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Summer School – FAQs

Who are the Harrow School Short Courses Activities Staff?

Some Harrow School Short Courses staff will be recruited directly from the member School environment, this includes School Alumni (previous students) or even former Harrow School Short Courses students that enjoyed our courses so much in the past, they have now become staff members themselves!

Where relevant, all sporting and other activities are instructed by qualified professional coaches. The Activities Staff supervise and instruct students in sports and other activities and encourage students to learn new skills. They will go on excursions with students and join in the evening social programme. Some staff members are resident and stay in the boarding houses to look after students in the evenings and at night time.

What happens on the day I arrive in the UK?

If you are arriving by plane, our staff meet you at the airport (see below for full details). They take you to the school where your course is taking place. For more information on travel FAQs see here:
What happens when I arrive at the school?

We welcome you and, after registration, we show you to your boarding house. You have time to unpack, to take a shower or rest. We make sure that you have something to eat. We help you to call your parent/guardian to say that you have arrived safely.

Please note that rooms may not be available until mid-afternoon.

What are your ratios of staff to students?

There is a very high ratio of staff to students at Harrow School Short Courses. While onsite our typical ratio of staff to students is just 1:3.

Offsite excursions have a supervision ratio of 1:10 for senior students (aged 12-17) and 1:7 for junior students (aged 9-11).

In lessons, there will be a maximum class size of 12 students, however this averages lower at 10 students per class to leave room for students who may need to move up or down an English level.

When does the English language programme start?

The day after you arrive your English is assessed. You are then placed in a suitable class and your lessons begin.

How are the English tuition classes grouped according to English level and age?

Before coming to Harrow, you will be allocated to a course that is suitable for your age. Students aged 9 to 11 will attend either our 2A or 4A courses, students aged 12 to 14 our 2B, 4B, or 6B courses, and those aged 15 to 17 our 2C, 4C, or 6C courses. Then, on your second day here, you will take a level test so that we can allocate you to a class with students from your course who have a similar English language ability to you. The test includes some listening, writing, and questions on vocabulary and grammar. Your teacher will also ask you some questions so that they can listen to your spoken English.

What happens to my pocket money and travel documents?

Your passport, pocket money and tickets and any other valuables are collected on the day you arrive and looked after by us until you leave. You do not need money for programmed activities but it is a good idea to bring some pocket money to buy any additional snacks and  souvenirs. As a guideline, we suggest £100 per week. Students are asked before excursions if they need to withdraw additional pocket money from our safe.

Our insurance policy covers for loss of cash of up to £250 only.

We strongly recommend that parents purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card for use in the UK. Parents can increase this if extra pocket money is required. Please note we cannot lend money to students under any circumstances.

Can I bring my laptop and expensive camera?

It is best not to bring valuables such as expensive cameras, jewellery or laptops etc as they are not needed during the course.

Please note we cannot issue students with keys to their individual bedrooms for reasons of personal safety but most rooms do have lockable cupboards.

Where do students live and sleep?

In boarding houses at the school. Boys and girls are accommodated in separate areas or Houses. There are members of staff in the House in the evenings and during the night. The House is securely locked at all times and only the Harrow School Short Courses students and members of staff resident in that particular house have access.

The accommodation is standard to UK boarding schools. The Houses have single, twin or triple study bedrooms. We will, where possible, take your rooming requests into consideration but we cannot guarantee to be able to fulfil them. Students studying at the same school will not necessarily stay in the same boarding house, have activities, lessons or excursions together. This is particularly relevant to Harrow Junior and Harrow Senior courses.

What clothes should my child bring and what about laundry?

  • Casual clothes for everyday wear
  • A warm coat (to protect from the rain)
  • Warm jumpers (this is England!)
  • Something to wear at a party
  • Walking shoes
  • One bath towel and one swimming towel
  • Toiletries (shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush etc)
  • Swimwear
  • Sportswear and sports shoes
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if applicable
  • Some activities may include getting very wet and dirty so bring some old clothes and a pair of trainers.

Please refer to student handbook for clothing requirements for specific plus course elements such as drama, tennis and hockey.

What about meals?

You eat most of your meals in the school dining hall. Hot food options, including vegetarian, meat and fish are provided, with salad and fruit as sides. Water is provided with meals and soft drinks machines are available at most schools.

Packed lunches are provided for excursions. Sometimes we pay for you to have a meal in a café or restaurant.

Drinks and biscuits are generally available in the lesson breaks.

What about special diets?

Please tell us at the time of application if you have any special dietary requirements.

What about the safety and welfare of students on the Harrow School Short Courses?

The course staff accompany you at all times. During excursions, the Activities Director may allow students aged 12 or over to go shopping in small groups without the supervision of the course staff, unless the parent or guardian writes to tell us their child cannot do this

Can I use the internet?

Yes. You have regular access to the computer facilities (except at Heathfield School). The Harrow School Short Courses schools’ computers have a filter system to safeguard students from accessing inappropriate internet sites. Some sites also have student Wi-Fi.

Can I follow my normal religious practices while I am on the course?

Yes. Please tell us at the time of application if you want to attend a place of worship and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Can I have visitors during the course?

Yes. They must arrange it with the Harrow School Short Courses Office in advance to make sure that you do not miss important classes or activities.

Can my parent/guardian/friend take me out during the course?

Yes. We must have advance permission in writing from your parent or guardian. The individual picking you up must also show photographic ID when collecting you.

What medical care is there?

All sites have medical backup either in the form of trained first aiders, or on site nurses. You must declare any medical conditions in advance so we can give you the best possible care while you are here.

Can I drop my child off at the airport/St Pancras Eurostar?

No, we would only collect the child arriving on a flight/train with a valid ticket confirming the arrival date and time. We will need the travel form completed and returned.

Can I meet my child at the airport on the day of departure?

Yes, for international flights the child will be dropped off no more than 3 hours before the flight departure time. Domestic/European flight no more than 2 hours before departure fight time. Eurostar no more than 1 hour before departure time. We would suggest if you want to meet your child to come to either the check-in desk or if you are late you will need to go to the departure lounge. Our staff will stay with the student until they are sent through the secure departure gates. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions.

What happens to unclaimed lost property?

Lost property is kept for one month after the summer programme ends. If we find your requested lost item and you wish for us to return it there will be a postage charge. However, any requested lost property which can not be found we will not be held responsible for the cost of the item(s).

If I am arriving by car, where should I come to register?

Harrow School: The Vaughan Library, High Street, Harrow on the Hill, London HA1 3HT

Heathfield School: London Road, Ascot Berkshire SL5 8BQ

Can I request to share a room with a friend?

Yes, we would need a written request (via email) by the parents/guardians of all the students who are wanting to share a room together. Without the written request from the parent/guardians of all students, we cannot try to accommodate this request. Please note, we will do our best to accommodate all requests regarding room shares (provided the students are in the same age grouping) but not all requests can be guaranteed.

How do I make a complaint?

If you have any problems while you attend a Harrow School Short Course please speak to a member of our staff and we will do our best to help you. Our Welfare Officer (the Pastoral Manager) is responsible for making sure all of our students are happy and safe while they are in our care. The Welfare Officer has an office in the Vaughan Library and you are welcome to visit any time from 0800 to 1800.

In an emergency you can call our 24-hour emergency telephone number: +44 (0) 7545 429424.

You can also ask your family to speak to us. They can call the HSEL Office on +44 (0) 208 4264638 or email on

Once you arrive, you can contact the course office for all of your needs on: +44 (0) 208 8728140.

If you have a problem and you don’t want to tell anyone you know, you can call Childline on +44 (0) 800 1111.

If you have reported a problem to our summer staff and you feel we have not responded properly to this, please contact the HSEL Business Director who is responsible for the summer school: Harry Ogden, +44 (0) 208 872 8072. If he cannot resolve matters immediately, he will ask you to put your complaint in writing and will respond to you in writing within 3 working days.

If you still feel that your complaint has not been resolved in a satisfactory manner, please send a written complaint to The Ombudsman, English UK, 219 St John Street London, EC1V 4LY.

How are you dealing with the Coronavirus situation?

Harrow School Short Courses continues to monitor the Coronavirus situation carefully and are taking official advice from:

  • Public Health England (PHE)
  • – the British government website that provides up to date information to the public
  • The British Council – our summer school accreditation body.
  • English UK – a collaboration of accredited UK English language centres and study abroad agents.
  • Harrow School’s Senior Leadership Team and Board of Governors.

 We continue to make plans to operate a full Summer School programme for international students, and will only amend current plans if specifically instructed to do so by one of the official organisations listed above.

With Brexit will students still be able to use ID cards to enter the UK?

Please see the following video regarding travelling to the UK:

For high level information please visit the English UK website for the latest guidance on travelling to the UK for summer courses after Brexit 

We always advise that you check with your local visa office before travelling.