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More rounded and less single-mindedly academic than some of its competitors, with a broader range of ability. Inspiring and personalised learning are further draws for parents. ‘They have this ability to bring out the best in every child – they nurture talent rather than expecting pupils to already be really swotty and amazing,’ said one. While pupils are expected to drop some or all the extras at the doorsteps of other schools in favour of the academics, quite the opposite happens here. The only thing that may hold them back…

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What the school says...

John Lyon is an academically selective independent day school, based in Harrow-on-the-Hill in North West London.

2021-2022 marks the beginning of coeducation at John Lyon, with girls joining the School for the first time in our 145-year history. We also now offer an all-through education from Nursery, aged 2½ to A-Level, aged 18, thanks to our coming together with Quainton Hall School in central Harrow, which now becomes John Lyon’s prep school.

Academic excellence is at the very heart of what the 600 pupils who study here seek to achieve. Pupils’ academic standards and personal development were both rated the highest possible Excellent-Excellent in our recent school inspection.

The curriculum sits at the centre of every working day. Pupils gain a good grounding in all the major academic subjects. Dedicated teachers work to develop learning skills, creativity and the ability to apply learning in all areas of life. Building on this platform, pupils perform well from the point they join and achieve excellent results in public examinations at GCSE and A-Level. Most gain places at leading UK universities and then move on into the workplace in a huge and varied range of valued professions.

A John Lyon pupil also gains from time spent outside the classroom. In particular, there is a strong reputation for Music, Art, Drama and Sport. Add to this an exciting co-curricular timetable focusing on each pupil’s sense of community, achievement and wellbeing, a range of more than 70 extra-curricular activities, and pastoral care that is second to none, John Lyon is a school designed to nurture high-achieving and happy children.

We understand that choosing a school can be a difficult process for both parents and pupils. At John Lyon we pride ourselves in our welcoming and helpful approach to admissions.

John Lyon offers a broad education to pupils who aspire to achieve excellence in all they do. As such, the admissions process at John Lyon tests academic ability, as well as containing elements we use to learn about character and potential. We look to offer places to able young pupils who have a great attitude to learning combined with a desire to be the best that they can be.

Entry is based on a combination of examination and interview (for Years 7 and 9) and on GCSE results and interview for Year 12. Our tests do not contain ‘trick’ questions and we aim to create a level playing field to allow future John Lyon pupils to shine.

Children in Year 6 at Quainton Hall School, newly John Lyon’s Prep School, are offered an unconditional place at John Lyon in Year 7.

John Lyon is committed to widening access, enabling the children of those who could not otherwise afford the fees to benefit from our all-round independent school. Each year, the School makes available a number of means-tested bursaries to pupils who demonstrate exceptional talent and potential.

All pupils who take the 11+ or 13+ examination in January will be considered for an Academic Scholarship. Sixth Form Scholarships are awarded dependent on GCSE results. We also award a small number of Scholarships to candidates of outstanding ability and potential in Drama, Music and Sport, Art and STEAM.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2009, Katherine Haynes, BA MEd NPQH (early 50s). Attended Oxford High School (‘No doubt that’s the reason I’m driven in the way I am’), before reading maths at Warwick, followed by an MEd. Then taught in the Midlands, becoming head of maths at Edgbaston High School, followed by Warwick School, where she first started out as a school inspector and took the professional training scheme for headship.

Last time we met her, she told us she felt she ‘could provide a different perspective’ and had big plans afoot to expand the academic and extracurricular offering, as well as polish up the pastoral care. So has she done it? You bet, say parents, and what’s more she’s modernised facilities, amalgamated the school with local prep school Quainton Hall (making it...

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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

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
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
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

Who came from where

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