Harrow School is one of the world’s most famous and most expensive private schools. It educated statesmen including Winston Churchill, Nehru and King Hussein of Jordan; writers like Lord Byron, Anthony Trollope and Richard Curtis; and numerous leaders of industry. It represents 400 years of tradition and is one of the last all-boys boarding schools left in the country.
Eleven boys are about to do battle for an education worth £200,000. But only two can win. This film enters the secret world of an elite British boarding school to follow the boys from ordinary backgrounds doing battle for a fully funded place at 400-year-old Harrow School. The school has educated seven British Prime Ministers, including Churchill. And this is the first time television cameras have been allowed in to film the whole selection process. The boys and their parents have high hopes. Winning will introduce them to a life of opportunity, privilege and contacts. For the two who are chosen this day will change their life forever…
Boys from Harrow often go on to Oxford and Cambridge and enter an elite world of opportunity. But it comes at a price, with fees of £29,000 a year. But each year, two boys from families who could never afford the fees are offered the chance of competing for The Peter Beckwith Scholarship, which is targeted specifically at families who’d never be able to pay for boarding school.
The means-tested scholarship can pay up to full fees for a boy’s entire career at Harrow, and two years at a prep school before they join Harrow at 13 years old. All in all it’s worth close to £200,000.
The scholarship is funded by multi-millionaire businessman Peter Beckwith, himself a former Harrovian and the father of former It-Girl Tamara Beckwith. So far he’s paid for 37 boys to go to Harrow.
Last autumn Harrow granted Boomerang and Channel 4 access to film the annual selection contest for the first time. It all happens on a single day.
The documentary follows the journey of three of the 11 shortlisted boys as they undergo a relentless day of tests and interviews. The parents of 11-year-olds Numhan and Tumi can only wait in hope as their sons compete for a prize that would change their lives forever.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Matt Cole
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Dave Nath
TRANSMISSION: C4 Cutting Edge Documentary
DURATION: 1 x 60’