Pre-Prep (Years 1-5)

Pre-Prep (Years 1-5)

The Pre-Prep curriculum is filled with rich learning experiences which enable our pupils to learn and lead in a wide range of subjects and areas.

Our subject-specific curriculum has been planned to ensure that there is clear knowledge and skill development throughout the course of the year and their whole time in the Lower School. We work closely with Heads of Department in the Upper School to ensure that we are giving our pupils the best opportunities to thrive in the Upper School and the wider world. 

We teach the following subjects:

English, Maths, Chinese, Science, Physical Education, Geography, Music, History, Art & Design and Languages

Chinese, Physical Education, Music and Languages are taught by specialist teachers and all other subjects are taught by our class teachers.

We have clear curriculum progression in every subject in the following areas, which not only promote academic excellence but also the Harrovian Values which make this School and our community unique:

Big Questions and Key Questions

‘Question everything. Learn something.’ – Euripedes

Answering our Big Questions represents an overarching understanding of a concept or place and time. Our Key Questions represent the smaller steps of understanding and knowledge which lead to the overarching understanding. These questions challenge our pupils to learn and make links at a deeper level and shift our curriculum from content coverage to conceptual and ideological understanding.  


‘Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.’ – Immanuel Kant

The important concepts which lead to developing understanding are mapped out and taught through a range of stimuli which act as focal points during lessons. By focussing on the important concept at the heart of a lesson our teachers and pupils have the opportunity to speculate, think critically, engage with new learning and build upon previous concepts which lead to multi-layered understanding over time.


‘When the curriculum lacks coherence, it is both harder to teach and harder for children to locate and place their new knowledge.’ – Professor Viviane Robinson

The mapped knowledge progression within our curriculum gives our pupils not only an understanding of the world but rich, powerful content to which they can apply their skills to impact the world around them.


‘Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.’ – Albert Einstein

As we develop knowledge and understanding of the world we also develop the skills our pupils need to thrive within it. By learning, practising and mastering new skills our pupils can apply them in a range of situations to thrive and succeed in the world. 


‘True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.’ – Daniel Kahneman

We use a range of formative and summative assessment techniques throughout every lesson, year and key stage. Regular, concise and targeted feedback drives learning in every area of the curriculum. We continually assess each pupil against the learning objective for each lesson and the bigger concepts and questions which make up our curriculum.  

Learning Visits

‘The bits I most remember about my school days are those that took place outside the classroom, as we were taken on countless theatre visits and trips to places of interest.’ –Alan Bennett

The purpose of visits and visitors is to cement the curriculum. Our visits and visitors are planned and contiguous to the subject to ensure that they enhance and deepen knowledge for our pupils. 

It is through these subjects and areas that we reach the School Vision of Educational Excellence for Life and Leadership.

As the leading primary school in Hong Kong at Harrow, we focus on ensuring that all children achieve their potential through careful nurturing and encouragement to enjoy learning. For younger pupils, “education” extends far beyond the classroom and includes helping with the formation of personalities and individualism. Our pre-school follows the same ethos as all Harrow Schools and uses the British National Curriculum.

Head of Lower School

Mr Brendan Shanahan (University of Liverpool) from St Barnabas’ CE Primary School & Nursery, England

Mr Shanahan took up his position as head of the Lower School at Harrow School Hong Kong on 17th August 2020.

Mr Shanahan graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BA (Hons) degree in Social & Economic History in 2005. He then completed his PGCE at Leeds Beckett University before starting teaching in Kirklees. Mr Shanahan has held a range of posts in his career including leading on PE, Maths, English, Safeguarding, Curriculum, Standards and Assessment. He was a headteacher in Westminster, where he was also the secretary of the Westminster South group of schools, before taking up the role as Head of Lower School at Harrow International School Hong Kong.

He is a keen sportsman and represented his University at football, lacrosse, hockey and rugby league. He also represented Huddersfield and Yorkshire playing Gaelic Football. He also enjoys hiking and has completed all four of the Hong Kong trails.


Year 1-5 Information Booklet