Far Out Friday: The school taking slang to a new level

by Robert Ballantyne14 Oct 2016

Harrow, one of the UK’s most elite boarding schools, was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I and provides five-star treatment of its students – two of whom were Lord Byron and Benedict Cumberbatch
While the £30,000 a year fee might seem excessive, the plush 260-acre school has 12 boarding houses, its own farm, swimming pool, squash courts, fishing lake – and language.
New students are referred to as “shells”, the teachers are called “beaks”, school uniforms are called “bluers” and “greyers”, the swimming pool is called “the ducker” and “jerks” is the house punishment regime.
In fact, the slang is so deeply ingrained in the school that the College’s website has a detailed glossary to help new students learn the terms as quickly as possible.
From playing Harrow Football (on grounds of solid clay) to singing school songs, Harrow's way of life is steeped in tradition.

Its customs have developed over centuries, connecting generations of “Harrovians” and reminding current boys that they are part of a distinguished community.
The school, while having a proud culture, also enforces a strict regime. The school’s famous straw hats must be worn at all times when students are outside.
Being seen without one means instant punishment.

Despite its elite reputation, Harrow is not immune to the same kinds of scandals that plague other schools.

In 2008 the soon-to-be head student was expelled after a drug scandal, and in 2011 topless pictures of the school’s art teacher, Joanne Salley, were found on a flash drive and passed round the school.