurricular activities are a big thing at The Harrodian; lunch breaks and afterschool is packed with activities. These are as diverse as they are numerous: there is a Card Shark Club, a Pro-Wrestling Appreciation Society and a Funk Band, among lots of others. The great thing about all these clubs is that it gives the students a chance, not only to get to know pupils from all years, but also to see their teachers outside of the classroom, which can help combat shyness in class.

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