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  • Nurturing Excellence
  • Headmaster: Gus Lock MA (Oxon)
sunday times



Shakespeare Off By Heart Competition 2020

As part of the Shakespeare Off By Heart Competition, organised by the English department staff, pupils in Year 7 were asked to create films of themselves performing one of Shakespeare's speeches. This would usually be a live event, however, due to the current situation the criteria was expanded to include not only their performance skills but also their film-making abilities.

The results were genuinely joyous - the sheer endeavour and creativity of the boys, along with their talents and willingness to not play it safe, was wonderful to see!

Below is a film of some of the shortlisted entries, however all the pupils should be really proud of the work they produced! Please do have a watch:


Inter-House Art Competition a Huge Success

In an exciting new addition to the inter-House competitions this year, pupils in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 have had the opportunity to enter a second Inter House Art competition.

Using 5cm by 5cm squares, Year 7 and 8 pupils demonstrated their keen observational skills and quick pace to draw 20 and 30 objects respectively.

Year 9 took on an origami challenge and drew complex paper forms, expertly capturing the light, folds, shadows and dimensions. We also saw entries from staff, including Mr Handley, Ms Revans and Mr J Teague.

Congratulations to the overall winners, team Russells, and to all who entered.

Click here to see more photos from winners and runners-up on our Instagram page.

Habs launch Frontiers Programme

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School is delighted to announce that they have recently launched their Frontiers Programme for Year 13 pupils.

At its core, the Frontiers Programme is a holistic programme of live online sessions. It aims to give Habs students greater insights into the area of study that they have opted to read at university, to continue to broaden their intellectual horizons and to continue to support their pastoral wellbeing, so that they can maintain the momentum needed to start university informed and on the right track.

The School has recognised that this new way of working is a challenging time for our students – especially for the Year 13 cohort, who will be progressing to study at university in the autumn. As part of the Frontiers Programme, Habs will be offering over 70 tutorials from staff, over 50 massive open online courses and over 40 talks from Old Haberdashers. The School’s glittering alumni will be on hand to talk about their experiences at university, offering advice and guidance to cover all things academic, co-curricular and pastoral. Topics include managing work-life balance, mental health and wellbeing, relationships and more.

What our students say…

Aniket, Year 13: "I’m absolutely loving Frontiers and I think it is one of the best things happening during lockdown."

Raphael, Year 13: “I am really enjoying the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning and to try new subjects."

Ejaaz, Year 13: "I think the programme has been fantastic so far and the tutorials I have attended have been extremely enjoyable and informative.”

Enuka, Year 13: "The talks have been really informative - looking at aspects of university life and knowledge of subjects that I wouldn’t have seen before otherwise."  

What our staff say…

Mrs Miller-Smith, Teacher of MFL: "How lovely to see the list of old boys willing to give up their time. Speaks volumes of their experiences here." 

Mr Bown, Director of Teaching: "My Frontiers tutorial was one of the most enjoyable experiences of the lockdown period - it was inspiring and energising to be able to talk about my passion to a diverse group of interested young men." 

Mr Lock, Headmaster: “The Habs Frontiers Programme is designed to provide Year 13 students with the best resources ahead of their undergraduate study. It is vitally important that they are fully equipped before they begin their university courses and these holistic online sessions will give them a plethora of opportunities to continue to learn, develop and grow, not just academically, but also more broadly to support their wellbeing. I am delighted that our students are able to benefit from these excellent sessions.”


Book Club: Year 11 read with Prep/Pre-Prep boys

Just over two weeks ago, the call went out to Year 11 pupils to volunteer to take part in a new reading initiative (‘Book Club’) with boys from the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools. 


Just over two weeks ago, the call went out to Year 11 pupils to volunteer to take part in a new reading initiative (‘Book Club’) with boys from the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools. There was a tremendous response, and 47 Year 11 pupils have volunteered to give their time one evening a week to virtually read along with a group of younger boys via Zoom.

The demand from the Pre-Prep and Prep School students was incredible, with 117 boys signing up for the Book Club. Last week was the first week of running the Book Club and, despite the logistical challenges of relying on unerring internet connections, the sessions proved a great success. Indeed, there have been a lot of positive emails from parents of the younger boys thanking the Year 11 pupils for volunteering their time and reading expertise. The Book Club continues this week, before pausing for half term. It is hoped that it can be kept running after the break.

Many thanks to the following Year 11 pupils for helping with the Book Club:


National Youth Theatre Success

The School is delighted to share that both Manish (Year 11) and Sam (Year 10) have been accepted into the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, after successfully auditioning earlier this year. This is a remarkable achievement, with over 6,000 young people between 14-26 auditioning this year!

The National Youth Theatre is a fantastic training ground, with a very similar ethos to what we aim to create here at Habs. It has produced some of the most celebrated actors, directors and writers in the country and is a wonderful opportunity not only for the boys to challenge themselves and receive training from industry professionals but also a chance to work with amazingly diverse and talented other young people from around the country.  It is a great experience and the skills gained will hopefully serve them in whatever they choose to do in the future. Congratulations to Manish and Sam!


Virtual Questioning with Local MP

The Habs Politics Society hosted their first ever totally remote, online event on Thursday 7 May 2020. For many years, the Politics Society has hosted famous names from the world of politics at Elstree including future Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Theresa May, then Party Leaders like Nigel Farage and Natalie Bennett and former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. They have hosted in the past Skype calls with speakers in North America to discuss US Politics. They were delighted that, even though the majority of our school community are not present currently on our fabulous campus because of the national lockdown, they were able to arrange a Politics Society event.

Dean Russell, who was elected Conservative MP for the bellwether seat of Watford in December 2019, took questions from students from Habs Boys, Habs Girls and other partner schools about the politics of the current Coronavirus crisis.

Mr Russell spoke about his own background and his experiences before becoming a Member of Parliament. He spoke about how the Government had to react quickly to the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, as well as what he had seen of the local impact as a volunteer with the Salvation Army and at Watford General Hospital. He paid tribute to the heroic work of NHS staff and the strong sense of community he has witnessed in Watford.

Questions from students covered issues such as the government's preparations for the crisis, the supply of Personal Protective Equipment and testing, the impact of the crisis on local businesses and the national economy, as well as what social distancing measures might be in place when schools return.

The School are grateful to Mr Russell for giving of his time generously to answer our questions from our pupils and to everyone who helped arrange the event. A huge thanks also to Mr Clark for organising the event.


Habs boys mark VE Day from home

Pupils created some wonderful music to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day from home. The work they have put into this is superb and certainly fitting for this special occasion.

Please click on the names below to listen/watch now. Enjoy!

Alfie (Year 11)

An original composition that samples Winston Churchill's speech that was broadcast from Downing Street on 8 May 1945 to announce the end of the war in Europe: "we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead"

Nathan (Year 7)

Nathan has recorded a vocal performance of "We'll Meet Again", which was famously performed by Vera Lynn, the "Forces' Sweetheart". Vera Lynn's musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during WWII. She performed for the troops in Egypt, India and Burma...and she will be performing again this year to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day!

William (Year 9)

William has recorded the Last Post and Reveille, with a silence in between for us to remember, respect and reflect.

Alex (Year 8)

Alex has written a piano arrangement of George Butterworth's The Banks of Green
Willow. Butterworth (1885 – 1916) was an English composer best known for the orchestral idyll The Banks of Green Willow and his song settings of A.E. Housman's poems from A Shropshire Lad. Butterworth was killed in 1916 at Pozieres, France during the Battle of the Somme aged just 31.

Here's a photo from the Habs Airfix Club, which is led by Louis (Lower Sixth), as they held a Zoom meeting:


Inaugural House Bake Off

A large number of boys and staff competed in the inaugural House Bake Off competition, with entries including pain au chocolate, macaroons, stir frys, cookies dedicated to the NHS and dishes from around the world.

In true Haberdashers' fashion, the standard was extremely high and competitive. It was lovely to see the faces of those who submitted photos smiling and proud of their exploits in the kitchen and it gave a sense of community in these difficult times. The winning House was Russells and the Star Baker Award went to Raffety (Year 9) and Nicole Brown for making an incredible replica of Aldenham House out of gingerbread!

Click here to view some excellent photos on our Facebook page.


Veritas 2020

We are delighted to announce that the 2020 edition of Veritas, the School's Theology and Philosophy journal, is out now.


We are delighted to announce that the 2020 edition of Veritas, the School's Theology and Philosophy journal, is out now.

Click here to read it now.

DT department pass 2,000 visors for NHS

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School is proud of its Design and Technology department, who are celebrating that they have produced and distributed 2,000 visors to the NHS. 
Additional staff members from across different departments at Habs have now also volunteered to help in the assembly of the essential protective equipment. If the need for emergency PPE continues, with the extra 40 staff members onboard to assist the DT department, it is hoped that the School could now supply up to 2,000 visors a week! With this in mind, if there are any keyworkers that require visors, please get in touch by emailing Mr Vincent on


COVID-19 provision for children of keyworkers

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls are working together to care for vulnerable children and those whose parents are critical workers in the country’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. This provision has continued throughout the Easter holidays and will do so for as long as it is required. This has been made possible due to the generosity of our staff and their willingness to volunteer, whilst also maintaining their duties with regards to remote learning.

Any local alumni of either School who are keyworkers and require care for their children between the ages of 4-14 should contact Mrs Andrea Loveless ( to make arrangements for their care at Habs.

Headmaster's start of term assembly

The Headmaster's start of term assembly, which was shared with pupils by email this morning, is also available here.

We learn the theme for summer assemblies and fittingly, as it's #EarthDay, Mr Lock is outside Aldenham House and mentions the wildlife on campus.

Watch it now:

Habs physicists to represent UK

Having achieved Gold Awards in, respectively, the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad, and Round 2 of the British Physics Olympiad respectively, Josh (U6R2) and James (U6S1)

Having achieved Gold Awards in, respectively, the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad, and Round 2 of the British Physics Olympiad respectively, Josh (U6R2) and James (U6S1) attended online training and selection camps this Easter run by the University of Oxford. As a result of this, we are delighted to report that Josh has been selected for the UK International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad team, and James has been selected as a reserve for the UK International Physics Olympiad team.

Many congratulations to them both!

This photo was taken in front of Aldenham House before the campus was closed, well before the lockdown, and was used in another article.

John Carleton (1938-2020)

It is with great regret that we have to inform the wide Haberdashers community of the passing of John Carleton, the School’s highly respected former Second Master, who passed away peacefully in the early hours of 15 April 2020. He had been suffering from dementia for three years.

John Carleton was born in Paddington Green General Hospital, early in the New Year of 1938. When the Second World War broke out and the Blitz began, John was evacuated with his mother to his grandmother’s house in Wales. Here the family stayed for the duration of the hostilities, before returning to West London but not without John having assimilated a distinctive Welsh accent (at times….) – which many of his teenage charges at Haberdashers will recall.
He attended St Clement Danes secondary school in Hammersmith and then in 1956 went to Exeter University to read Chemistry and whilst there met his wife Janet.

John was appointed to the role of Chemistry teacher at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, by Headmaster, Tom Taylor in 1960 and very quickly proved himself to be a first-class educator. Passionate about his subject and an outstanding classroom practitioner, he earned the respect of boys and colleagues alike, while also providing guidance, support and care for those who were lucky enough to find themselves around him.

In 1966, Tom Taylor approached John to become Head of Chemistry, and never one to shirk a challenge (he was already the School Liaison Manager for the construction of the new Phase Two Science Block – which has since been replaced by the Aske Building) John embraced the opportunity.

In 1970, John became acting Head of Science and was confirmed in this post in 1972. Under his tutelage, science flourished at Haberdashers with the recruitment of a group of young colleagues whose wish to adopt new methods of teaching was matched by John’s steadfast encouragement of innovation. Many Old Haberdashers of that generation owe so much to John and his refusal to settle for second best, always gently coercing his Sixth Form pupils to strive for the 'outstanding’ and not just for the ‘very good’.

On the retirement of Dai Barling in 1982, John was an immediate first choice for the role of Second Master at Habs. As Bruce McGowan’s right-hand man for five years, he effectively ran the School during Bruce’s Chairmanship of the Headmasters’ Conference in 1985. When Bruce retired in 1987, John again was a great ally, friend and source of support to Keith Dawson, and his wise and sage advice helped to ease Jeremy Goulding (as John’s fourth Headmaster at Haberdashers) into his new position in Aldenham House in 1996, before himself retiring in 1998.

In retirement, John and Janet kept in close contact with Habs and were enthusiastic supporters of School Music and Drama as well as attending the near annual gathering of the Termites (Habs members of staff who had spent 100 terms or more at the School). They also enjoyed travel and spent much time in France, a country they loved and knew very well.  

A dedicated family man, John was intensely proud of his children Andrew and Louise (who both attended the Schools at Elstree) and their own families, based in the UK and Germany.

In Keith Dawson’s own words:
“He was one of the best friends the School can have had in its long history. John had the essence of Habs in his bones and he gave more than a professional lifetime to serving and supporting it. He was straight as a die, a firm and trusty friend who could be relied on to speak difficult truth when necessary.

The boys he taught admired him and spoke of him decades later with warm affection; those he hadn’t taught respected him as an understated but resolute disciplinary rock who kept a tight ship without any hint of vindictiveness.

John was also a man of rare, hidden talents. My wife, Marjorie, vividly remembers his coming to the rescue when someone helping in the Head’s House had locked her car keys in her car. With deft, and evidently practiced, use of a credit card John had the driver’s door open within 20 seconds. Jaws dropped, awestruck.”

David Lindsay, Habs former School Chaplain, recalls:
“John gave his life to Habs – a fine teacher, a superb administrator, but, more than that, a thoroughly decent man with a caring and compassionate heart." 

Finally, for those of us who were fortunate enough to be taught at Habs during John’s long time there, the words of David Thomas, his erstwhile colleague at Westbere Road, ring clear. 

“He was all that a schoolmaster should be.”

(With thanks to the late Simon Boyes on whose valedictory piece in 1998’s Skylark this tribute is based)


Zoom session with Paediatric Surgeon

It was a real privilege to listen to Mr Alexander, a parent and consultant neonatal and paediatric surgeon, as he ran an online Zoom session for pupils of all ages, as well as staff, to help them understand the science behind COVID-19 and why it had caused a pandemic.

After his talk, Mr Alexander fielded questions from students, ranging from 'is it safe to take in your shopping?' to 'the complexity of herd immunity'. This was a really rewarding discussion and pupils left the meeting feeling more informed. 

It is hoped that the School are able to run another session very soon. Many thanks to Mr Alexander for giving up his time to speak to Habs pupils.