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In any organisation – be it a school, a company, or even a family – strong and clearly expressed values create identity, focus, unity and drive, answering the questions ‘what do we belong to?’, ‘what’s important to us?’, ‘what holds us together?’ and ‘why do our collective efforts matter?’ At Harrow, our Values help us to make decisions from day-to-day that mean we behave and perform better, inspiring us to try harder as individuals, so that collectively we thrive. 

In 2022, the School’s 450th anniversary year, Values Commendations Medals were commissioned and awarded to boys for the first time at Speech Day, recognising one boy from each year group who best exemplifies the School’s four values. In a similar vein, Values Commendations are now regularly awarded to boys throughout the year, complementing the School’s existing rewards systems, to highlight moments when a boy has exhibited behaviours aligning with the School’s Values. 

The four Values are fully embedded into the School’s Human Resource and recruitment structures. As well as expecting our boys to outwardly reflect the Values, colleagues are expected to exhibit these Values on a daily basis. Appraisal and probationary processes within the School include explicit references to this important area of School life. 

Courage encourages us to innovate and take risks, inspiring change for the better. It means challenging adversity and complacency, making the most of opportunities, putting fear of failure to one side and staying the course, even when it is difficult. 

The Harrow behaviours associated with Courage are:

  • We remain optimistic and purposeful in a disrupted world.
  • We take responsibility for our decisions, even the hard ones.
  • We always challenge poor behaviour in ourselves and others.
  • We are open to new ideas and seek fresh challenges.

Honour is about doing the right thing, having the highest standards and leading by example. It involves taking responsibility and, ultimately, is what makes us worthy of the trust of others.  

The Harrow behaviours associated with Honour are: 

  • We keep our promises. 
  • We act with integrity – doing the right thing, even when it is difficult or when no one is watching. 
  • We respect and value our traditions whilst setting them in the context of today. 

Humility asks us to recognise that one's self is a work in progress and that struggling with one's weaknesses is essential to growth. Humility increases our awareness that talent and achievement alone, however impressive, are not sufficient to succeed as a human being – and that none of us is at the centre of the universe. 

The Harrow behaviours associated with Humility are: 

  • We work hard to serve others within the School and across our wider communities where possible putting their interests before our own. 
  • We give and seek honest and appropriate feedback, reflect on our failures and learn from them. 
  • We support each other through challenges and whatever the outcome, we celebrate those that took part. 

Fellowship means building binding, constructive relationships that help us all to make a positive contribution. This is resonant with our belief that the strongest relationships of all are based on faith, hope and love. 

The Harrow behaviours associated with Fellowship are: 

  • We respect each other and value our differences, knowing that we are more effective and more resilient working together. 
  • We are kind and inclusive; we value the contribution that each of us makes. 
  • We role model the behaviours that we would like to see in others; we ask only of others what we would be prepared to do ourselves.

Our four Values link closely to our Christian foundation and the principles of ‘Godliness and good learning’ established by our founder, John Lyon. In our context, their meanings are replete with much more than their dictionary definitions, just as the word ‘Harrow’ means more than just a school. Outwardly, they give a sense of the distinctive quality of Harrow School and express what we think is important. A school that values courage, honour, humility and fellowship is a school at its best: one deserving of the name ‘Harrow’ and one to which we aspire. 

Alastair Land, Head Master, attended Manchester Grammar School where he was School Vice-Captain. He first got to understand the positive power of boarding in his gap year teaching at Budhanilkantha School north of Kathmandu. Alastair took a First in Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was President of the College's Student Union. After completing his PGCE at Cambridge, he began his career at Eton as a teacher of Biology. There he became a Deputy House Master and held several extra-curricular responsibilities, including command of the CCF. Alastair then spent nine years at Winchester, where he was Master in College and a member of the Senior Management Team. Alastair was Deputy Head Master at Harrow for nearly four years, from 2012, before he moved to Repton as Headmaster. He returned to Harrow as Head Master in April 2019. He has retained his interests in outdoor activity and is Contingent Commander of the Harrow Rifle Corps. He remains committed to scholarship, teaching electives on Human Evolution and Consciousness. He delivers a number of academic talks including on Harrow’s Giants of Old. Alastair is developing a process of strategic development of boys boarding in the 21st century and access to it for boys of all backgrounds and integrated working with local partners. He is a governor at Aysgarth, Orley Farm, Dulwich Prep London (and a regular prep school visitor) and a member of Park High School, and has acted as an independent reviewer in the appraisal process of senior school headteachers. He is currently the Secretary for HMC London Division.