Frequently Asked Questions
Harrow School Online staff answers Frequently Asked Questions about the School, our programme and how to apply.
- About Harrow School Online
- Our Programme
- Teaching and Learning
- Examinations and University
- Regulation and Governance
- Admissions and How to Apply
- Fees and Finance
Harrow School Online is a new kind of school founded on the educational philosophy, practices and traditions of Harrow School, and delivered by Pearson to pupils all over the world through an online platform.
It is a full-time, coeducational school which prepares pupils in the Sixth Form (aged 16 - 18) for international A level examinations, application to university and employment. Combining rigorous academic study (closely guided by specially trained teachers and tutors versed in the British educational system) with co-curricular enrichment, Harrow School Online offers the flexibility of modern ‘anywhere, anytime’ learning.
It has been developed through a collaboration between Harrow School (via its trading subsidiary, Harrow School Enterprises) and Pearson, whose mission is to help people make progress in their lives through learning. Over time, the school plans to expand its provision to include younger age groups.
Harrow School is a full-boarding school in the UK for boys aged 13-18. It was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I. In 2019 at A level, approximately one third of grades achieved an A*, while 49% of Pre-U results were D1 or D2 (the highest possible grades). Last year’s leavers will be taking up places at seven of the world’s top 10 universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and Harvard, with boys also taking up places at six of the eight Ivy League schools including Yale, Princeton and Columbia.
Famous alumni (Old Harrovians) include statesmen such as former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and King Hussein of Jordan; scientists such as Lord Rayleigh, the physicist and Nobel prize-winner, and Fox Talbot, an early pioneer of photography; writers including the poet Lord Byron, the novelist Anthony Trollope and the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan; and 19 winners of the Victoria Cross, the highest award available to the armed forces for bravery in action with the enemy.
More recently, many pupils have gone on to distinguished careers in business, the law, medicine, the armed forces, the arts and the media. These include the actor Benedict Cumberbatch CBE, the musician James Blunt and the film director Richard Curtis CBE; the astronaut Dr Nicholas Patrick and the nature documentary producer Alastair Fothergill; the rugby player Maro Itoje, and cricketers Gary Ballance and Nick Compton; Lord Butler, former Head of the UK’s Civil Service, and Lord Guthrie of Cragiebank, former British Army chief; and Julian Metcalfe OBE, founder of food retailers including Pret, and record producer Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.
For more information, visit harrowschool.org.uk.
Pearson has expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. In particular, Pearson has a wealth of experience in delivering online schooling: most notably through the Connections Academy venture in the United States, and internationally through Pearson Online Academy.
As the world’s learning company, Pearson’s mission is to help people make progress in their lives through learning.
For more information, visit pearson.com.
- What subjects can I study at Harrow School Online?
- What co-curricular activities can I do at Harrow School Online?
- What are International A Levels?
- How do individual A Level and part-time enrolment work?
- Who will be my teachers at Harrow School Online?
- How are science practicals taught at Harrow School Online?
Currently, Harrow School Online offers Pearson Edexcel International AS and A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Spanish and Economics for our full-time Sixth Form programme.
Learn more about our Academic Programme here.
Beyond their core academic work, Online Harrovians in our full-time Sixth Form programme engage in activities that develop their leadership skills, perfect their English communication, build their relationships, and allow them to serve their global and local communities.
The co-curriculum encompasses sports, the arts, community service and academic enrichment. The activities offered include a chess club, debating society and a pupil newspaper – all of which take place online - as well as individually scheduled, offline sport and charitable pursuits. By engaging in this programme, Online Harrovians work towards the completion of a co-curricular award. This encourages them to look beyond the classroom and supports their all-round education.
Harrow School Online prepares Online Harrovians for Pearson Edexcel International A Level qualifications, which are widely recognised by universities in the UK and worldwide, just like A levels. The International A Level qualification allows us to welcome pupils from across the globe, helping Harrow School Online pupils build their international networks and develop cultural awareness.
The International A Levels are comparable to UK A levels, as confirmed by The National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom, the national agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide.
The main difference between A levels and International A Levels is that subjects are taught in modules, with examinations at the end of each module, rather than waiting until the end of two years. This means that pupils have more exam practice, and receive formal feedback earlier on in their studies, so they understand the standard required to reach the final level of achievement they are aiming for.
In addition, with International A Levels, practical skills in science are tested by an exam rather than laboratory work. This means that pupils who do not have access to a laboratory can still achieve top marks in their science A levels.
In addition to its full-time Sixth Form programme, Harrow School Online offers individual International A Level subjects for pupils wishing to experience high-quality online schooling on a part-time basis.
Pupils who are enrolled in a full-time school elsewhere may participate in Harrow School Online’s individual courses in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish or Economics, or choose the special intensive combination of Maths-Further Maths. Each of these courses is designed to prepare pupils for success in the Pearson Edexcel International A Level exam.
For details about attending Harrow School Online part-time through individual International A Level courses, see the Individual Course Experience.
To learn how to apply for admission to study individual International A Level subjects, please see Application Process.
The teachers at Harrow School Online have Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) and are versed in the British curriculum. Harrow School Online uses the same rigorous guidelines for recruiting teachers as for recruiting teachers for Harrow School and senior academic staff at Harrow School are involved in the recruitment process. All Harrow School Online teachers have part of their induction programme provided by Harrow School and share in some of the ongoing professional development opportunities available to teachers at Harrow School in the UK, to ensure a high quality of teaching.
The Edexcel International A Level does not contain an examined practical element; the science experiments that form part of the course can be covered theoretically and are tested by exam rather than by lab practicals. We teach practical skills through a range of virtual lab experiences and interactive videos which were filmed at Harrow School (see here for an example), allowing Online Harrovians to understand these experiments. Pupils are also invited to summer camps at Harrow School, where they can use the physical labs onsite.
- What does a typical day at Harrow School Online look like?
- How long does each lesson last?
- For one subject, how many classes are there per week?
- How many hours each week would an Online Harrovian attend Harrow School Online?
- Is it possible to fit two years of study at Harrow School Online into one year?
- How do the live lessons work in different time zones?
- Are all the classes interactive or are they lecture-style?
- Can my child attend a taster lesson before applying?
- What learning resources are available to Online Harrovians?
- Does Harrow School Online supply textbooks?
- How do teachers monitor the academic progress of Online Harrovians?
- How do parents of Online Harrovians keep up to date with their children’s learning progress?
- What are the benefits of online learning?
Every school day (Monday-Friday), Online Harrovians work from their homes to take part in a mixture of:
· live online lessons alongside a teacher and other pupils;
· video masterclass segments;
· 1:1 meetings with their teachers;
· House meetings; and
· online tutorials, which they can do at their leisure.
Below is a sample timetable for a pupil studying on our full-time demonstrating their fixed commitments (e.g. without showing homework, self-study or office hour sessions):
Each lesson is 45-minutes long, which adds up to 5 ¼ hours per A level per week. In addition, Online Harrovians have homework, tutorials and extracurricular activities.
Online Harrovians on our full-time programme are therefore expected to devote at least 30 hours per week to their Harrow School Online activities.
We offer live lessons and teacher office hours both in the morning, and in the afternoon, UK time. The scheduling of synchronous live lessons is based, as much as possible, on the preferences submitted on your application form during the enrolment process.
We encourage Online Harrovians from different countries to study together in the same classes, to maximise the opportunities for learning and interacting in a diverse, international environment.
Just like an offline classroom, an online classroom can take many forms, depending on the needs of the lesson. Our class sizes are typically in the range of 6-8 pupils per class, and rarely more than 10 pupils per class.
Harrow School Online’s platform allows for a high degree of interactivity, using voice, chat, polling and other functionality. Online Harrovians can be split into groups and pairs on the platform - whatever is appropriate to the lesson.
Yes. Harrow School Online regularly runs taster lessons throughout the year and we warmly invite prospective pupils who are considering joining the school to attend.
Taster lessons are a good opportunity to meet the teachers and get a feel for what it is like to study their chosen subject at A level. The lesson is pitched at a level that is suitable for year 11 students (in the UK system) or grade 10 students (in the US system) who are interested in going on to take the subject at A level.
Click here to learn more, view our upcoming lesson dates and to register for the sessions.
The self-study courses on the Harrow School Online platform are an incredible resource and the mainstay of an Online Harrovian’s learning experience. They include interactive coursebooks, with self-paced content, video tutorials and regular learning checks. Online Harrovians are also issued digital Pearson textbooks for each of the subjects that they take at International A Level, to be used as a supplementary resource for their studies.
As Online Harrovians work through their self-study lessons, their teachers monitor their progress and remain in frequent contact, either to accelerate their learning or to remediate difficulties. A wealth of data is collected as pupils complete exercises and engage with the courseware, giving their teachers a real insight into their learning. Harrow School Online teachers also conduct regular synchronous sessions, in which pupils gather online in real-time for targeted instruction. These lessons are a chance for teachers to test their pupils’ understanding of the self-study material and to bridge any gaps. In addition, Online Harrovians have fortnightly individual tutorials with an academic tutor, to discuss their overall academic progress, and to set and monitor goals.
At Harrow School Online, the parents of Online Harrovians play a key role and there is frequent interaction between them and their children’s teachers. All parents of Online Harrovians have their own read-only access to the Harrow School Online platform, allowing them to monitor their children’s progress in real time. Parents can see how much time their children are spending on each course, as well as their progression through the learning materials. Formal parents’ meetings also enable parents to discuss their children’s progress with their teachers.
An online school of high calibre that delivers the British curriculum performs highly in these two important areas: the quality of education and university and career prospects. Our online schooling programme has a number of other unique benefits such as:
Individualisation: Pupils follow an individual learning pathway, working through self-study materials at a pace that suits them and studying in small classes with lessons carefully tailored to their needs. Every student is seen and heard, and no one is left behind.
Participation: In the self-study aspect of our courses, there are more opportunities for pupils to participate and respond to content than in a traditional face-to-face environment, and more time to reflect on topics and give deeper thought to responses.
Global networks: Pupils work alongside peers from across the globe, broadening their understanding of different cultures and building an international network of friends.
Visibility for parents: Parents have unprecedented visibility into their children’s education, with real time access to their performance in their studies.
Flexibility: Online courses allow pupils to build their own unique schedules, teaching them how to balance study and work with other commitments.
The promotion of self-discipline: Harrow School Online supports students to become better independent learners and to develop strong self-discipline skills, which is invaluable preparation for university.
Accessibility: Online learning provides the opportunity for self-paced study away from the distractions of the physical classroom, providing an environment in which a broad range of students can thrive.
We know that engagement with teachers is essential for success. Expert online teachers have additional skills: coaching and motivating pupils, analysing pupil progress data and using it to tailor their teaching, communicating with resonance in an online environment. At Harrow School Online we recruit teachers not just for their academic and pedagogical credentials, but also with these skills in mind.
- How are Online Harrovians assessed?
- Where do I take my examinations?
- Are mock examinations done at home?
- How will Harrow School Online prepare Online Harrovians for university and employment?
- Is Harrow School Online a registered UCAS Centre?
- What are the academic expectations for Online Harrovians?
- Will applications from Online Harrovians be considered by international universities?
- What support do you provide to pupils in preparing for competitive applications to universities such as Oxford and Cambridge?
In May/June of Year 12 and Year 13, pupils must sit exams in an approved Pearson Edexcel test centre to receive their qualification. In the Spring Term, the School will assist pupils in locating a centre that is convenient for them and register them as Harrow School Online candidates.
We invite pupils based in the UK - or those that wish to travel to the UK - to take their examinations at Harrow School in London.
Internationally, Harrow School Online has a partnership with the British Council enabling many of our pupils outside of the UK to take their Pearson Edexcel International AS and A Level examinations in British Council exam centres.
Please contact our Admissions team for more information about registering for examinations.
Harrow School Online prepares Online Harrovians for Pearson Edexcel International A Level qualifications, which are recognised and accepted by universities worldwide. From their first day at Harrow School Online, Online Harrovians are also coached and counseled by school staff on university selection and career planning. This critical role is predominantly fulfilled by each pupil's Success Coach, who helps develop academic, personal and social skills through fortnightly one-to-one coaching sessions and small group workshops. In addition to the International A Level examinations, Online Harrovians may wish to sit the College Board Advanced Placement and/or SAT and ACT examinations. Each pupil's schedule will include support for college and test preparation from House Masters, House Tutors and online resources.
Harrow School Online aims to ensure that all Online Harrovians perform to their full potential in their International A Level examinations, so that they gain admission to top international universities and go on to thrive in their careers. On the understanding that success is driven by high expectations, Harrow School Online seeks to match the success of Online Harrovians with the performance of pupils at Harrow School. In 2019, Harrow School’s leavers took up places at seven of the world’s top 10 universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and Harvard, with boys also taking up places at six of the eight Ivy League schools including Yale, Princeton and Columbia.
Harrow School Online runs exam-preparation courses for common Oxbridge Admissions tests such as STEP, MAT, PAT and NSAA as part of our elective programme. Pupils are supported more generally through our success coaching programme, for example, in choosing appropriate courses, developing interests outside of the classroom and crafting personal statements.
We also partner with a trusted provider of SAT preparation for pupils looking to apply to US universities.
- How is Harrow School Online governed and managed?
- Is Harrow School Online legally allowed to operate in every country around the world?
- How is Harrow School Online assessed by external regulators and inspectors?
Harrow School Online has a Board of six members: three from Harrow School (the Head Master, the Bursar and a Governor) and three from Pearson. Other senior members of staff at Harrow School provide oversight of teacher recruitment, induction and training, and the design of Harrow School Online lessons. See here for more information about ownership of Harrow School Online.
- Is Harrow School Online for me?
- What is the application process for Harrow School Online?
- What are Harrow School Online’s term dates?
- How academic do I have to be to apply to Harrow School Online?
- What level of English proficiency is required?
- Are there age restrictions for applicants?
- Can I apply mid-A levels or start mid-term/year?
- Are you able to accommodate applicants with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)?
- Can I speak to a current pupil before applying?
- How do I access the application form?
- What documents are needed to apply?
Harrow School Online is for ambitious young people around the world aged 16 - 18 who are looking for a prestigious, high-quality British education that can fit around their lifestyle.
All Online Harrovians need to be self-disciplined so that they can take charge of their daily schedules, complete all required assignments and prepare appropriately for class projects and examinations.
Stage 1: Application Form
Fill in the form with a written personal statement.
If English is not the candidate’s first language, submit proof of English proficiency level.
Stage 2: Register for an assessment window
Assessment includes an entrance test in each subject applied for, and an academic interview with a Head of Department from the School.
The dates of the next assessment window can be found here.
Stage 3: Interview with the Principal
Harrow School Online operates on the British academic year, with classes beginning in September.
Terms run from September to mid-December, January to early April, and late April to June. Pupils enroled on our full-time programme are expected to devote at least 30 hours per week to their Harrow School Online activities, including flexible access to all of their course studies and scheduled timings for live sessions with teachers, tutors and peers.
Term dates for the Academic Year 2021/22 can be found here.
Harrow School Online has an uncompromising focus on academic performance. The grades expected of applicants are similar to those expected of applicants to Harrow School’s Sixth Form. To be admitted to Harrow School Online, pupils must demonstrate:
Academic potential: Predicted grades of 7-8-9 or A-A* in seven to eight GCSE or International GCSE subjects (or equivalent). Applicants will be required to take subject-specific entrance tests if they have not yet received a grade in the subject(s) they are looking to study at A Level.
English proficiency: B2 on the CEFR (see below for more detail).
Suitability for online study: Online education requires a degree of self-motivation and self-management.
A good behavioural record and the potential for leadership.
To fully benefit from Harrow School Online, applicants who are not native speakers of English have to demonstrate a level of competence that will enable them to succeed in their studies. We accept the following English language tests at the specified grades:
· PTE Academic: overall score 58
· IELTS: Band 6.5
· TOEFL (IBT): 86
Candidates who have not been able to sit an English language test prior to making an application may request to sit our in-house English test. Read more information.
We expect most applicants to be 16 years old by the time they start at Harrow School Online. However, applications from younger applicants who are particularly gifted and meet Harrow School Online’s entrance requirements will be considered. The upper age limit is 17 years old upon entry to the school for pupils on our full-time programme.
Harrow School Online ordinarily admits pupils into year 12 to start their academic year in September.
However, there are two current exceptions to this:
- Enrolment onto our Standalone Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) Programme for which we admit pupils at the start of the Spring Term (January).
- Very occasionally late applicants may be considered to join part-way through the A level programmes. This will depend on those applicants having previously studied the majority of the material that has been missed, and the subject teacher/s concerned being satisfied that the pupil will be able to catch up on any material which they have not previously studied.
Harrow School Online is exploring the possibility of a broader January window so please do register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if this would be relevant to you.
By its nature, online schooling can provide a welcoming environment for pupils with SEND, as pupils study from the comfort of their own home with fewer distractions than a traditional classroom. All pupils who meet the admissions criteria, including those who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other special educational needs and disabilities are warmly welcomed. Harrow School Online recognises its duty to make reasonable adjustments for those pupils who have SEND or additional learning needs, and is committed to understanding and meeting those needs during their time at Harrow School Online.
If you would like to speak to the school about a particular SEND requirement prior to applying, please contact the admissions department who will be happy to arrange a conversation with our Head of SEND.
- What are the fees for my programme?
- When is payment of the tuition fees due?
- How much is the entry deposit?
- How do I pay the fees?
- Can I pay all the tuition fees for a full year in advance?
- Does the tuition fee include the entrance costs for my examinations?
- My child is currently enroled in the school. Will the fees increase during my child's time at the school?
- Are there any additional fees?
- Do you offer sibling discounts?
- Do you offer scholarships?
- Do you offer bursaries?
- If I were to start at Harrow School Online but then not enjoy it, would I get a full refund?
- How often does the School issue invoices?
For pupils currently studying at the School, the fees for the next academic year will be directly communicated to all parents via the Fees Letter, and also made available on the School's website, during the Summer term. Any change from the current year is expected to be in line with the prevailing UK inflation rate.
If you are a current parent or mentor and are unsure of the fee schedule for your child's study, please contact the Admissions Department: email@example.com.
Details of our programme fees for new and prospective pupils can be found here.
Tuition fees do not cover:
Individual music lessons;
The Summer Course;
The ACT or SAT Preparation courses;
The examination fees for the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment's professional Qualification in Stockbroking; although attending the Elective Course which prepares pupils for this exam is included in the fees for our Full-Time Programme and Enrichment Programme.
Prospective pupils demonstrating outstanding potential may be considered for a scholarship. Up to 10% of Online Harrovians will be offered an Academic Scholarship each year of up to 25% of the annual tuition fee. These individuals will be selected at the end of each admissions window of the incoming year, based on their application form and their relative performance against their cohort during the admissions process.
Scholarships are awarded primarily on academic merit, however we also reserve a limited number of exhibition awards for high-achieving pupils in sports, music or the arts.
Pupils may apply for both a talent exhibition and the academic scholarship but please note that the School will not grant multiple awards to the same pupil.
Bursaries are means-tested and available to pupils based in the UK only. Our bursaries may be worth up to 100% of tuition fees. Pupils must first gain a place at the school through academic merit. We work with a charity to place the right pupils.
For more information, please contact the Admissions team on +44 20 3024 4861 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our application form allows parents/guardians to indicate whether they wish to pay the school fees on an annual or termly basis.
Invoices will be issued approximately 30 days prior to the start of the school year.
Invoices will be issued approximately 30 days prior to the start of each school term.