Pre-Prep School (Years 1 to 5)

The Pre-Prep Phase at Harrow International School Hong Kong spans from Years 1 to 5. 

The Pre-Prep teachers have designed a unique, challenging, yet supportive curriculum based on four strong pillars:

  • Elements of educational philosophy and practice from Harrow School in London
  • Key skills as set out in the National Curriculum of England (2014)
  • A curriculum to adequately prepare pupils for the next phase of their education in an all through school
  • Our unique position in Hong Kong and within Asia.

Broadly speaking, the year is divided into six half-termly ‘Themes’ that drive the focus of the curriculum. The class teacher teaches a vast majority of the curriculum. English and Mathematics are taught both as discrete subjects and as linked units to the half-termly Theme work.

Teachers ensure their teaching is exciting and engaging, using creative “Hooks to Learning” for themes which have included:  Trips to a container ship, a visit to school from Rainforest animals, an African Drumming workshop, a Chinese Shadow Puppet theatre company, marmalade footprints left by Paddington Bear and the discovery of a giant dinosaur egg in the playground.

Each class in the Pre-Prep School receives specialist teaching in Music, Swimming, Chinese and a further language option of additional Chinese, French or Spanish. Opportunities for the additional language option should be discussed before the child starts at the School.


Prep (homework) in the Pre-Prep School provides opportunities to consolidate learning and prepare for future academic challenges. It is assessed in both formative and summative ways and includes:

  • Consolidation of learning in English, Mathematics, Theme and Languages.
  • Research prior to the start of a theme or to find out more about a current theme.
  • Theme-related projects.
  • Working towards project presentations.

Each child in Pre-Prep School has a Prep book that contains sections for English, Mathematics, Theme and Chinese.

Prep is handed out on a Monday and is due in the following Monday. Each week, pupils are given:

  • One piece of English
  • One piece of Mathematics
  • One piece of Theme
  • One piece of Chinese

Expectations of time spent on Prep

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
5-10 minutes for each activity 10-15 minutes for each activity

15-20 minutes for each activity

15-20 minutes for each activity 20-25 minutes for each activity

In all Pre-Prep year groups, weekly spellings and times tables are given for pupils to practice and learn. This does not constitute a piece of English or Mathematics Prep, but a standing requirement of pupils.

Daily reading is expected. Younger children take home short picture books and change them on a regular basis. Older children take home chapter books and change them on a less frequent basis. Parents are requested to regularly listen to their children read or to read to them, as this greatly helps with their learning and is an important bonding time for families.

Project Work
At times, year groups may wish to ask pupils to carry out more in depth project work that requires more than the allotted time for any one of the Prep tasks. In this case, an explanation is sent with the Prep stating that the usual pattern of Prep is amended for the week in order that children can divert time to the project. However, standing items (spellings, reading and times tables) should not be interrupted.


The Pre-Prep day is a full programme from Monday to Friday. It begins at 8.15am and finishes at 3.30pm. The day is interspersed with regular breaks and opportunities for pupils to interact and socialise.

Lunch is provided at School and the pupils sit in class tables under the supervision of staff. There is also a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. Drinking water is readily available throughout the School and children are actively encouraged to stay hydrated.

Learning Environment

The purpose-built Pre-Prep School hosts a variety of age-appropriate facilities that support the curriculum in all manner of ways. Each classroom has its own interactive whiteboard and mini-suite of computers. The rooms are well furnished with educational resources that support the delivery of the curriculum. Year 1 classrooms have access to an outdoor terrace to support the transition from Early Years with a variety of opportunities for exploratory play.

There is a dedicated Pre-Prep IT suite, a Music room and an Art room. In addition to this, each Pre-Prep floor boasts a generous ‘shared area’, which allows entire year groups to collaborate and work in a variety of challenging ways. The design and layout of the shared areas changes with the Theme each half term and pupils, staff and sometimes parents are involved in developing these learning spaces to create a real sense of ownership.

Pre-Prep pupils also have access to whole School facilities, including the astro-turf, adventure playground, Sports Hall, tennis courts and swimming pool.

The School aims to ensure each class has a low adult to pupil ratio to provide quality interactions that help ensure progress in each child’s development:

  • Years 1 & 2 – Class Teacher and Teaching Assistant (22 pupils)
  • Years 3, 4 & 5 – Class Teacher and a shared Teaching Assistant (24 pupils)

Lower School Pupil Leadership Council

At the start of each term, elections are held amongst the pupils in each class from Years 1 to 5 for a representative to sit on the Lower School Pupil Leadership Council. The Council meets regularly to discuss ways of improving the experience at School for all Lower School pupils. All pupils have the opportunity to feed suggestions to their class representatives, which are then discussed at Council meetings and decisions relayed back to classes.

The Pre-Prep School provides pupils with challenging experiences that build on skills of independent learning and thoroughly prepares them for the next transition into the Prep School. It brings them ever closer to becoming pupils who truly embody and fulfil the School’s vision statement Leadership for a better world.


Year 1

Mrs. Charlotte Durrant, 1W Class Teacher and Year 1 Leader

Mrs. Durrant graduated as a primary school teacher in 1997 from St Mary’s University, Twickenham. After an exciting career working in a range of primary schools across the UK, she moved to Hong Kong in 2012 to join the founding members of staff at Harrow Hong Kong.  Mrs. Durrant has spent the last five years as a Class Teacher and Year Group Leader, firstly in Year 2 and now in Year 1.

Year 2

Mrs. Naomi Taggart, 2W Class Teacher and Year 2 Leader

Mrs. Taggart holds a BA (Hons) with QTS in Early Years Education from Edge Hill University. Her teaching career to date has included posts in England, Northern Ireland and Italy.  Mrs. Taggart was appointed as Year 4 class teacher at Harrow Hong Kong in August 2014.  She subsequently moved on to become Year 1 Leader and is now the Leader of Year 2.

Year 3

Mrs. Joanne Moss, 3W Class Teacher and Year 3 Leader

Mrs. Moss holds a degree in English and Geography from Maynooth University, Ireland, as well as a PGCE in teaching from the University of Edinburgh.  Her teaching career to date has included posts in Ireland, Edinburgh and the Middle East.  Mrs. Moss joined Harrow School in August 2014 as a class teacher and was appointed Year 3 Leader in 2016.

Year 4

Miss Jenni Lamb, 4W Class Teacher and Year 4 Leader

Miss Lamb holds a BA degree in Primary Education (5-11 years) from Brighton University.  Her teaching career to date has included posts in a variety of settings in England.  She received her AST (Advanced Skills Teacher) accreditation in 2009 and was an Assistant Head Teacher for three years prior to her move to Hong Kong.  Miss Lamb was appointed as Year 4 Year Group Leader at Harrow Hong Kong in August 2016.

Year 5

Mr. Gary Hancock, 5W Class Teacher and Year 5 Leader

Mr. Hancock holds a BA (Hons) degree in Education Studies with Sports Studies from the University of Derby and a PGCE from the University of East Anglia.  His teaching career to date has included posts in England, China, Thailand and Hong Kong. Mr. Hancock joined Harrow Hong Kong in 2015 and was appointed as Leader of Year 5 in August 2016.  He also sits on the Harrow Hong Kong Conditions of Service Committee.  In his previous schools, Mr. Hancock held posts such as Head of Primary Mathematics, Head of Year and KS2 SENCO.

Head of Lower School

Mrs. Kate Gower (Greenwich University) from The Pines School, England

Mrs. Gower holds a BSc. degree in Environmental Earth Science from the University of Greenwich, TEFLA from the British Council Hong Kong and PGCE from King Alfred's, Winchester. She gained her NPQH in 2008 from the NCL UK. Her teaching career to date has included posts in Hong Kong, the Middle East and England.  

Mrs. Gower was appointed as Head of Lower School at Harrow Hong Kong in August 2015. She is the Deputy Designated Lead for Child Protection and Safeguarding at Harrow Hong Kong and sits on the Pastoral Support Committee.

She lives with her husband and two teenage children, who are pupils at the School.

Deputy Head of Lower School

Mrs. Anna Karacan (University of Manchester) from St. Margaret’s Prep School, England

Mrs. Karacan holds a BA (Hons) in European Theatre Arts from the University of Manchester and completed her PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University. She gained EYPS in 2006 from Bath Spa University and moved to Harrow Hong Kong as Head of Early Years for the opening of the School in 2012. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, she worked in both maintained and independent schools in the UK as a teacher and manager in the Foundation Stage and Key Stages One and Two.

Mrs. Karacan took on the role as Deputy Head of Lower School in 2015, and has responsibility for the operational runnings of the Lower School. She line manages the Lower School Teaching Assistants, the Year Group Leaders, the Lower School's ECA and Enrichment programmes. She lives in Hong Kong with her husband and two daughters who are both pupils at the School.