First in Class
Harrow Appi brings a landmark learning institution to Japan.
At its heart, education is not just the teaching of academic sub-jects, it’s a matter of building character and values. And doing this amidst an invigorating natural setting makes for an experience that young learners will recall for the rest of their lives. That is exactly what Harrow International School Appi Japan offers.
The school, which is set to open in August 2022 as a full boarding school—initially for students aged 11 to 14, then growing year by year, up to 18—is located at the foot of the mountains in Appi Kogen, Iwate Prefecture. Harrow Appi will be making history on its first day. There are Harrow International Schools in Thailand, Hong Kong and China, but this will be the first of its kind in Japan.
The Harrow name is a hallowed one when it comes to high-quality, holistic education. Since Harrow School was founded in the United Kingdom in 1572, it has educated public figures who have gone on to influence the world we live in. The international schools’ motto is “educational excellence for life and leadership,” and this idea is embodied in its “Giants of Old,” as its alumni are known. They include Winston Churchill and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Harrow Appi has chosen a leading inter-national school expert as its founding head-master, Michael “Mick” Farley. Across 20 years, the native of Yorkshire, England, has been headmaster of four international schools around the world, including the British School in Tokyo (BST) and Harrow Bangkok. Farley has a profound love for Japan and is deeply familiar with the country. During his previous tenure here, he was a Tokyo American Club member, with his two daughters growing up in Tokyo.
However, his earliest professional steps into education were as an outdoor activities instructor, and Farley is looking for-ward to introducing Harrow Appi students to all that the natural location has to offer. As he explained, the “green season” in Appi Kogen—late April to October—is an ideal time for students to learn and grow. The cool summers in Iwate make it a joy to be outside and allow for a wide range of activities—both physical and intellectual—to be woven into the students’ experiences. This includes mountain biking on the local trails or heading into the mountains to discover vistas to capture in paintings.
Also key to the learning experience to be fostered at Harrow Appi is a close connection between students and teachers—known in the Harrow lingo as “Beaks”—which allows for an individualized educational experience using Harrow’s famed "Close Personal Tutoring” methods. “What this very individualized approach results in is us getting the best out of our students because we know them so well,” Farley said.
Thanks to this encouragement and sup-port, Farley added, when students move on from a Harrow education, they go forward with élan. “Because education is based on the growth of character and values—and the development of behaviors, including leadership attributes—when they get to university they flourish. They then go on to have great opportunities in this ever-changing world, and are equipped to contribute and thrive in adult life.”
It's a happy coincidence that Harrow Appi will be opening on the 450th anniversary of the founding of Harrow School in the UK. The entire Harrow community is thrilled about the opening of the Appi campus, Farley explained. “For us to be opening in Japan—a wonderful country with a fascinating culture, renowned both for strong values and high technology—is an excellent fit. Even though it’s more than a year away, there’s a very high level of anticipation in the Harrow family.”