The John Lyon School

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The John Lyon School
Motto Stet Fortuna Domus
(Latin: "May the fortune of the house stand")
Established 1876
Type Independent day school
Head Katherine Haynes
Deputy Head Stuart Miles
Chairman of Governors J.F.R. Hayes
Founders The Governors of Harrow School
Location Middle Road
Harrow on the Hill
Coordinates: 51°34′15″N 0°20′38″W / 51.5709°N 0.3438°W / 51.5709; -0.3438
Local authority London Borough of Harrow
DfE number 310/6002
DfE URN 102247 Tables
Staff 100 (approx.)
Students 559
Gender Boys
Ages 11–18
Houses      Butler
Colours Blue & Red         
Publication The Lyonian, The Standard, Connection (joint with Northwood College), Zeitgeist, StandardExtra (online) Junior Reporter
Former pupils Old Lyonians
Badges Rampant Lion
Crossed Arrows

The John Lyon School (formerly The Lower School of John Lyon) is an academically selective independent boys' school in Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex. The school was founded in 1876 by the Governors of Harrow School for the education of local boys, in belated keeping with the wishes of that school's founder, from whom the school takes its name. The John Lyon School maintains its historic ties with Harrow School to this day. The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC).

Structure and Curriculum[edit]

The Governing Body of Harrow School retains ultimate control of the John Lyon School; most responsibilities, however, are delegated to a John Lyon Board of Governors (officially styled Committee of Management). A number of Harrow governors serve on this Committee, alongside various co-opted governors. Unlike many other governing bodies in British schools there is no academic staff involvement in overall school government.

The John Lyon School is divided into three age sections (terms in parentheses refer to their respective house and sporting designations):

  • Oldfield and Lower School (Juniors) – Years 7 and 8
  • the Upper School (Colts) – Years 9, 10 and 11
  • the Sixth Form (Seniors) – Years 12 and 13

Oldfield and the Lower School[edit]

Students in the first two years at the John Lyon School are largely based in form rooms in Oldfield House and along the Humanities Corridor in the Main Building. Years 7 and 8 consists of three forms each of approximately 23 boys (currently designated P, Q and R), selected after the school's 11+ entrance examination and interview.

The Junior curriculum comprises English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, Religious Studies and Philosophy, French and Spanish (Years 7–8, one optional in Year 9), Latin (from Year 8, optional in Year 9), Drama, Music, Art and Design, and Physical Education.

In addition to academic subjects, all Junior students take part in activities and games programmes, as well as Social, Personal and Citizenship Education (SPACE or PSCHE (Personal Social Citizenship Health Education)).

Upper School[edit]

Year 9 forms a year group of somewhat larger size, with a large intake from the school's 13+ entrance examination; it is divided into five forms of approximately 22 boys each (designated P, Q, R, S and T).

In Years 10 and 11, students at The John Lyon School prepare for GCSE examinations. Most students take 9 or 10 subjects selected from the following: English Language and English Literature, Mathematics, French, Spanish, Latin, History, Geography, Drama, Music, Art and Design, Religious Studies, and Physical Education (PE). The school offers the Mathematics, English and Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) IGCSE, rather than the standard GCSE in these subjects. All Upper School pupils continue with SPACE and Games. A Higher Project Qualification is offered to academically able students at the end of year 10.

Provision is made for advanced progression at The John Lyon School. Able mathematicians take the Mathematics IGCSE early at the end of Year 10, before following an Additional Mathematics course in Year 11 as a preparation for AS/A2 Level. All Latin students at the John Lyon School achieve their first GCSE-equivalent award at the end of Year 10, before continuing to study for a second qualification at the end of Year 11. Similarly, able modern linguists can take French GCSE a year early, and then study a Language Diploma in Year 11. Able scientists can take the AS Science for Public Understanding at the end of Year 11. A number of students additionally take AS Critical Thinking at the end of Year 11, or in December of Year 12, in addition to their other studies.

Sixth Form[edit]

In the Sixth Form, students are placed in House groups comprising boys from both year groups. Students are expected to take four AS levels by the end of their Lower Sixth year, and for three of those to be taken to A2 level at the end of their Upper Sixth Year (the most able candidates may continue with four subjects). An Extended Project Qualification is also offered to academically able students in year 13.

Students may currently choose from the following subject offering: English Language and Literature, English Literature, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, French, Spanish, German, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Latin, Classical Civilisation, History, Geography, Economics, Government and Politics, Computing, Drama, Music, Music Technology, Art & Design, Religious Studies and Physical Education. Critical Thinking is also available to be taken alongside AS and A2 modules, with tutoring outside the normal timetable.

All students continue with games and also follow a General Education programme that includes the forum known as "Union" on most Fridays.

Sixth Formers at John Lyon are attired in suit and tie, rather than formal school uniform. The Sixth Form enjoy their own dedicated building, The Thomas Blackwell Sixth Form Center, formerly "Old Building". Recently refurbished the building provides the sixth form with state of the art facilities including computer suites, library and a small dining area where sixth formers can eat and buy beverages.

House system[edit]

Each student and teaching staff member of the School is randomly assigned upon entry to the school to one of four houses (named after previous Head Masters of Harrow):

  • Butler (Blue)
  • Moore (Yellow)
  • Norwood (Green)
  • Vaughan (Red)

Each house is led by a House Master or Mistress, assisted by a House Captain drawn from the Upper Sixth. While most house competitions are sporting in nature, there are also competitions in bridge, chess, debating, drama, music, reading, recitation and an annual Spelling Bee. The culmination of annual competition is Sports Day, held each year on the last Wednesday of Summer term, following which the Cock House Cup is awarded.

School Sport[edit]

Located on the main school site, the John Lyon School's Sports Centre features a large sports hall, a newly refurbished gym and fitness studio, and a 25m swimming pool. The John Lyon School's Sporting Grounds lie a 3-minute drive from the school on the lower slopes of Harrow Hill, reached by a small fleet of minibuses. The Sporting Ground has ten football pitches, three cricket squares, an artificial wicket, a large pavilion with hospitality facilities, and an archery range. The School also has extensive access to the professional-level sporting facilities at Harrow School, including a new athletics track, a nine-hole golf course and tennis, squash and badminton courts.

In the first four years, all boys play football (Autumn and Spring terms) and cricket (Summer term) during their games afternoons, supplemented with rugby, swimming, and gymnastics. In addition, Physical Education lessons are compulsory for students until the Sixth Form, at which point students also have a wider choice for their games afternoons, including archery, golf, rock climbing, squash, swimming, and tennis. Students from Year 10 onwards may substitute their games participation for involvement with the School's Combined Cadet Force.

The John Lyon School has football and cricket teams at 1st XI, 2nd XI, 3rd XI, Under 15s, Under 14s, Under 13s and Under 12s levels.

Association Day, held on the Saturday after the end of Summer term, sees a selection of school teams take on a team of Old Lyonians.

Expressive arts[edit]

A number of drama productions are held the course of the school year, including a School Play at the end of Autumn Term and the regionally-renowned School Musical, staged during Spring Term at Harrow School's Ryan Theatre. These productions are supplemented with inter-House drama competitions at junior and senior level.

The school has two orchestras, two wind bands, a jazz band, and a rock band, designed to encourage those who learn instruments to participate in a group environment. There is a large school choir, in which all Year 7 students participate, and invitation-only Motet and Male Voice Choirs.

Other activities[edit]

The John Lyon School encourages its students to be consistently involved in at least one extracurricular activity. A variety of school clubs and societies are currently on offer, organised by staff members who offer their services voluntarily. These include Ancient Greek, Chess, Photography, Bio Medics, Junior and Senior Debating, and many more

Staff and students alike contribute to The Standard, the John Lyon School Termly Magazine and organ of record, which is published the start of each term.

The John Lyon School maintains a varied annual programme of expeditions and other trips, including regular exchange programmes with schools in France and elsewhere, field trips and Mountaineering courses.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is offered in Year 10 and above, statistically placing John Lyon as the most successful school in London in terms of the number of awards.

A recent development has seen the revival of The John Lyon School Combined Cadet Force, in partnership with the Harrow Rifles' CCF Contingent at Harrow School.



The school awards Governors' Academic Scholarships for entry at 11+, 13+ and to the Sixth Form. Other scholarships are available to individuals who show outstanding ability in Art, Drama, Music or Sport. Discretionary bursaries may be offered from time to time to those in a position of financial need.


Boys demonstrating outstanding achievement in Expressive Arts or Sport may be awarded 'School Colours' and wear a red striped tie. (The number of stripes depends on the section the boy is in: Junior colours have one stripe, Colts two and Seniors three.)


Speech Day marks the official end of the academic year, when prizes are awarded to students who have achieved particular distinction in an academic subject. Headmaster's Commendations are awarded termly to students who have made a particular impact on school life in general.

Monitors and prefects

Twelve members of the Upper Sixth are chosen annually to be Monitors, the School's designation for senior prefects. The Monitors are led by the Head of School and have the privilege of wearing a striped tie with rampant lions. Each monitor typically has responsibility for a particular area of the school, and leads a team of prefects. In addition, the four Houses each appoint a House Captain annually to co-ordinate their activities.

Headmasters and headmistresses[edit]

  • J.E. Williams, 1879-1898
  • E. Young, 1898-1910
  • E.H. Butt, 1910-1926
  • O. A. Le Beau, 1926–1951
  • R. F. Boyd Campbell, 1951–1968
  • G. V. "Gus" Surtees, 1968–1982
  • D. Dixon, 1982–1986
  • Rev. T.J. Wright 1986-2001
  • Dr. C. Ray 2001-2004
  • D.A. Rimmer (acting head) 2004
  • K.J.Riley 2005-2009
  • Miss K.E. Haynes 2009-present

Notable Alumni[edit]

Notable Staff and Governors[edit]

The Old Lyonian Association represents the school's alumni (Old Lyonians).


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External links[edit]