Harrow School

Logo of Harrow School

Pupils Info

Gender – Boys School
Age range – Age 13-18
Number of pupils on roll – 830 Pupils


Average Class Size: 18
Boarding School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 20%
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 93%

Harrow is steeped in tradition, ‘funny hats, funny songs, a bonkers game’, said the old headmaster Barnaby Lenon; for all this though, judging from the success of the boys it churns out, Winston Churchill’s old school is far from losing touch with the modern world. The school’s facilities are without doubt some of the finest that you’ll find in any public school; the academic results are exceptional; and extracurricular activities on offer are astounding. A new head, Jim Hawkins started at the school in 2011, after nine years at Norwich School (which he oversaw turn co-ed), there is little chance that the winning Harrow formula of single sex and full boarding, is set to change though. For while the school keeps achieving brilliant exam results, sending 15% to Oxbridge and producing world leaders and high-flyers, they can safely claim that their conservatism continues to serve them well.

Background and Reputation

A Harrow education is a pretty sure-fire way to be schooled. Parents can be confident that their boys will receive a structured education and a jolly good chance at Oxbridge; they will also come away with a network of high-end contacts in their phone. And efforts by new head, Jim Hawkins, to dispel any sterile reputation that Harrow has become a pinstriped powerhouse have not gone unnoticed. Announcing last year his decision to remove Harrow from the newspaper League Tables was a punchy move and one that might have gone some way to reassuring parents keen for Harrow to remain a school known for a balanced education and rounded personalities. The emphasis at Harrow has traditionally been on contribution: there are plenty of straight A* geniuses, but also sports stars and musical prodigies, as well as salt of the earth all- rounders.

Academic and Exit Results

Harrow remains a hothouse for some of the brightest boys and they certainly get great results. Although, mysteriously, their 2013 results have yet to been made public. The 2012 GCSE results were strong, 52% were A, 85% A to A and 97% A* to B. The A Level results were equally impressive, 25.3% were As, 74.1% were A to A grades, 93.0% A* to B and 99.7% A* to C.

Social and Pastoral

When asked whether cigarettes, alcohol or drugs were readily available, one student responds with a pithy statement: “sadly not”. With a definite no tolerance approach to drugs, the boys know where they stand. Comparing it to Eton, another student elaborated, “there’s no tardy book or rustication; if you’re caught, you’re out”. They’ll be no Charlie Mortimers coming out of here; reassuringly. Though they denied claims of bullying, when questioned about whether individual houses possessed their own characteristics, they agreed whole heartedly – some are sporty, some less so. And so getting your house choice right is obviously of the upmost importance. All with their individual personalities and “huge discrepancies in terms of leniency and strictness”, it’s worth doing your research. “Different houses are like being at different schools.” They have a good mentoring system in order to break down the barriers between the year groups; a first year boy is assigned a ‘shepherd’ in the year above as well as a mentor in the lower sixth.

Sport, Music and Drama

There is no doubt that Harrow can boast some of the best facilities in Sport, Music, drama and Art and, as a result, excel in all. They have almost unbeatable teams in Rugby and Football (the first football team win 90% of their matches). Reassuringly though, it’s not all about playing for the first XI; with great inter-house competitions all the boys have a chance to ‘get involved’. With beautiful galleried art schools, the pupils’ works are always on display. With sculpture, paintings, pencil drawings, portraits, wood work and photography on view throughout the building, it is clear that the full range of artistic disciplines are promoted. Equally impressive music facilities and concert halls inspire the boys to take up musical instruments (around 50% of them do so) and, even more impressively, many of them achieve grade 8 in their chosen instrument(s).


There’s not a lot of loafing around that goes on in the evenings and weekends. With such a long list of activities, trips and guest speakers, it would be hard to avoid getting involved. With a wide range of societies – from debating, politics and film – there is something for everyone.

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