Looking for best private boarding schools for boys in UK? Harrow School in Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex is one of England's leading private independent schools,
one of a very few schools still specialising in providing a high
quality boarding school education for boys.
For the purposes of the academic curriculum there are five year-groups: Shell, Remove, Fifth Form, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth.
Boys normally enter Harrow at age 13 from a wide variety of
schools: the Shell therefore provides a foundation-year covering a large
number of subjects. All boys take English, French or Spanish, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, Latin or Classical Civilisation or Japanese, Religious Studies, Art, Music, Design Technology and Information Technology. Greek, German or Spanish are offered to boys with good linguistic ability.
Second and Third Years
In the Remove and Fifth Form boys work towards GCSE and/or IGCSE examinations.
Most subjects require two years for their GCSE courses; however, pupils take Religious Studies GCSE in one year and some pupils also take French and Mathematics at the end of the Remove, going on to more advanced study. Lessons in Study Skills are also available.
International GCSEs are slightly harder than GCSE and thus a
better preparation for A-level than normal GCSEs. The following subjects
are offered: Maths, History, French, Spanish, German, and Biology.
By the end of the Fifth Form all boys will have taken English Language, English Literature, French or Spanish, Mathematics, Religious Studies and a Science. In addition to these core subjects pupils choose, in a wide variety of combinations, four other subjects from History,
Geography, Latin, Classical Civilisation, Greek, German, Spanish,
Italian, Mandarin, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Music, Art and Design Technology.
Fourth and Fifth Years
In the Sixth Forms all pupils are expected to take AS-level in
four main subjects, going on to A-level in at least three. There are
many to choose from including English Literature, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, History, Geography, Economics, Business Studies, Ancient History, Political Studies, Religious Studies, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Design Technology, Physical Education, Music, Music Technology, Art, History of Art, Theatre Studies, Statistics and Photography.
Each boy is given plenty of help to make sure that his chosen
combination is appropriate to his interests, abilities and future plans.
Some boys reach beyond A-level to work for entrance to Oxford and
Cambridge, and to universities abroad, particularly in America. For the
latter, we prepare boys to take American SAT exams.
A-levels are the norm in most good schools, despite the impression sometimes given in the media. They have a number of advantages:
- good syllabuses
- due to the high number of students, publishers are able to produce excellent textbooks for most syllabuses
- 2008 reforms removed the complaints that had been made.
The exam has been made harder, coursework has been cut back and an A*
grade has been introduced for first award in 2010 which will be used by
top universities to select the brightest applicants
- brightest pupils are stretched by doing Further Maths and other additional A-level subjects and an Extended Project.
The IB was sat by 3160 students in the UK in 2008 – a small but
growing number. We do not study the IB because pupils are forced to
study Maths, English, a science, a foreign language, a humanity and one
other subject. This means that many students are forced to study
subjects they do not like and cannot study combinations which are
available under the A-level system. In some subjects the standard is
felt to be lower under the IB than at A-level.
The Pre-U exam is being taken by fewer than 50 schools in the
first sitting, which will be in 2011. Most of these schools are doing
the Pre-U in only a very few subjects. The Pre-U is little-known by
universities and we regard it as too risky at this very early stage.
The Diploma started in a limited range of subjects in 2008.
There have been many teething problems and independent schools have not
generally shown any interest in it. However, there is one element of the
Diploma which we like and have adopted – the Extended Project.
This is a 5000-word dissertation on a topic of the student’s choice.
This has the advantage of providing a stretching activity for our most
able pupils and a way of encouraging independent learning.