Marie Staunton, Head Librarian
The Vaughan Library is over 150 years old and was designed in Victorian Gothic style by George Gilbert Scott, who also conceived St Pancras Station in London. Refurbished and enlarged 15 years ago (with the addition of the mezzanine floor), it is staffed today by qualified librarians and open daily for boys to study, browse and enjoy quiet space. There are over 30,000 items of stock, including books, CDs and DVDs, as well as a wide range of daily newspapers, magazines and journals. Our online resources include Naxos Music Library and Oxford Online Collection. The reading room houses a large collection of fiction and literary criticism, and the upper floors support our academic subjects and boys' wider areas of interest. There is a large universities and careers section, along with subject resource guides, reading lists and displays on new and prize-winning books, as well as classic and favourite reads. The IT room has PCs, scanners, printers and photocopiers, and doubles as a presentation suite. Every new boy and member of staff has an introduction to the Library early in the autumn term and there are subject-specific inductions throughout the year. The Shell Reading Group meets fortnightly to discuss books and films with games, quizzes and refreshments, and chess sets are always available for boys to play. For more information, contact the Head Librarian. In addition to the Vaughan Library, each House has its own 'Reader' and there are libraries in most departments.
Information and Communications Technology
Every boy has a high-spec, networked computer for 1-to-1 learning, connected across the entire School site to filtered internet via a high-speed 1000mbps link. Our classrooms are fully equipped with robust wifi, data projectors, smartboards, document cameras and a plethora of subject-specific ICT hardware. There are seven dedicated ICT Suites located in academic departments. All boys follow a core Computing programme in their Shell year, and have the opportunity to take Computing as a GCSE. The School makes strong use of virtual learning tools, while at the same time exercising discernment rather than following fads.
Each boy is assigned a tutor who is connected to his Boarding House. His tutor sets him targets at the start of each term, for review at the end, and helps him to establish good patterns of work (by checking that his files are well organised, for example, and his prep diary up to date). Tutors normally do one duty night a week in the Boarding Houses, during which they will review the academic progress of their tutees. Sixth Form Tutors liaise closely with the Academic and Universities Director and support their tutees' university applications. Pastorally, Tutors also attend Chapel with their tutees, eat lunch with them during the week and take them out on Saturday evening trips.
Our Master in Charge of Scholars encourages the brightest pupils to take charge of their learning, meeting with them regularly to discuss their interests, outcomes and goals so that they develop a truly independent approach. Our Super-Curriculum offers a vast range of interest groups, activities and competitions, strongly supported by individual departments. For more information, contact the Master-in-Charge of Scholars.
Boys receive a comprehensive end of term report from each of their Masters, their Tutor and their House Master, as well as a briefer half termly report with effort and achievement grades. Once a year, we invite parents to the School to discuss their son's progress with the Masters who teach him and, when appropriate, future subject choices. Beyond this formal reporting cycle, parents may correspond with their son's House Master at any time during the School year.
Each boy is taught study skills, primarily by his Tutor and subject departments. Our approach to teaching how to learn is personalised and subject-specific; boys studying a language, for example, are taught techniques for learning vocabulary, while in the humanities they cover how to structure essays. As Fifth Form boys approach their GCSE examinations, they are given further advice on revision and technique, and some are nominated for a one-day seminar on the art of learning.
English as an Additional Language
In order to manage the academic and social demands of life at Harrow, boys must be fairly fluent in the English language. Screening for EAL occurs at Common Entrance and, when a boy reaches Harrow, in his English lessons and through dedicated EAL tests. In those cases where a boy needs extra support, teaching is provided by specialist EAL teachers working in the Learning Skills department.