Public examinations are just one dimension of academic life: unlike examination syllabi, learning is limitless.
At Harrow, we balance the rigour of carefully crafted examination preparation with the development of research skills and the ability to debate, communicate confidently, solve problems and think both critically and creatively. These skills have inherent, lifelong value and universities are always on the lookout for candidates who possess them.
Our Super-Curriculum encapsulates all those activities that foster academic endeavour beyond the measurable outcomes of examination results. It includes (but is not limited to) wide and habitual reading, extended project work, debate, public speaking, research, competitions, lectures and study trips.
- Philosophy and Religious Studies
A working knowledge of current events and a willingness to debate these topical issues is essential for prospective economists. Wider reading and research will enable pupils to use up-to-date and relevant examples in their analysis and evaluation of issues and developments in the global economy.
Pupils are invited to attend the annual Lau Chor Tak lecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Previous speakers have included former Bank of England Governor, Lord Mervyn King, and 2010 Economics Nobel Prize winner, Sir Christopher Pissarides. In addition, the opportunity for Sixth Form pupils to lead an Economics Society, which opens a wider forum for discussion, is offered every year.
Pupils can put their knowledge of costs, supply and demand and business objectives to practical use in the Young Enterprise extra-curricular programme. The Department’s enrichment sessions include Oxbridge preparation and interviews, and revision clinics.
The English Department ensures pupils see the value of the subject beyond the classroom, and recent examples of how this has been achieved include: the Harrow International Hong Kong Poetry Competition; the Harrow International Shakespeare Festival (with fellow pupils from Harrow International Beijing and Bangkok); Literature Live; and World Book Day celebrations. The Department has recently put together an anthology of pupils’ writing for publication. A range of extra-curricular activities from Debating and Creative Writing to Model United Nations is offered, as well as a variety of Enrichment sessions, including English Skills support sessions for Prep School pupils and GCSE and A-Level revision evenings.
The Model United Nations ECA develops pupils' public speaking and debating skills. In it they use their knowledge of global affairs to discuss 'resolutions' while representing a particular nation. The aim of each debate is to build consensus through compromise and persuasion. MUN debate follows UN protocol and committees are generally chaired by senior pupils.
Pupils have the opportunity to develop their writing skills during the pupil newspaper ECA. They learn how to write informative news reports, research and explore their areas of interests and create articles independently or in teams. The best articles are then published in The Harrovian Hong Kong, which is published several times a year.
‘The Art of Poetry: the Poetry of Art’ ECA enables pupils to read a range of poems and discuss their deeper meaning. Their interpretations serve as inspiration for the art work they produce. Pupils create visual representations of the poems with a range of materials for display. This ECA provides the opportunity for pupils to be academic and creative simultaneously.
Prep and Senior inter-House debate competitions enable pupils to hone their argumentative and critical thinking skills, as well as focusing on structure, the use of language and on delivering ideas confidently and effectively.
The Geography Department firmly subscribes to the view that this subject is at its best when studied outside the classroom. Field trips include a Year 7 visit to see urban regeneration around Victoria Harbour in the centre of Hong Kong, a Year 6 half day trip along the beaches around Gold Coast, examining erosion challenges and their subsequent management, a Year 8 trip to Kwai Chung Container Port and a Year 10 trip conducting urban data collection in central Hong Kong.
The History Department offers a range of extra-curricular activities including day trips to local museums such as the Hong Kong Museum of History, access to guest speakers and talks organised in enrichment sessions, the opportunity to participate in competitions such as the International History Bee & Bowl, and residential visits to countries such as Vietnam and Korea to complement the curriculum.
Pupils can choose from a wide range of History-themed ECAs which have previously included History Club, Ancient History Club, History Documentary Making Club, Horrible Histories Club (create an episode), History Mystery Challenge and History Bee & Bowl.
Pupils attending History Bee & Bowl Club are then eligible to be selected for the Hong Kong Regionals held every January with possible qualification to the International Finals, and pupils can also enter the inter-House Bee & Bowl competition.
Pupils, in collaboration with the Department, have also organised the History and Philosophy Society, offering discussions, games, debates and History support.
The study of language and culture lends itself well to all kinds of inspiring extra-curricular study. What languages department would be complete without trips abroad to the countries and regions whose languages are being studied and there have recently been visits to Beijing, Taiwan, Spain, France and Switzerland.
There are weekly language clinics for those who wish to deepen or consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the languages offered at Harrow Hong Kong, and a whole variety of additional activities from the Chinese festival celebrations, food tasting and participation in a variety of competitions. Chinese calligraphy and painting are also offered as part of an exciting range activities, which also include participation in the Hong Kong Spanish Speech and Language festival and the World Chinese Essay Writing Competition.
The Department enters pupils each year for the three UKMT Mathematics Challenges. All pupils are eligible for at least one of these, but only those who show aptitude and commitment are entered. Non-compulsory ECA sessions are run that both prepare pupils for these challenges, and give them the opportunity to investigate problems of a type not seen in the curriculum. In addition, there are various other exciting mathematical ECAs including, for the Prep School, 'Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension', and 'Cypher Club'. For the Senior School there are 'Visions of Numberland: A Colouring Journey Through the Mysteries of Maths', and 'Maths appreciation', where pupils work on video projects exploring interesting and challenging areas of Mathematics. The A-Level Further Mathematics pupils also have the opportunity of Oxbridge Mathematics preparation for university applications.
Furthermore, we offer exciting link-ups with Computer Science with the “Project Euler” ECA, where pupils use computer code to solve mathematical problems and consider the efficiency of their methods. Additionally, the Maths and Computing Society is a pupil-led group open to the whole of the Upper School, where pupils lead sessions on various mathematical problems that have a programming element or algorithmic solution.
Outside the classroom, the Department remains very active and arranges visiting speakers, workshops and events for all year groups. Such events have included talks from a visiting Holocaust Survivor as well as trips to different places of worship in Hong Kong.
The Department ran a hugely successful international trip in 2016 to Germany and Poland. The trip was primarily concerned with the events of the Holocaust and in particular, the actions that took place at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, which was visited by the pupils.
The Politics Department offers a range of extra-curricular activities, including access to guest speakers and talks organised in enrichment sessions, the opportunity to participate in Politics-themed ECAs such as Politics Club, and residential visits to countries such as the USA, to complement the curriculum.
Many different events take place in the Science Department throughout the academic year, including Science Week, in which pupils participate in fun and exciting lessons beyond the syllabus and they get involved with Science-related inter-House competitions. We also share our resources and facilities with Lower School, inviting younger children to visit the laboratories, experience exciting taster lessons and also be taught by our older Prep School pupils.
Throughout the year, guest lecturers are invited to visit the School to talk to pupils about their exciting areas of research at universities in the UK and Hong Kong. Years 7 and 9 pupils participate in their own lecture competitions annually, where they develop their research and presentation skills. The department has also arranged visits to the Science faculties of Hong Kong universities.
The Physics department also encourages keen physicists to participate in the GCSE, AS-Level and A2 British Physics Olympiad competitions, and pupils are supported in these by the Physics Olympiad Science Clubs, run in conjunction with the ECA programme. The Physics department runs the Experimental Project Club in which an interesting problem is posed that is then investigated. This gives pupils hands-on experience of how experimental research is carried out by planning and undertaking open-ended experiments and independent research, and communicating their findings in the style of an academic paper.
We have also introduced the British Biology Olympiad (BBO) to our ECA programme for Year 13 Biology pupils. It is a competition open to pupils around the world and it challenges and stimulates those with an interest in Biology to expand and extend their talents. It enables pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded and publicly recognised.
Further extra-curricular opportunities also take place within the Science department, including Prep School Science Club, Crest Award/Chemistry Extension, Dissection Club, STEAM, CAD-CAM, Science Documentary Club and Robotics. These exciting and rewarding ECAs offer pupils the chance to further develop their research, practical and investigative skills beyond the syllabus, in areas that they find interesting or that they want to explore further.