The House System

The House System has been fully developed throughout the School and is arguably the most distinctive characteristic of Harrow in Hong Kong and is central to the sense of community and atmosphere in the School. Whilst the ‘vertical’ pastoral structure (where pupils of different ages are grouped together in our Prep and Senior Houses) is a key component of the Harrow boarding ethos.

Nurtured by the commitment and collective experience of the House Masters and House Mistresses and their teams, Harrow pupils quickly embrace the benefits of the House unit and it is not an exaggeration that the impacts on personal development can sometimes be life changing. Our Houses are effectively family units with responsibilities falling to older pupils to care for and support younger pupils. 

For boarders, the daily challenge of living with other people offers the ideal opportunity to learn about one’s self, to forge relationships with others and to develop the intricacies of human interaction. We have quickly seen the development of close-knit House communities characterised by strong bonds and support networks within each House as well as loyalty to it. When it comes to the numerous competitions between the Houses that are taking place in a growing range of activities, it finds expression in a healthy competitive spirit.

The House Master or House Mistress who is best placed to provide parents with updates about how their child is doing academically, in their co-curricular pursuits and in terms of their personal development. 

Boys' Houses


Mr Simon Mildinhall
Prep School House Master and Teacher of History

Mr Mildinhall grew up in the East of England, spending his formative years in Essex, moving on to read History at the
University of York (later joined by an MA
at King’s College London), before
attending the Royal Military Academy

After nearly eight years in the British
Army, Mr Mildinhall decided to make the move into teaching. Since doing so, he has taught History and Politics in London, where he was also the head of the School’s Combined Cadet Force and assisted in the provision of outdoor education before moving to Harrow Hong Kong to take over the reins of Banks House. In the last year, he has established and coordinated the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme at the School which gives him the opportunity to spend more time exploring the great outdoors.

Mr Mildinhall and his wife Hannah reside at Harrow with a growing number of pets, including their cat Kingsley and the House mascot, Josephine the turtle. Hannah read Psychology at Oxford, holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from UCL, and practises on Hong Kong Island. She is also the CEO of Mind HK, an initiative aimed at raising the provisions for all individuals experiencing mental health problems in Hong Kong.

They both care deeply about pastoral care and take a particular interest in the mental health of all of those in Banks House. In their spare time, they enjoy keeping active, largely through hiking, and love to travel, having used their time to visit Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mount Everest to name but a few, as well as experiencing the sights and sounds of the vibrant city that is Hong Kong.


Mr Edward Nightingale
Senior School House Master and Teacher of English

Mr. Nightingale grew up in Hong Kong, attending Kellett and Peak Schools at primary level. He was subsequently educated at Port Regis Prep School in Dorset, followed by Eton College in Berkshire. He then read English Literature at Cambridge University.

After graduating, he worked in London as a management consultant for a few years before studying for his Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the Institute of Education, London University. He then taught for four years in a London comprehensive before moving to Beijing as Head of Sixth Form at Dulwich College, where he coached tennis, led the Model United Nations programme and oversaw university applications.

Mr. Nightingale's wife, Bella, is Assistant Head (Academic) at Harrow Hong Kong and their sons attend the Harrow Early Years Centre.


Mr Tim Leverton-Griffiths
Prep School House Master and Teacher of Mathematics

Mr. Leverton-Griffiths grew up in Gloucestershire, England. Being a former member of Mensa, a sports coach and a professional cricketer, he decided that the teaching profession would suit him best; specialising in Science and Sports in his Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of Gloucestershire.

Before deciding that international schools were his future, he spent his formative teaching years in traditional English Prep Schools including Kelly College and Truro Prep School, leading Maths, Science, Sport, and child mentoring. Prior to joining Harrow Hong Kong, he was at Repton School, Dubai, for four years where he was Head of Year 6 and taught Mathematics, Science, cricket, and football.


Mr Darren Barker
Senior School House Master, Teacher of History and Teacher of Philosophy & Religious Studies

Darren BarkerMr Barker was awarded his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Alberta, before moving to McGill University in Montreal where he completed his Bachelor of Education in Secondary History and Geography. Upon moving to London, England, he completed his Master of Arts at Brunel University. His ethos of lifelong learning has led to continued engagement in postgraduate education, including SENCo qualification with the Institute of Education.

Mr Barker has spent the majority of his teaching career at schools in London including Drayton Manor High School, Cranford Community College and Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls as both a Head of Department and Head of Year. Along with teaching in London, he has taught at Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina and Forest Lawn High School in Alberta. His love of travel and history stem from his upbringing in a military officer’s family. In addition to being fully committed to a teaching career, he has been a very successful basketball coach winning multiple league titles and a national title.

Mr Barker is married to Mrs. Georgia Barker, Teacher of Biology, and they have three children, all of whom attend the School.


Mr Michael Strickland
Prep School House Master and Teacher of History

Mr. Michael StricklandMr Strickland is a graduate in History from the University of Exeter in England, where he also completed a Master's degree focusing on Early Modern and Medieval Studies. Before moving to Hong Kong, he taught at Norwich Cathedral School where he was Master in Charge of Hockey, and then later, Head of History.

Mr Strickland is a very keen sportsman. Having played first team hockey, cricket and rugby at school, it was hockey he decided to pursue at university, club and representative level. Since becoming a teacher, he has fulfilled numerous coaching roles and has led hockey and cricket tours to the Netherlands, Malaysia, and South Africa. He now prefers to play golf and tennis with his family in his spare time, and, as a keen skier, runs the snow sports trip here at the School.

During a successful game of beach cricket, Mr. Strickland met his wife Caroline on the Norfolk coast. Mrs Strickland shares her husband's passion for education and adventure. She writes for Master Investor Magazine and the SCMP, and sits on the board of the Hong Kong Royal Geographical Society. Mr and Mrs Strickland have a young son, Harding, and a daughter named Lily.


Mr Robert Powell
Senior School Day House Master and Teacher of Chemistry

Mr. Robert PowellMr Powell studied his Masters in Chemistry at the University of Oxford, with a year of research in organic Chemistry, before completing his teacher training at the University of Manchester. Since then, he has worked at the King David High School, Manchester as a form tutor in both Year 7 and Year 12, before being appointed Head of Year 9. During that role, he was inspired by the challenges and variety of pastoral work in schools and valued the positive and productive relationships formed between pupils, staff and parents.

Mr Powell has shown an interest in travel as a way of learning about new cultures and customs. Some of the highlights of his professional life involved leading Year 9 on a trip to Israel for nine days in 2016, and accompanying Year 12 on a trip to Poland.

Mr Powell joined Harrow Hong Kong in 2016 and was immediately enthused by the rich and varied opportunities offered by the School and Hong Kong. As part of the Banks House Pastoral Team, he has enjoyed working with the pupils, particularly supporting the House with their Drama and Music performances. Living in Hong Kong has enabled him to further pursue interests such as hiking, swimming, travel and international food.


Mr Oliver Lloyd
Senior School House Master and Teacher of History

Mr. Oliver LloydAfter a brief career in the business world, including a stint at BBC Worldwide, Mr Lloyd became a History teacher. Before taking up his post as a House Master at Harrow Hong Kong in August 2013, he was a House Master in England for eight years and is experienced in the pastoral care of teenagers.

In addition to this, his own happy education at The Dragon School and Radley College in Oxford, has given him a good understanding of life in a boarding school. At University College London, his academic interests focused on the history and archaeology of the Middle East; this saw him excavating sites in the UAE and the Yemen. His current historical interests are in 'The Great Game' and Early Modern Europe.

He is a keen sportsman and, in his youth, played hockey and rugby at a respectable level. Beyond family life, his passion lies in travel and he has set up, and runs, a house building charity in Kerala, South India.

Girls' Houses


Mrs Christine Duffner
Prep School House Mistress and Teacher of Music

Ms. Christine DuffnerA move from the wilds of rural Cumbria to being a Music Scholar in Scotland’s capital gave Mrs Duffner a taste for more exotic locations, which she has retained all her life, so she is delighted to be at Harrow Hong Kong. 

From an early age, she was passionate about music and ballet, going on to do a degree in Music and finally to become a Music teacher, which she does with the same huge enthusiasm and passion she has always had. 

Her ability to pick up new languages and appreciate new cultures has quickly stood her in good stead in her international posts and an interest in supporting those less fortunate is important to her.

Her own enjoyable experience of boarding at Sixth Form level led her to take up a boarding post in the UK when she started her teaching career. From there, her interest in foreign cultures led her to both boarding and day school posts in Hong Kong, Kuwait and South Korea, before returning to her beloved Hong Kong to take up her present post at Harrow.


Miss Samantha Ward
Senior School House Mistress and Teacher of Philosophy & Religious Studies

Ms. Samantha WardMiss Ward joined Harrow Hong Kong in August 2015. Having studied Religious Studies at University of Lancaster, she went on to teach Philosophy, Ethics and Religion as well as Sociology.

Her previous role was as a Personal Tutor at a large Sixth Form college in Nottingham, with responsibilities for the academic progress and wellbeing of up to 200 pupils.

As well as being an avid reader, she also has a love of travel, which was first inspired by a trip to India to complete research for her dissertation. She enjoys experiencing new cultures and religious practices and has enjoyed seeing some of what Hong Kong (and beyond) has to offer.


Mrs Gillian Nightingale
Senior School House Mistress and Teacher of Physics

Gillian NightingaleMrs Nightingale completed an honours degree in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield in 2005. She began working in surgical sales for Covidien Healthcare, specialising in cardiac sutures and later hernia repair before moving into education.

Having always had a passion for Physics and a desire to work with children, Mrs Nightingale decided to join the Physics Enhancement Programme at Loughborough University which trained her as a specialist Physics teacher. She then went on to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in July 2009 and a Master of Science in Science Education in 2014, both at Loughborough University.

Mrs Nightingale's first role of Physics teacher at Nottingham High School for Girls ended in 2011 when her husband’s job secondment took them to Xiamen, China for two years. This experience led Mrs Nightingale to a passion for the exploring the Far East and working with children with ESL.

During her six years at Loughborough High School in England, she worked as a Teacher of Physics and a rotational Head of Years 10 and 11. She was able to pursue her love of winter sports and the outdoors, running a number of European and US ski trips, regularly volunteering with DofE and organising a number of school cross-curricular enrichment weeks. Mrs Nightingale has also had the opportunity to write and produce resources for Kognity, Pearson and Cambridge International publishing groups.

Mrs Nightingale has two children, Alex and Eliza, with her husband James. As a family they are looking forward to promoting a warm and caring atmosphere for all pupils in Keller House.



Mrs Kate Fox
Prep School House Mistress and Admissions 

Kate FoxMrs Fox graduated from Bristol University with a BSc (Hons) in Biology and then went on to become a qualified lawyer. She worked in the UK as an Intellectual Property lawyer for four years before moving to the education sector. 

Over the past 12 years, she has worked in Boarding in Independent Schools in the UK as a House Parent and subsequently at Harrow Hong Kong. 

Prior to joining the School, Mrs Fox worked at Foremarke Hall, Repton Preparatory School, Derbyshire where she ran the Boys' House along with her husband Mr Rob Fox.  

Mrs Fox joined Harrow Hong Kong six years ago and supported Mr Fox running a Boys' Prep House as well as working in the Admissions Department.


Mrs Helen Cowie
Prep School House Mistress and Teacher of Psychology

Mrs Cowie is very excited to be starting her new role as House Mistress of Parks House. She attended Bedales School as a boarder and is looking forward to returning some of the high quality pastoral care that she received as a young girl.

Being a House Mistress brings together her passion for pastoral and strong organisational skills, which she has previously employed in her roles as Head of Year and House Coordinator. In addition, she has spent time working as a counsellor, Drama coach, Oxbridge mentor and UCAS Coordinator and feels that these skills will also help her to maintain a happy and productive

House environment. She is passionate about helping to guide young people to achieve their full potential, and believes in the holistic framework of education.

Mrs Cowie has an honours degree in English Literature and Drama, and, after gaining her PGCE from Goldsmiths College, London, she began her career in the primary sector, working at Barrow Hill School in St John’s Wood, London. After further study, where she gained a First Class Honours degree in Psychology, she returned to the educational arena. She has spent the last twelve years teaching A-level Psychology at a variety of independent schools in Surrey, England, including City of London Freemen’s, Dunottar School and Surbiton High School. In addition, Mrs Cowie and her husband, Tim, spent time in Australia where she taught Psychology at Camberwell Anglian Girls School in Melbourne. She has a love of Drama and Literature and is a keen photographer. 

Mr and Mrs Cowie have a young son who will be starting in Year 2. All three are excited about joining Harrow Hong Kong and welcoming the girls to Parks House.


Ms Lee Collins
Senior School Day House Mistress and Teacher of English and Drama

Ms. Lee CollinsAfter finishing her studies at the University of Sydney, Ms Collins worked in schools in London and Cairo and travelled extensively around Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Having spent most of her teaching career in an international setting, Ms Collins is energised by environments where there is a rich diversity of backgrounds and cultures; this is something that she particularly values about living and working in Hong Kong.

Ms Collins joined Harrow Hong Kong in August 2014 as an English and Drama teacher and has directed many of the School’s productions. She feels extremely privileged to teach and work with the School’s creative and imaginative young people both inside and outside the classroom. While passionate about English and Drama, she strongly believes that education should foster young people’s natural desire for adventure, fun and collaboration, and that schools should balance high expectations with supportive structures. As such, she is excited about the opportunity to develop the vibrant and thriving community that has already been established in Wu House. Ms Collins brings to the role six years of pastoral expertise as Head of Key Stage 3 at her previous school, as well as a thorough understanding of the House system at Harrow Hong Kong from her experience as a Tutor in Gellhorn House.

Passionate about theatre and literature, Ms Collins enjoys creating and watching performance based theatre and is an avid reader and writer. She also loves hiking, camping and travel.


Ms Kim Gration
Senior School House Mistress and Individual Needs Teacher

Ms Gration grew up in Gosport on the
south coast of the UK, and attended
Bay House School before completing
a pre-professional Music course at
South Downs College. She studied Music at Oxford University, Magdalen and followed this up with a PGCE in Southampton. After four years of teaching in Portsmouth, Ms Gration taught in Finland for seven years where sledging, skating and skiing were new challenges in the Sports curriculum.

During her time in Finland, she also had a year as a ‘Finnish’ Fulbright Scholar, teaching at the UN School in New York before moving to the Bahamas for some warmer weather and beautiful, clear waters! After four years of island life, she then moved to West Africa, to Luanda International School, Angola, for seven years where she was first a Music teacher and then an IB Curriculum Coordinator.

Ms Gration moved to Harrow Hong Kong with her two children in 2015 as the Whole School Individual Needs Coordinator and is now the founding House Mistress of Anderson House.