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A typical comp made up of all shapes and sizes - the handful we spoke to were a bright bunch with strong opinions.We were particularly impressed with the two extremely eloquent and engaging sixth formers who showed us around. Rugby a biggie here, so too are football, cricket, basketball (all for boys and girls). New sports hall helps facilitate this, as do the extensive grounds...

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Converted to an academy 2011.

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Since 2011, Robert Jones (50s). Read economics at LSE (he had an amazing, passionate school economics teacher who really encouraged him), followed by his first teaching job at Holland Park School in 1990: ‘I’ve always wanted to teach at a comprehensive school – and this was a big state comp. I think it’s because I went to an all-boys comprehensive in Stockport and was the first person out of my family to go to university.’

Five years later, he was offered the opportunity to teach at an international school in Hong Kong, where he spent the next four years: ‘My wife and I are both teachers and both love travelling, so it made sense to grab this opportunity when it came. We were there for the handover of Hong Kong, so it was an exciting time.’ On his return he moved to Haydon School as head of department in 1999 and quickly moved up the ranks to become assistant head, deputy head, then head: ‘I’ve always been quite ambitious.’

Some 20 years at the school - Mr Jones can barely believe it himself. Thankfully he continues to be inspired by the changes he has been a part of during his tenure. The school has grown significantly and the size of the sixth form (up to 460 students) is ‘a unique selling point’. ‘With so many new free schools opening up in the area, there is much more competition - but having such a large sixth form means that we can offer a huge variety of subjects.’ He still teaches economics to A level students (we get the feeling he has more of a connection with the older students and is certainly more visible to them).

A Reading Football Club season ticket holder - he still plays football and coaches Ascot United U13s (his younger son plays for the team; the other is grown up). Married to a drama teacher. Still tempted to travel again later on.


Most students live within a mile or so of the school. Admissions criteria: children in public care, then siblings, then employees’ children, then children living nearest to the school. A good percentage of students join in the sixth form because of the variety of subjects on offer.


Just under half of pupils leave after GCSEs – for college, other schools, apprenticeships or employment - and up to 10 per cent after year 12. Some 80 per cent of sixth formers go to university, around a third to Russell Group universities (the largest percentage of any state school in the borough). One or two to Oxbridge most years (though none in 2021). One medic in 2021.

Latest results

In 2021, 36 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 86 per cent got 9-4 in both maths and English. At A level, 29 per cent A*/A at A level (55 per cent A*-B). Average IB score 36. In 2019 (the last year when exams took place), 20 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 14 per cent A*/A (37 per cent A*-B).

Teaching and learning

Offers a broad curriculum with more than 30 GCSE and four BTec options, plus a multitude of A level subjects. ‘We want to offer as broad a curriculum as possible,’ explains the head.

Language provision is very good (some 90 per cent taking a language GCSE) - with students starting off with French and Italian or Spanish. Mandarin no longer offered, which saddens the head: ‘We had to drop it as recruiting staff was a nightmare.’

Parents generally praise the quality of teaching, and in particular the revision lessons offered around exam time, plus the quick communication with many teachers via email as well as the odd phone call saying, ‘your child has been terrific today.’

Students need six GCSEs at 9-4 (including maths and English) to study three A levels. Those who do not have a good pass in English or maths can retake these alongside.

Parents like the fact that class sizes are around 25, but some would prefer more streaming. ‘At present in year 7 there is streaming just for maths,’ said one parent. ‘I would like to see this extended to other key subjects such as English and science, as they do in other local schools.’ The school does cater well for the very able student too, we are told, with some 15-20 high achieving pupils (HAPS) in each year group given extra opportunities and extension work. One parent told us: ‘Both my children have been on the HAPS programme, and both have benefited from it.’

Learning support and SEN

One SENCo and a team of learning support assistants support around 20 or so pupils with an EHCP. There is also a special centre where students can be taught in small groups.

The arts and extracurricular

Strong media department, and a significant number of pupils go off to study media at Bournemouth University. Thriving art department achieves excellent exam results. Art, textiles and photography available at A level. The art on display was some of the most impressive we’ve seen (including some by TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton – a former alumna of the school). A great DT facility in the Woods building, courses including resistant material workshops and graphic design, ‘a nice break from heavy academia,’ one student told us.

School has two orchestras, jazz band, samba band and wide variety of other music groups. Two big concerts a year as well as annual musical - and Haydon’s Got Talent is a big yearly event. Lots of extracurricular offered – everything from film, poetry and philosophy clubs, to Thai boxing, trampolining and fitness clubs.

Plenty of opportunities to travel: Snowdonia in year 7, annual ski trip in year 9, watersports in the south of France - and a biennial ‘life changing’ sixth form expedition to a developing country - recently Uganda - for three weeks, for those who can raise £4,000 for the trip.


‘Sports at Haydon has been brilliant for my child,’ one delighted parent told us. ‘So much on offer here and great facilities. A brilliant head of PE, which helps.’ There does seem to be something for everyone. Rugby a biggie here, so too are football, cricket, basketball (all for boys and girls) plus netball and indoor athletics. There is also an ultimate frisbee team in the sixth form. New sports hall helps facilitate this, as do the extensive grounds with several tennis courts and sports pitches. Successes at both local and county level: ‘We have won the borough cricket tournament four years in a row,’ one proud sixth former told us.

Ethos and heritage

School is situated on the edge of the Northwood Hills in Pinner, surrounded by spacious playing fields with the feeling of being almost in the country. Originally two grammar schools (St Mary’s and St Nicholas) that merged in 1977, in a what is now one large, rather nondescript 1950s building joined together internally via various passageways and corridors - we were disorientated after five minutes. ‘You get a very good induction tour when you first join and teachers spend a long time showing you around,’ one pupil told us. ‘They expect you to get lost in the beginning,’ another said.

A stark difference between the old and the new: ‘the start of the yellow part denotes the new,’ we were told. First off, the new sports hall, which was very impressive. Bright with underfloor heating and well equipped with foldaway trampolines and badminton nets - soundproofed, too. Also impressive was the fairly recent sixth form block, amongst the best we have seen and simply vast. On offer were a choice of cold and hot food (so good that staff choose to eat there), a colourful chill-out area, a pool table, computer area and a couple of quiet study areas, all partly cased in a glass exterior. Worth joining the sixth form for, we thought.

School has also benefited from a £5 million art and design building and £2 million music and performing arts centre (three music rooms, drama studio and music mixing room, plus one-to-one teaching rooms). The head told us: ‘We did get quite a large cash injection, but the problem is the money has now all dried up. We have to be far more enterprising about how we raise funds.’ This includes letting out the site on the weekends to everyone from the Italia Conti Theatre School to local cricket and football teams.

Pupils looked well turned out in their navy and black uniforms with different coloured ties for each year group. ‘It means that teachers can quickly look into the classroom from the outside and see which year is being taught.’ A typical comp made up of all shapes and sizes - the handful we spoke to were a bright bunch with strong opinions and no major complaints. All seemed very happy to be there. We were particularly impressed with the two extremely eloquent and engaging sixth formers who showed us around. We chatted politics (Brexit) amongst other things.

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

Most significantly, a new ‘relationship charter’ has recently been introduced, with everything now geared towards positive reinforcement rather than punishment. One parent said: ‘Before this, pupils got a C1 (a first warning) for forgetting a pen but also for throwing a chair, which seems a bit crazy. With this new method they are doing away with detentions and actually talking to the child - finding out why they are late. Did something happen at home?’ So far so good we hear, and pupils and parents are responding well: ‘I for one am really happy that my children go to a school that is pro-change,’ one parent told us.

Haydon school values are reinforced throughout the building: Excellence, Respect, Perseverance, Community, Kindness. ‘The students get really angry if a child misbehaves, that’s the sort of school it is,’ one parent told us.

The school also has a great relationship with the local police (Hillingdon), who sometimes drop by for spot checks, and all pupils are required to walk through a metal detection arch for knives etc, with sniffer dogs for drugs. ‘It’s a great un-warned deterrent,’ we were told. Parents are happy with school’s approach to behaviour. ‘I have always found that a high level of discipline is maintained from the minute the children arrive at the school,’ said one.

School also operates a positive reward system, which ‘is a great motivator: my child strives to get good news notes, commendations and other rewards.’ Meanwhile a year 8 student said: ‘I really look forward to the awards assembly. It’s a way of showing how hard we are working.'

Several exclusions a year, but only as a last resort. ‘We really don’t want to permanently exclude unless we really have to. We also use an offsite provision (Jubilee Academy) to work with these young people.’

The biggest change the head has seen during his 20 years of teaching is sadly, but not unsurprisingly, the rise in mental health issues: ‘I do blame social media for this. Snapchat is every head's nightmare.’ School has brought in extra professionals to help with mental well-being (for staff too) and there are two full-time student counsellors on board.

Bullying dealt with quickly and effectively, according to the parents we spoke to.

Pupils and parents

‘Haydon has a really good reputation round here,’ a student told us, ‘and all my friends at other schools wish they were here.’ What is really special, we are told, is how many former pupils stay in touch: ‘Quite a lot of them go into finance, and it is great when they come back to visit and tell the existing pupils how they got to where they are,’ says the head.

The school offers both pupils and parents a chance to voice their opinions – parent voice group meets four times per year. Many professional parents at the school, but a real mix as reflects this area of London. Active PTA which raises money via curry nights and quizzes etc.

The last word

A friendly comprehensive that really does cater for all, with strong vocational courses as well as the more traditional A levels – all taught to a high standard. ‘I would have no hesitation recommending Haydon,’ said one parent. ‘I feel my children are lucky to attend the school.’

Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

Haydon is a mixed ability comprehensive school. We currently have 20 students with EHCPs and 225 on our SEN list in total. Our SEN cohort has a wide range of needs. We aim to enable all pupils to have access to a broad, balanced, stimulating and challenging curriculum, recognising that some children require special educational provision in order to fulfil their potential. Haydon School is fully accessible and is committed to inclusion. We have recently completed the two year Inclusion Commitment programme with Hillingdon Borough Inclusion team. Our learning support unit provides literacy support to those identified through our screening process. Those identified as needing support will follow their English curriculum within the learning support area. They will return to mainstream in year 8. Additionally, some students will receive further literacy support instead of following a modern foreign language. Once a student is identified as needing this support they will receive learning support lessons from year 7-11. SEND in-class support is allocated on needs which have been outlined within students' EHCPs. Other areas supported through learning support, and as a whole school, are: speech, language and communication; ASD; ADHD; hearing impairment; visual impairment; social, emotional and mental health needs. All SEND needs are reviewed as part of our termly data analysis programme. Information regarding all students' SEND is shared with staff, and in high needs cases, a termly reviewed student passport (one page profile) is completed to support their needs.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment Y

Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

most years
quite often
sometimes, but not in this year

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