Pastoral and Academic Oversight

House System Frequently Asked Questions (from Parents’ Consulation on Pastoral and Academic Oversight 2019-20)

Comments/Questions about the New House System

How are stakeholders’ views being incorporated?

All parents were invited to a Parent Information Evening at the start of June 2019, with feedback sought and received on the evening and in the days following. Pupils have been invited through assemblies and pupil voice activities to suggest ideas and these contributions are being incorporated as appropriate into the scheme. All staff and the governing body have also been included in the launch of the new system and their contributions/views followed up.

Will siblings be in the same house?

Initially siblings within the school may or may not find themselves in the same house. New pupils with siblings in the school were asked their preference this year. Moving into the future we will consult with stakeholders as the issue arises.

Is the uniform going to change?

Not for this year. The houses will be represented by a small ‘badge’ that can be ironed on to the existing uniform. We are, however, using this opportunity to open longer-term consultation on the uniform for the coming years.

What happens as the school grows?

The new system has leeway built in to allow for any anticipated increase to pupil numbers.

How will you cater for interests across year groups and age-related issues?

There will still be a range of activities focused on specific year groups, as there will also remain a need for age-specific issues to be addressed at appropriate times. The Heads of House will work closely as a team, but maintain ‘watching briefs’ over their current year groups and will carry forward these specialisms into the future.

How will House Groups/Tutor Groups be split into ability groups?

The same systems as are currently in use will be maintained, with new Year 7 pupils being divided into clear mixed ability groups for Houses and subject areas choosing whether to have either mixed ability or ability setting for their teaching groups.

Who is going to go into the primary schools as part of transition to welcome and introduce themselves to Year 6 pupils like the old Year Co-ordinator system?

Heads of House will work closely together. Mr Murdoch-Smith will be responsible for Primary Transition and the new Year 7 intake each year.

Will separate fields for upper and lower school remain?

Yes, they will, but whether this remains reflected in uniform will be part of a ‘uniform consultation’.

Using Harry Potter based names. Have you pitched this at a younger level than those at secondary school, possibly making it harder to get ‘buy in’ from older years?

Whilst we cannot deny that there is one close reference to a key ‘Harry Potter’ word, the intention was never to base this on the book series. The names have a long and noble pedigree from Greek mythology and if there is any unspoken basis, it lies with a desire to have a strong school ethos of community, competition, and academic excellence. The ‘buy in’ will come from all ages within the school as they are motivated by the new systems not by names.

Comments/Questions Regarding House/Achievement/Behaviour Points

Achievement points currently to not seem to be awarded/recorded consistently by all teachers. How will this be addressed so this does not happen when you move to house points?

We are continually working towards greater consistency of action by staff and the appointment of a new Pastoral Support Assistant will support this process.

How will you reward individual achievement and effort as well as encouraging pupils to achieve points for their House?

The house points system will still have positive consequences and praise directed at the individual pupil and their personal achievement, which will continue to be rewarded and celebrated in a variety of ways. The change will be a much greater emphasis in addition to this on a competitive element between houses to spur on participation, effort and a sense of community.

If an older child is disruptive in a House, how will this be handled and not seen by a younger pupil as acceptable behaviour. Younger children can be easily led.

By making both sanctions and rewards more visible across all year groups (rather than confined within year groups) the message will be clearly communicated that poor behaviour is followed up with sanctions and good behaviour and effort rewarded. This message should speak clearly to younger pupils.