Harrow school - lifestyle

(33 Posts)
nokissymum Wed 18-May-11 12:48:37

Ds in in yr 5, we are very keen for him to go to harrow, however whenever we mention it people say " hmmmmm.....but there's a whole load of baggage with that!"

Infact I've heard it so much now we are sick of it. I am assuming they are referring to the cost of extracurricular activities, equipments and such.

I would be very keen to hear from if there MNERS here with dc at Harrow who could give us some more insight into the lifestyle that everyone is talking about. Thank you.

pointissima Wed 18-May-11 12:57:25

It's on our list too: never heard the baggage comment

nokissymum Wed 18-May-11 13:01:22

Well you are very lucky! Even the head of one of the prep schools we visited said we should think "carefully" about it. It's just getting annoying now, can i ask where's your ds currently ?

notcitrus Wed 18-May-11 14:11:46

Old Harrovians do have a very distinctive exceptionally-posh accent and I've met a number whose sheltered outlook and level of privilege makes Etonians look dead common. Suspect that might be what they're getting at.

I have no idea about the education or how well less-well-off kids might fit in nowadays.

happygardening Wed 18-May-11 14:35:34

Hi I don't know much about it but lots of the children from my DS prep school go there and with one exception everyone is very happy there they're often heard singing its praises. No baggage comments. I've also never heard our head critisise it. The child who was unhappy left after one term had a reputation for being trouble and lazy. He easily achieved the the CE pass mark but I think struggled and has now gone to a school with a high % of children who have mild to moderate dyslexia.
Hope this helps.

nokissymum Wed 18-May-11 15:49:26

happy gardening pls which prep does you ds go to ?

pointissima Wed 18-May-11 18:37:53

Mine's at Summer Fields at the moment.

There are so few all boys boarding schools left and Eton is so hard to get into that I'd have to be pretty convinced that there's a real problem before I struck it off the list

Timetowaste Wed 18-May-11 18:49:52

I have experienced similar comments nokissymum - was having a conversation with other parents the other day and was discussing Winchester/Eton/Harrow and everyone was "not Harrow", with no reasons forthcoming, just not for them type comments.

I had friends with brothers who went to Harrow, and they were great kids, and now fantastic adults.

So intrigued to know what the problem is.

pointissima Wed 18-May-11 18:57:57

With any luck all this will make it a bit easier to get in!

nokissymum Wed 18-May-11 19:26:35

I went with dh to a Harrow opening day and was totally blown away! The head was lovely, the boys were really well mannered and passionate about their school I really couldnt fault anything.

I went from completely anti boarding to "only if it's Harrow" smile, but keep getting these strange remarks, which are all unhelpful as no one is specific, all I have gleaned so far is it comes with "baggage" and a "certain lifestyle"

Someone remarked only yesterday that we better make sure we can afford all extra curriculars as once ds is there you can't say "you can do this activity but not that one," as this apparently "doesn't work".

pointy you are so right. Someone also suggested Bedford boys as being very similar to Harrow but without the name, was told Winchester is for "quirky boys" confused

propatria Tue 24-May-11 12:56:18

Had a chat with someone who has two boys at Harrow,they said the extra curric costs were no more than at any other school.
Could this baggage be something as simple as the little green eyed monster,what schools are the children aiming for that have parents talking about baggage?,it could be that they simply cant get into Harrow be that for monetary or intellectual reasons,take no notice of them
Youve been to Harrow youve met the products,go with your instinct not tittle tattle.
Good luck.

grovel Tue 24-May-11 14:13:40

You must know the old stereotype. An Etonian, A Wykhamist and a Harrovian are watching a cricket match. A woman comes to talk to them. The Etonian offers her a chair, the Wykhamist goes to get one for her and the Harrovian sits in it.

Colleger Wed 25-May-11 10:06:11

The old Harrovian's I know are rude, arrogant $#*¥ but with few great options I would still send DS there if he didn't get into Eton. I think the staff are amazing and the social network is very tight so an old Harrovian will look after boys just leaving. There are aspects of Harrow that I prefer to Eton but there is no getting away from the ghastly location. Although not as academically selective it is more over subscribed than Eton.

I suspect you would get a similar reaction if you were looking at Eton!

qumquat Sat 04-Jun-11 16:16:22

While working at a university with quite a few old Harrovians I have to say I found them particularly arrogant when compared to other ex-public schoolers, but I gues that belief you can conquer the world is part of what you pay for. Hopefully a few years on they'd realised they weren't all that!

carltonscroop Sun 05-Jun-11 22:08:04

Well, I started a thread about looking at Eton, and there's another one going that compares the two.

I'm not going to apply to Harrow for DS. Despite liking the school more than I'd expected, I just can't get past how peculiar I've found all Harrovians I've known. This is of course largely amongst men my age, so could easily be out of date, and is totally subjective.

But there are so many good schools, it seems pointless to move towards one if it feels wrong (even for a flimsy reason).

Colleger Sun 05-Jun-11 22:31:56

FWIW every Harrovian my OH knows is very sllippery and devious. The Etonians are charming, discrete and very hard-working and the Wykehamists are the same but a bit wet!

Rocky12 Mon 06-Jun-11 18:08:02

My DS has tons of friends who go to Harrow although he is somewhere else (even better IMHO!) I have listed the in's and outs in my view and I hope they are useful:

1. You have to be accepting of FULL boarding, no coming home at weekends
2. You have to like the uniform. It is very quirky
3. You are on the outskirts of London. The boys grow up very quickly, far more so I believe that some schools in the countryside
4. There are people your son will rub shoulders with who have pots and pots of money
5. It is a very macho male environment
6. There will be some very very clever boys there (often Asian) who have been tutored to death and are often lacking in social skills
7. It is a bugger to get to and is spread on all over Harrow On the Hill

iamamum Wed 08-Aug-12 23:34:29

We are at the pre testing stage only, so limited contact really. Two visits have convinced me that full boarding would be quite ok. I like that it is close to London for convenience, yet still has a village atmosphere. Staff we have had significant chats with seemed outstandingly bright yet very capable of offering good pastoral care. Their speciality is boys after all!

reshetima Fri 10-Aug-12 18:03:16

I don't know the school, but this reminded me of a very touching documentary about a scholarship which places bright children at the school. It certainly gives some insight into the school's atmosphere.

I think this is the one I'm remembering: www.channel4.com/programmes/too-poor-for-posh-school/4od/. You might be able to find it on YouTube.

Peppin Sat 11-Aug-12 05:53:27

I don't know anyone currently with lid at Harrow but have a good friend who is an old Harrovian and although you can tell he went to public school, he absolutely is not "posh" and is one of the nicest and most unassuming people you could ever meet. He enjoyed Harrow but always refers to it as "a school for thickos". Could that be what people mean by "baggage"? As my friend is now a Consultant (doctor), I'm not sure how "thick" you could really say he is (!) but perhaps this is something along lines of "didn't make it to Eton so went to Harrow"?

Peppin Sat 11-Aug-12 05:54:52

Sorry, obviously meant "kid at Harrow"

happygardening Sat 11-Aug-12 12:24:27

Harrow is often seen as the fall back for those who don't make it into Eton but as I understand there are more applicants for each place at Harrow than Eton getting a place having been turned down by Eton is not a given. Friends DS's who did it were strongly advised not to mention Eton at any stage in the admissions process!!!!

Elibean Sun 12-Aug-12 18:07:26

I met a Y7 (about to be) Harrow boy this summer - son of a friend - he is bright, quirky, not particularly macho, moderately sporty, and very funny. No idea if he's the norm, but his parents seemed happy with what lies ahead (even though their other son, who is older, didn't choose Harrow).

ontheedgeofwhatever Tue 14-Aug-12 16:04:33

I've just come across this thread.

Oddly enough I joked to my dad yesterday that DS would go to either Harrow or Eton (no such hope given the fees grin ) and he immediately said "please God not Harrow". when I asked him why he said that it was because when he was at prep it was known as the school for not very bright boys who struggled - that was in the 1950s!

Interesting to find this and see little appears to have changed

happygardening Tue 14-Aug-12 16:38:19

I'm not a lover of Harrow but as far as I can see its results in the last few years don't indicate it's a school for the not very bright who struggle.

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