As anyone who has lived in a boarding school can attest, no day is ever the same and, consequently, without opportunity for pupils to learn about themselves, by experience or by observation.
It is for that reason that Harrow has been involved, for the last 18 months, in a project focused on character education. Building on the work done on the School’s Values, the project started with a survey of parents, boys, beaks (teachers) and non-teaching staff about the ways in which the School community demonstrates Courage, Honour, Humility and Fellowship. From that first survey, it moved on to identify the areas in which there was the greatest scope for progress.
The perspectives of House Masters and Heads of Subject were sought; a Character Education Team was formed, composed of beaks working in different areas of the School; a representative group of boys worked towards the creation of a leaver’s profile, trying to capture the qualities to be instilled in all boys over their five years at Harrow.
Since September 2018, pilot projects have been running in the Geography and Modern Foreign Languages departments (seeking to encourage reflection on the promotion of the School’s Values through teaching) and in two co-curricular activities (involving codes of conduct and formal opportunities for boys to reflect on their own performance, in terms of contribution to their teams and the development of themselves). Pilots have also been taking place in two of the Houses, where structures are being introduced to promote greater integration between year groups and to create a community that regulates its own behaviour, with reference to ideals rather than with recourse to disciplinary mechanisms.
If these pilot projects prove successful, the same initiatives could be rolled out more widely in departments, in activities and in Houses.