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.
Boys’ learning skills are taught and developed in three ways at Harrow. Firstly, tutors offer personalised advice to their tutees on their approach to learning and the management of their academic work. Secondly, skills required for individual subjects are taught within the departments. Boys studying a language, for example, are taught techniques for learning vocabulary, while in the humanities they cover how to structure essays. Thirdly, the Learning Skills department, newly created for the start of the 2017-18 academic year and headed by Mr Charles Bailey, supports the work of the teaching departments and is developing a bespoke programme to be delivered in timetabled periods throughout the year, in the first instance for the Shells and in the future for other year groups. 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.
Provision for boys with special education needs (SEN) is led by the Learning Skills department. Dr Susanna Pinkus, the Head of SEN, manages a team of SEN specialist teachers who support boys identified as having additional learning needs or requirements. The team works in close partnership with House Masters, division Masters and the rest of the School community to ensure that boys' needs are understood and met during their time at Harrow. Although we do not have the facilities to offer highly specialised and intensive support, the SEN team supports boys with a range of needs which include Dyslexia, Dsypraxia, Auditory Processing Difficulties and Dysgraphia. Provision is carefully considered for each boy and, where necessary, a bespoke plan of support is established. This may include individual or group lessons, extra assistance in the form room or additional help with prep or study skills.
Although boys may transfer to us with existing diagnoses and assessments carried out during their time at prep school, boys can also be referred to the SEN team at any point in their Harrow careers. Through referral from House Master, division Master, Tutor or parent, we can arrange for boys to be assessed for Dyslexia and other conditions which may impact on learning. The provision of access arrangements for examinations is also co-ordinated by the SEN team.
Parents considering Harrow for a boy who has SEN should discuss those needs with the Registrar before registering, and provide reports from educational psychologists or medical personnel, as appropriate. For more information, contact the Head of SEN.'
Additional teaching for boys for whom English is an additional language is provided by specialist EAL teachers working in the Learning Skills department. In order to cope with Harrow's academic and social demands, pupils must be fairly fluent English speakers. We may therefore recommend that some children whose first language is not English receive individual tuition in English as an Additional Language. Screening occurs at Common Entrance and, when a boy reaches Harrow, in his English lessons and through dedicated EAL tests. For more information, contact the Head of EAL.
English as an Additional Language
In order to cope with Harrow's academic and social demands, pupils must be fairly fluent English speakers. We may recommend that some children whose first language is not English receive individual tuition in English as an Additional Language, which we can offer. Screening occurs at Common Entrance and, when a boy reaches Harrow, in his English lessons and through dedicated EAL tests. For more information, contact the Head of EAL.