The Benefits of House Systems in Schools

*Collaborative Post*

House systems within schools are an element of excellent pastoral care and a conventional characteristic of British schools. Traditionally, a “House” referred to a boarding house and the system was usually associated with the more reputable English schools, but nowadays they are popular in Government-funded day schools, as well as private day and boarding schools.

Houses are a way of dividing pupils into groups, creating smaller communities within the wider whole, while promoting healthy competition amongst pupils. Each House has its own name, which could be based on anything from past and present royals to famous scientists or authors, or even colours or flowers. Pupils are allocated to one house upon joining a new school, and younger siblings usually fall into the same House when it’s their turn to join.

Usually, House points are awarded for academic work, winning House competitions, and good behaviour, fostering persistence, respect, honesty, and kindness. At King Edward’s, a senior school in Surrey, the Houses are seen as a microcosm of the school, reflecting their traditions and values, and promoting a sense of belonging.

At many schools, King Edward’s included, each House has a dedicated pastoral team with a House parent, Matron, tutors, and older pupils acting as House prefects and Head of House, all of whom provide support to pupils and act as a voice when it comes to everyday issues.  Heads of Houses and prefects are not only beneficial for the rest of the pupils. It’s also an opportunity give certain pupils the chance to develop leadership skills from a young age, while managing and being responsible for others.

Strong bonds can be built when boys and girls work together within their Houses to achieve one common goal, which helps them learn to develop authentic relationships throughout their lives. Essentially, House systems are all about teamwork, which is a crucial skill to possess in the real world. This is especially true at events such as Sports Day, House Music and House Drama, when pupils must work together with the rest of their House in order to win House points, ultimately leading to one House triumphing and winning some coveted school silverware, perhaps a School Cup, for the year.


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