Aims and ethos

Founded over 450 years ago, Highgate is one of the UK’s leading co-educational independent schools.

Highgate offers three schools in one:

Our Pre-Preparatory School is for pupils aged 4-7 (Reception, Years 1 and 2). We have around 180 pupils based at our Bishopswood Road building, overlooking our sports grounds.

Our Junior School is for pupils aged 7-11 (Years 3 to 6). We have around 440 pupils  based in our building on Bishopswood Road.

Our Senior School is for pupils aged 11-18 (Years 7 to 13). We have over 1,330 pupils and most teaching takes place on our North Road site, in the heart of Highgate village. Pupils also have lessons in art, design, engineering and technology in our Mills Centre, on Bishopswood Road.


the percentage of sixth formers awarded
A* or A for their A levels in 2023
(or Pre-U equivalents).

Aims and ethos

Learning and scholarship

Highgate promotes learning and scholarship for all, where we:

  • Cultivate individual curiosity and intellectual rigour in our pupils to enable their interests to take flight
  • Believe in the enjoyment of learning for its own sake, and as a way of living
  • Nurture confidence, creativity and risk taking in our pupils as they study, in preparation for higher education, the world of work and happy, curious lives

Learning at Highgate is not about meeting other people’s expectations but discovering and pursuing intellectual passions. Helping pupils pursue subjects they love gives them the experiences of using discretionary effort to succeed, and makes them brilliantly employable: they choose to go beyond to fulfil their own dreams.

Learning and scholarship at Highgate
A very active, pupil-led environment committee — TES Judge 2020
A rare and magical combination of the high-flying and the humble — The Good Schools Guide 2021
What they have done for disadvantaged pupils, getting them into good universities, is unbelievable — TES Judge 2020
Pupils demonstrate sensitivity and tolerance to those from different backgrounds. — ISI Report 2021
A safe, happy and exciting place — TES Judge 2020

A reflective community

Highgate is a welcoming, caring, open-minded community where we:

  • Encourage our pupils to look outwards, to play an active part in their community – both within the School and further afield
  • Strive for continual learning and improvement, particularly with regards to equality, inclusion, diversity and sustainability
  • Facilitate our pupils to use their minds and voices to make a difference to the world around them

We encourage our pupils to take responsibility for themselves and for their role in society. Through community action groups, volunteering, fundraising, bursaries, local school partnerships and sustainability actions, we strive together as a School to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Exemplar for the healthy life

The physical and mental wellbeing of pupils is at the heart of our decision making. At Highgate, we:

  • Promote kindness, empathy and friendship
  • Nurture self-reflection and celebrate individuality, encouraging our pupils to find and develop their unique skills
  • Encourage pupils to develop personal qualities such as self-motivation, collaboration and leadership

We want our pupils to enjoy their childhood to the full, to develop and pursue their academic and co-curricular passions, and to lead fulfilling exciting lives as thoughtful and open-minded young adults. Pupils leaving school will be intellectually, emotionally and practically equipped for the world of work and the challenges of day to day life.

Art at Highgate School
Adam Pettitt, Head

Our Head, Mr Adam Pettitt, leads our Senior School and is responsible for the overall direction of our Pre-Preparatory and Junior Schools. Highgate is governed as a single charitable foundation.

Former pupils remain part of our community by becoming Cholmeleians (OCs). Our Cholmeleian Society, with our Development Office, organises dinners, reunions, and careers events, and supports OC sports teams.

Inclusion at Highgate

From the Pre-Prep right up to the Sixth Form, we are actively seeking to embed a real sense of belonging at Highgate. Everyone who works and studies with us deserves to feel they are part of an environment that:

  • Welcomes them, understands them, enables them to be themselves
  • Encourages questioning, self-knowledge, and self-expression
  • Helps them not just to manage, but to thrive: to discover and pursue their passions, and to develop as individuals and members of a community

To do this, we are evaluating diversity in our curricular and co-curricular life; exploring how to attract pupils and staff from all backgrounds to work and learn at Highgate; and providing opportunities to share our own experiences as well as learning from alternative perspectives. Our work on inclusion at Highgate involves pupils, staff, OCs, parents, and carers.

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Sustainability at Highgate

Highgate is working to become a sustainable school by providing relevant and impactful information and teaching regarding the environment and sustainable living, and by exemplifying best practice in all our activities.

Sustainability is one of the core objectives in our School Development Plan.  Following a period of review and consultation with pupils, parents, staff, consultants and Governors we drew up our Environmental Sustainability Initial Strategy Plan.

At this strange time of global uncertainty, the importance and wonder of the natural world has been brought to the fore. From an environmental perspective, pandemic has encouraged us to re-evaluate the importance of nature, of our relationship with our planet and of our role in safeguarding it moving forward.

Our Governors’ Estates Committee has been designated as the monitoring body for progress of the action plan’s objectives and we have appointed our own Sustainability Lead from the Governing body.

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