Frequently Asked Questions
When was Harrow founded?
Harrow was founded in 1572, under a royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I, by local landowning farmer, John Lyon.
How many boys attend Harrow?
Where is the School located?
In Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, north-west London - 12 minutes by train from Marylebone, 20 minutes from Baker Street on a fast Metropolitan London Underground train and a 30-minute drive from Heathrow airport.
How big is the School's estate?
324 acres, comprising 12 Boarding Houses, accommodation for all teaching staff, 16 winter-sports pitches, 12 tennis courts, nine cricket pitches, six conservation areas, two all-weather synthetic pitches, formal gardens, a nine-hole golf course, a working farm, an observatory, several performance spaces, a fishing lake, woodland and a registered park.
How many people work at Harrow?
Around 700, of whom 150 are teaching staff.
What is a typical working day at Harrow like?
Following breakfast at 8am and then Speech Room (assembly) or Chapel, there are eight lessons a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as time for activities; and five lessons a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with the whole afternoon given over to sport, music, art, drama or other activities. Lectures and rehearsals typically take place before supper or after prep (a period in the evening set aside for the completion of homework).
What do the School mottos mean?
Stet fortuna domus means 'May the fortune of the House stand'. Donorum dei dispensatio fidelis means 'the faithful stewardship of the gifts of God'.
Who is Harrow's Head Master?
Alastair Land is Harrow's Head Master. Read more about him here.
What is the School's Purpose?
Harrow's purpose is to prepare boys with diverse backgrounds and interests for a life of learning, leadership, service and personal fulfilment. Read more about our Purpose, Strategy and Values here.
What are the main entry points?
Year 9 (age 13; also known as Shells at Harrow) and Sixth Form / Year 12 (age 16).
How many new boys join Harrow each year?
160 new Shells (our youngest year group) join each year, with approximately 20 boys joining the Lower Sixth Form.
What is the competition for places?
Each year, we have around 600 applications for 160 places in the Shell.
What kind of boy is Harrow looking for?
One who will make the most of the opportunities Harrow offers: boys who are generally bright, with an enthusiastic attitude to school life, the potential to show great leadership and the sort of personality that will make a notable contribution to our community. A suitable Sixth Form applicant is likely to be predicted at least seven or eight passes at GCSE (or equivalent) at grade 7/8/9 (A/A*).
What are Harrow’s feeder schools?
A handful of schools send us several boys each year, but we do not give preferential treatment to boys from them. When choosing a prep school, our advice to parents is to look for a school that offers a wide range of activities outside the classroom, as well as good academic and pastoral support. If your son is enthusiastic, bright and ready to make the most of Harrow's opportunities, then it does not matter which school he is currently attending.
Does Harrow ever take girls?
Harrow is a single-sex school for boys. Masters' daughters can attend for the Sixth Form, although only a handful have ever done so.
What percentage of current boys are the sons of Old Harrovians?
What percentage of boys live overseas?
What level of English does a boy need to attend Harrow?
All boys must speak English sufficiently well to participate fully in the form room. We assess without cost those for whom English is an additional language and charge for any extra English lessons that they subsequently require.
Should applicants studying overseas attend a UK prep school prior to Harrow, or can they remain abroad?
Around 50% of those who take up a Year 9 place do attend a UK prep school. This can help them to improve their English, to become more familiar with our curriculum and to prepare for many aspects of life at a British boarding school.
Must applicants studying at schools overseas take the Common Entrance examinations?
Yes, although those not following the Common Entrance syllabus are only required to take a limited range of papers in the core subjects, for setting purposes. Applicants do not need to have studied French or Latin previously.
Do applicants with non-EU passports require a visa to study in the UK?
Yes, they must possess a Child Student Visa. The Admissions Office offers guidance about this when an applicant is offered a place.
Do boys ever join Harrow in the Remove, Fifth Form or Upper Sixth?
Places become available very occasionally in the Remove (Year 10) but the majority of boys arrive in the Shell, with another 20 joining at the start of Sixth Form.
Does Harrow ever take boys for a short period of time?
We expect any boy joining us to remain until he is 18.
What provision does Harrow make for boys with send?
The School has a small, but dedicated Learning Skills department which helps boys with a wide range of disabilities. An applicant with a disability who otherwise fulfils the School's admissions criteria should discuss with the Admissions Department whether any exam concessions can be granted during the admissions process and whether we can provide the level of support the boy would require to be successful and thrive at Harrow.
What is the School fee?
The School's fee for the academic year 2023/24 is £16,850 per term and includes board, tuition, textbooks, a stationery allowance and laundry.
When should a Year 9 applicant be registered?
You should register your son by 1 July of Year 5. Registrations received after the end of Year 5 will be considered Late Applicants.
Is there any advantage to being registered from birth?
There is no particular advantage to a very early application. We usually advise parents to apply once their son is in Prep School or Primary School and by 1 July of Year 5.
What is the final deadline for receipt of registrations?
1 July of Year 5 (Standard Applicants) or 1 May of Year 6 (Late Applicants).
Can my son apply to more than one school?
Yes, although he is only permitted to take the Common Entrance (CE) examination for one school.
When does the admissions process begin for Year 9 applicants?
At the end of Year 5, when we request a reference from a boy’s current school. We will request his reference immediately if we receive his registration form after this time.
Can I visit the School?
To ensure a meaningful visit, we recommend that applicants and their families attend an open morning when the applicant is in Year 5. These take place between 9am and 1pm on 12 Saturdays a year and include a tour of the School and a Boarding House, a talk by the Head Master and an opportunity to meet House Masters and boys.
Should applicants indicate any House preferences on their Registration Form?
Many parents leave their son’s House allocation to the Registrar. Those families who do indicate a House preference often have a pre-existing relationship with the House via Old Harrovian connections. Click here to explore the Houses and to learn more about their history and House Master. Alternatively, speak to your son's current Head or to a House Master at one of our open mornings.
Do Year 9 applicants meet a House Master one-to-one?
All applicants are interviewed by a House Master when they sit The Harrow Test in the Spring Term of Year 6. Applicants holding offers of places in a specific House will be invited to a one-to-one meeting with the House Master from the Summer Term of Year 6 onwards. Other applicants holding offers will be allocated a House at a later date, after which a visit can be arranged directly with the House Master.
When are Year 9 applicants assessed?
All standard applicants will need to sit the ISEB Pre-Test at their school between 1 October and the end of November of Year 6. A small number of applicants who do not perform well in the ISEB Pre-Test will be de-selected, while the majority will be invited to come to Harrow to sit The Harrow Test in the Spring term of Year 6. An applicant who registers after the standard application deadline and before 1 May of Year 6 is considered a Late Applicant and will only be invited to sit the Harrow Test if he has a very strong reference and an equally strong performance in the ISEB Common Pre-Test.
What is the ISEB Pre-Test?
The ISEB Pre-Test is a standardised, age-adaptive measure of ability and attainment. Therefore, an applicant is not disadvantaged by sitting the test early in Year 6 or by being young for his year group. The ISEB Pre-Test takes the form of an online assessment consisting of multiple-choice questions in Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English and Mathematics. The tests take approximately two and a half hours to complete and sections can be taken together or at separate times.
What is The Harrow Test?
The Harrow Test consists of one interview with a House Master, a computerised English and Mathematics assessment and a classroom-based group activity.
How can Year 9 applicants prepare for Harrow’s admissions assessments?
For the first round of admissions testing, the ISEB Common Pre-Test (CPT), we would recommend taking a look at the ISEB's walkthrough to help the candidate familiarise himself with the sorts of questions he might be asked during the test. As the CPT tests a candidate's Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning skills, we would advise practising questions in these areas. We do not have any past papers for the second round of admissions testing, the Harrow Test. Some candidates choose to use online preparation tools such as BOFA, Bond 11+, Atom learning to practise content as well as technique.
When do Year 9 applicants receive the results?
In late April / early May of Year 6.
Are Harrow's offers conditional?
Yes, they are conditional on the applicant sitting Common Entrance (CE) examinations or our Academic Scholarship examinations. Applicants at a school that does not prepare its pupils for CE will be asked to sit papers in Mathematics, English, Science, French (if studied) and Latin (if studied). Applicants who do not receive specific preparation for CE are not disadvantaged.
What is Harrow’s Common Entrance pass mark?
There is no Common Entrance pass mark per se. However, we would hope that applicants would achieve an average of 65% across all subjects, as a minimum.
What is the assessment process for Sixth Form applicants?
Applicants take two academic tests in subjects that they propose to take at A level in the first round of testing. The tests can be taken at their current school or at Harrow and must be sat in the early part of the autumn of Year 11. We also request references from candidates' current Heads. We invite shortlisted applicants to an assessment day at Harrow, during which they have two further tests in subjects that they propose to take at A level, interviews with senior Masters and a seminar with a Head of Subject. Applicants from schools in Hong Kong sit tests and are interviewed in Hong Kong.
What happens if an applicant misses the application deadlines?
We do make some provision for late applications, although, as these boys are competing for fewer places, we can only assess those with strong references. Unfortunately, we cannot assess late applicants from overseas schools.
Does Harrow offer scholarships?
Yes, we offer up to 40-45 Academic, Music, Art, Sport, Drama and DTE (Design Technology and Engineering) scholarships each year, usually to a value of 5% of the School fees. We do not offer an all-rounder scholarship.
What is a bursary?
A means-tested award of up to 100% of the School fees for boys in financial need. Bursaries can be awarded either independent from or dependent on obtaining a scholarship. Candidates can, but do not need to, apply for both a bursary and scholarship. Most bursaries have specific criteria that candidates must meet in order to be considered. Further information regarding bursaries and scholarships is shared with applicants throughout the assessment process.
How do I apply for a scholarship or bursary?
Visit the Scholarship and Bursaries page for more information.
How should a successful applicant prepare to start at Harrow?
Boys preparing to join Harrow are invited to a New Boys Tea in the July of their year of entry, around which time they receive all the important information, including that about uniform and equipment. We also hold Experience Harrow days and other events throughout Year 7 and Year 8 for boys holding offers of places with us.