Barnaby Lenon

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Barnaby Lenon
Born (1954-05-10) 10 May 1954 (age 62)
Alma mater
Occupation Chairman of the Independent Schools Council
Board member of Various organisations
Spouse(s) Penelope Anne Lenon
Children 2

Barnaby Lenon (born 10 May 1954)[1] is a British schoolmaster and former headmaster of Harrow School in Harrow in north-west London[2] (he retired in August 2011).[3][4][5] He is chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC).[4] He is also a governor of other schools, and from 2011 to 2012 was Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society.

In 2012 he helped start a Free School in east London, the London Academy of Excellence, and is now the chairman of governors. In 2012 he also joined the board of Ofqual, which manages standards in public examinations in England. He is a trustee of the New Schools Network, Yellow Submarine (a charity which supports children and young adults with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire) and Vocal Futures (a charity which tries to introduce young people in London to classical music).


Lenon, the son of a clergyman, was born in Chelsea in 1954 and was educated at Eltham College, an independent school in Eltham in south London, followed by Keble College, Oxford, where he read Geography.[6] He then went on to St John's College, Cambridge to train for a career in teaching.

Life and career[edit]

Lenon began his career at Eton, an independent school in Berkshire, where he taught for twelve years, and was in the state sector for a short while at Holland Park School in west London. He became deputy headmaster of Highgate School and then headmaster of the Trinity School of John Whitgift in Croydon, south London. He was appointed as headmaster of Harrow in 1999 and during his tenure the school increased in both popularity and academic results. He was appointed Chairman of the Independent Schools Council in 2011 to oversee lobbying, research, the press and legal advice for the 1250 schools in ISC.

Lenon is often quoted in the media about his views, complaining of what he regards as the 'dumbing down' of educational standards since the demise of O-Levels, and in early 2010 was attacked by the then Schools Minister in the Labour Government, Vernon Coaker.[7][8]

Media appearances and publications[edit]

Lenon has appeared in newspapers and on the television a number of times in the past decade, mostly speaking about educational reforms. He appeared in the ITV documentary series Harrow: The School on the Hill in May 2001, on BBC 1's Celebrity Masterchef programme in August 2010, and on the BBC 2 documentary programme Britain's Youngest Boarders in September 2010. He has also appeared on BBC 2's Newsnight programme.

Lenon has published a number of successful textbooks for schools including Techniques and Fieldwork in Geography (1983), London (1988), London in the 1990s (1993), The United Kingdom (1995), Fieldwork Techniques and Projects in Geography (1996), Geography Fieldwork and Skills (2015).

Headmaster of the Year award[edit]

In 2005 Tatler magazine awarded Lenon its Schools Award for Headmaster of the Year.


Lenon is married to Penelope Anne Lenon, and they have two daughters: India, born in 1989, and Flora, born in 1992.