Frequently Asked Questions

1.How strong is the link between Harrow Shanghai and Harrow UK?

The links are very strong and operate on a number of levels. One of the Harrow UK governors sits on the Harrow Shanghai governing body. The Harrow International School Head Masters meet every January at Harrow UK with the Harrow UK Head Master. The Harrow UK Head Master also makes visits as often as he can to the international schools, last visiting Harrow Shanghai in August 2017 and addressing the pupils. Every June, Year 11 pupils from all the Harrow international schools have the opportunity to take part in the Harrow UK Fifth Form Conference, alongside pupils from Harrow UK and John Lyon School. The conference includes trips to Oxford and the West End and a visit to Lords to watch the famous annual Harrow versus Eton cricket match, alongside a series of highly informative workshops and lectures at the school. Plans are also underway for an annual induction for new staff at Harrow UK.

Harrow Shanghai has taken many of its traditions from Harrow UK including the House system, the singing of the school song and its pupils wearing the straw hat, known in Shanghai as the boater, for formal occasions.

There are also very close links between all four Harrow international schools. The Head Masters meet every term, rotating between the four schools. Other Senior staff also meet once a year to share best practice and look at how to strengthen links further. Harrow Shanghai recently hosted the inaugural Harrow Prep Schools’ Conference with over one hundred and thirty pupils coming from the other Harrow international schools to take part.

2. If my child attends Harrow Shanghai and moves to another city with a Harrow school, will they be able to attend that school?

There is no automatic entry to the other Harrow schools as this will be based on availability and eligibility, amongst other factors. However, if parents move to a city with a Harrow school, the vast majority like to try and stay within the Harrow family of schools. Harrow Shanghai already has pupils from all three other international Harrow schools, demonstrating the mobility between the schools.

3.Harrow Shanghai offers a British Curriculum. Will my child still be able to go to College in the US?

A British education is a very good foundation for entry into any university around the world, including the US. At Harrow, pupils study IGCSEs followed by A levels in Year 12 and 13 (known as the Sixth Form).

A levels are recognised by universities all over the world, including those in America, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The US-UK Fulbright Commission publishes a table on their website to help potential applicants average their A level qualifications into a grade point average (GPA). From that table, it can be clearly seen that an A* grade at A level is the equivalent of a 4.0 GPA scale, which is the highest point on the scale. Pupils from other Harrow International Schools and from Harrow UK, who also study A levels, regularly gain places at top universities around the word. Harrow UK now sends around 40% of its pupils to US universities.

4. If my child joins Harrow Shanghai in the Early Years, will he/she be automatically able to progress up the school or will they need to reapply for each section of the school?

Pupils do not need to re-apply and, in the vast majority of cases, they will be able to move from Early Years onto Pre-Prep, Prep and then the Senior School.

5.How can I apply for Harrow Shanghai?

We encourage parents to submit their application online via our website. Supporting documentation (outlined elsewhere in the admissions section) can be submitted by email, by post or in person. Applications will be accepted for up to two years before the child is due to join the school, subject to availability.

6. Is there a cut-off date for applications to Harrow Shanghai for the following academic year?

There is currently no cut-off date, but we recommend applying as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Applications are treated on a first-come, first-served basis, except where there is a sibling priority. We do currently have waiting lists in some year groups. All assessments are done on an individual basis. We do not conduct group assessments as we want to make sure we give your child the individual attention they deserve. We usually start assessments for August entry in the preceding November, carrying on right through to the start of the new school year. We also accept entry into many year groups during the school year, subject to availability. In the case of IGCSEs and A levels, this is more problematic and would depend very much on the individual circumstances.

7. Are we eligible to apply?

According to our licence, Harrow International School Shanghai can only accept families meeting the criteria in one of the four categories listed below.

Type 1. Children of foreign citizen(s)

Type 2. PRC citizen parents – B1 child born overseas, B2 child born in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan

Type 3. Children of Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan residents

Type 4. SHMEC waiver letter holders

*Please note that the identity documents required are subject to the updated policy made by the Shanghai Education Bureau.

Please contact the Harrow Shanghai Admissions Office for the application checklist required for each category. INSERT HYPERLINK to contact.

8. How can I prepare my child for the Harrow Shanghai entrance assessments?

There is no specific preparation. The best advice we can give is to make sure your child has a good night’s sleep and eats a hearty breakfast! In the case of very young children, try not to bring them for assessment when it would normally be close to their sleep time. The dress code is smart casual or the school uniform of your child’s current school..

9. What criteria are most important to the Assessment Team?

We look to admit pupils with the aptitude, ability and personality to thrive in and contribute to a diverse international community. The School’s vision statement Leadership for a Better World strongly influences the key areas of emphasis in the School and, therefore, the factors that are important in our admissions procedures and decision-making are evidence of academic excellence and commitment to a broad range of extra-curricular activities.

10. How does Harrow Shanghai conduct the entrance assessment?

Interviews are always conducted by academic staff, very often the Head of section in each part of the school. For an Early Years applicant, the assessment will take the form of age-appropriate activities which will give us a strong indication of your child’s ability level and there will also be an informal chat with the parents.

For Year 1 and Year 2 prospective pupils, the assessment will take the form of an interview and informal assessment with a series of age-appropriate literacy and numeracy tasks.

For Year 3 and above (up to Year 10/11), the assessment consists of an interview, online tests in English, Maths and Non-verbal Reasoning, in addition to a writing task.

For Sixth Form (Year 12/13) entry, assessments are subject specific in the A level subjects that pupils wish to study. For pupils applying from Year 11 at another school, these assessments are similar to higher level IGCSE material. For pupils applying for mid-course entry in Year 12 or Year 13, the assessments will be based on material being covered by our current A level classes. Further details will be given during the application process.

11. After the assessment, when will I be informed of the result?

We will inform parents of the assessment result within one week and very often less than that. We appreciate that parents are anxious to hear results as soon as possible.

12. What makes Harrow special?

The best way to get a sense of what makes Harrow special is to attend one of our Open Days which we hold at least once a month in term-time throughout the year.

The development of leadership qualities has been a core element in a Harrovian education for a very long time. All of the Harrow International Schools embrace the spirit of Harrow School in the UK and guide their pupils to our vision of Leadership for a Better World. It is the aspiration of all the Harrow International Schools to prepare future leaders of the stature of the greatest Old Harrovians, men such as Sir Winston Churchill, one of six British prime ministers educated at the school, Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru of India and King Hussein of Jordan.

Developing leadership qualities is central to everything pupils do at Harrow Shanghai. Leadership involves having the motivation, the skills and the determination to make a genuine difference. At Harrow Shanghai we aim to promote leadership in a variety of ways: leading from the front, being an effective team player, and developing personally as an effective role model, while focusing on six key leadership attributes.

Pupils are expected to be fully involved in school life and to achieve their best in academic studies, extra-curricular activities (the Leadership and Service programme) and House events. The House is central to life at the school. The Houses at Harrow Shanghai are named after famous alumni from Harrow School in the UK: Byron, Churchill, Rothschild and Shaftesbury. Harrow Shanghai has embraced many of the traditions from Harrow UK. Pupils regularly sing the Harrow school song, Forty Years On, and it’s even been translated into Chinese! The school has also adopted some Harrow terminology such as naming the swimming pool ‘The Ducker’. Pupils also wear the straw hat, known here as a boater. Great emphasis is placed on pastoral care. We are a happy, caring school.

Although only two years old, Harrow Shanghai pupils have already taken part in many memorable events, including a Senior School trip to Yale to debate at the World Scholar’s Cup, ski trips to Austria and Italy, a fantastic afternoon meeting Old Harrovian, singer-songwriter James Blunt, a visit from former England cricket captain Mike Gatting, workshops with renowned poet Professor Simon Armitage, a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, hosting the very first Harrow Prep Schools’ conference and, most recently, a formal royal opening!

13. Which countries do Harrow teachers come from? What are their academic background and qualification?

Most of our teachers come from the UK, although we also have some excellent teachers from other native English-speaking countries. All our teachers are fully-qualified and, because Harrow is such a famous name in British education, we are able to attract exceptionally good teaching staff. Our teachers’ qualifications are all outlined on the website staff section. We draw some of our teachers directly from the UK and some from other international schools around the world. We also draw a number of our teachers from the UK independent sector.

14. Do you offer a school bus services to and from school?

Harrow Shanghai draws its pupils from all over Shanghai. While we are located in Pudong, many of our pupils travel from Puxi. Our school buses provide routes from many residential areas in Shanghai. The bus service is operated by Peixing, a well-known and reputable company that provides transportation for many international schools in Shanghai. The service is a safe, reliable way for your children to travel to school. All buses have one escort on-board to look after your children. Most of these bus monitors are our teaching assistants.

Parents of Early Years pupils are required to provide car seats for their children if they would like to use the school bus service. Our current bus routes are listed in the services section of the website. These routes change each term as we accommodate new parents who request new pick-up/ drop-off points. We try as far as we can to accommodate these requests.

15. What is the school’s homework policy?

Homework is an integral part of school life and helps children to understand that learning also takes place outside of school. Homework is relevant to class work and teachers give what they believe the children can handle comfortably and independently. The amount of homework is age-appropriate and in keeping with homework guidelines in the UK.

Parents are not expected to help children with their homework. However, parents of younger pupils are encouraged to read with their child as it forms an integral part of their child’s language development.

16. How can parents help with their child’ s learning, especially for Early Years and Pre-Prep?

Parental support is always very important for a child’s learning and parents are encouraged to provide a home environment which encourages their child to use both English and their native language(s).

Parents are also encouraged to maintain close contact with their children’s teachers as well as attend any workshops run by the school, as this will enable them to understand their children’s learning better.

17. How does the school communicate with the parents?

At Harrow, we view effective communication with parents as an integral partnership to help support their children’s development. There are many different channels for parents to communicate with the school. The school sends out the On The Hill newsletter every Friday, with an overview of what has happened during the week and informing parents of key upcoming events. Teachers also send class notes via emails and WeChat as needed. Parents are also able to contact their children’s teachers by email, WeChat group, or over the phone through the School Office. Various meetings are also arranged during the course of the year such as coffee mornings and parent-teacher consultations. In Early Years and Pre-Prep, Firefly, the parent portal, is also used to keep parents up-to-date with many aspects of school life.

18. How many pupils and teachers are there in one class?

For Early Years, there are three adults in one class, one class teacher, one teaching assistant and one nanny. For Pre-Nursery and Nursery classes, the maximum class size is 16. For Reception classes, it’s 18.

For Pre-Prep, there are two adults in one class, one class teacher and one teaching assistant. The maximum class size is 22, but where possible we keep many of our classes at a significantly lower number.

For the Prep School, the maximum class size is again 20, but most classes are significantly smaller, while for the Senior School, especially for optional subjects, class sizes are generally much smaller.

19. When does the school start and finish every day?

Registration is between 8.00am to 8.15am. From Monday to Thursday Pre-Nursery finish at 2:30pm, Nursery and Reception finish at 4:00pm, Pre-Prep, Prep and the Senior School finish at 4:15pm. Everybody finishes at 3.30pm on Fridays.