Guide to Independent Schools

School details

Haberdashers' Aske's Boys'

The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Butterfly Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire WD6 3AF

Enquiries & application

The Registrar

T:  020 8266 1700
F:  020 8266 1800

Boys, 5-18, Day
Pupils: 1400, Upper sixth 160
Fees: £ 3394-£4499 per term
Affiliation: HMC, IAPS


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School details

Haberdashers' Aske's Boys'

What it's like

Founded in 1690 by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers; the original buildings were opened at Hoxton in 1692. The school moved to Elstree in 1961 and, thirteen years later, the Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls moved to the adjoining site. The two now occupy fine grounds and playing fields in green-belt country covering about 104 acres. With the exception of the original building (Aldenham House) all were purpose-built. The result is a modern school with splendid facilities set in fine parkland. Academic standards are very high and examination results are excellent. A high proportion of sixth-form leavers go on to Oxbridge. It is very strong in music, drama and art. There is also much strength in sports and games. The 45 clubs and societies cater for most interests. Some extra-curricular activities are shared with the girls' school.

Pupils & entrance

Pupils: Total age range 5-18, 1400 day boys. Junior department 5-11, 200 boys. Senior department 11-18, 1200 boys. Entrance: Main entry ages 5, 7, 11 and smaller numbers at 13 and 16. Own entrance exam used; for sixth-form entry 6 GCSEs, at least 4 at grade A* (including sixth-form subjects). No special skills or religious requirements. State school entry 50% intake at 11.

Scholarships & bursaries

Small number of academic scholarships at 11, value approx 10% of fees; also music scholarships covering music tuition. Bursaries available based on financial need. Parents not expected to buy textbooks; extras for music, lunches, coaches, trips etc.

Head & staff

Headmaster: Peter Hamilton, appointed in 2002. Educated at King Edward's (Southampton) and Oxford University (modern languages). Previously Head Master at King Edward's (Southampton), Housemaster and Head of Modern Languages at Westminster. Teaching staff: 102 full time, 13 part time. Annual turnover 8%. Average age 43.

Exam results

GCSE/IGCSE: 164 pupils in Year 11, all gained at least grade C in 10 subjects, (17% gained 10 A* grades). A-levels: 157 in upper sixth, passing an average of 3.7 subjects (63% of pupils achieved straight A grades), with an average final point score of 407.

Pupils' destinations

Almost all sixth-form leavers go on to a degree course (12% after a gap year), 22% to Oxbridge. They take an extremely diverse range of courses (single and combined), of which medicine, engineering, maths, science, management, economics, law, English and humanities are most popular. Others join conservatoires or go on to study art, design or drama.


GCSE, AS and A-levels. 22 GCSE subjects, 23 AS-level, 18 A-level. Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level (many including a contrasting subject), 3 at A-level; general studies taught but not examined. 30% take science A-levels; 30% arts/humanities; 40% both. Key skills integrated into sixth-form courses and activities. Vocational: Work experience available. Languages: French, German, Spanish and Italian offered at GCSE, AS and A-level; also Russian GCSE. Regular exchanges (France, Germany and Spain). Work experience scheme for all Year 11 and sixth formers in France and Germany. ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject and across the curriculum, eg learning resource, presentation of work. 150 computers for pupil use (9 hours a day), all networked and with email and internet access.

The arts

Music: Up to 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Some 8 musical groups including 3 orchestras, wind band, brass ensemble, various other ensembles. Drama: Drama offered. GCSE, AS and A-level and LAMDA exams may be taken. Many pupils are involved in school productions. Art and design: On average, 30 take GCSE, 8 A-level. Ceramics, photography, printing also offered.

Sports & activities

Sport: Rugby, cricket compulsory (first to third forms). Optional: hockey, cross-country, athletics, tennis, soccer, basketball, golf, shooting, squash. RLSS, RYA exams may be taken. Water polo and badminton teams often in national finals. Activities: Pupils take bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh's Award. CCF and community service optional for 4 years at age 14. Annual old folks' Christmas party; Mencap fun day; wide range of charitable activities, typically raising 20,000 pa. Some 45 clubs, eg Amnesty, archery, badminton, bridge, canoe, chess, debating, film, jazz, literary, photography, sailing, stamp, science.

School life

Uniform: School uniform worn except in sixth form. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, head boy, head of house and house prefects - appointed after consultation. Sixth-form Committee. Religion: Christian but with five other faith assemblies each week open to all. Social: Some extra-curricular activities shared with Haberdashers' Aske's (Girls). Organised trips to Europe. Meals self-service cafeteria. School shop.


Pupils failing to produce homework once might expect extra work; those caught smoking cannabis on the premises could expect exclusion from school.

Former pupils

Leon Brittan PC, QC; Martin Sorrell (WPP); Peter Oppenheimer (economist); Simon Schama (historian); Michael Green (Carlton Communications Group etc); Nicholas Serota (Director Tate Gallery); Dennis Marks (Director ENO); Damon Hill (racing driver); David Baddiel (writer/comedian); Sacha Baron-Cohen (aka Ali G).