The House system is an integral part of the wellbeing structure at Surbiton High School. In each of the three Schools, our pupils are allocated to a House and participate in a variety of competitive activities that promote leadership, creativity and collaboration.
Students can gain points for their House through their participation in these events. House points can also be achieved through all aspects of the school by a pupil demonstrating excellent Learning, Leadership and Values.
In the Senior School, each House is named after a female pioneer who by their actions has changed the lives of others and made a difference to the world. The names of the Houses are Austen, Curie, Fonteyn, Nightingale, Pankhurst and Teresa. Each House is led by four Year 12 students who are known as the House Leaders. There are annual elections in the first week of September for the House Leaders in the Sixth Form, and these girls lead pupils in their House and organise all House activities. All teaching and educational support staff have a house affiliation, there is one staff member who plays a key leadership role and they are known as the Head of House; these are Miss Carley MacLean – Austen, Miss Bethan Thomas – Curie, Mr Ben Newton – Fonteyn, Mr Robert Skinner – Nightingale, Mr Samy Etienne – Pankhurst and Mr Joseph Humphreys – Teresa. These Heads of House work closely with the Year 12 House leaders to help plan, organise and support all House events. In addition, each House supports a local charity, which gives a dedicated focus for the House activities and fundraising events. Each House chooses the House charity by going through a series of hustings and votes that take place during the first term.
The first House activity of the academic year is House Choral, which takes place in September. Every girl across Years 7, 8 and 9 participates in this activity and they are accompanied and guided by musicians from Years 10 to 13. Each House performs a set piece and an ‘own choice' chamber piece. House points are awarded for organisation, movement and creativity, as well as, of course, for musicality. The next event for Year 7 and 8 girls is the Spelling Bee, where pupils work as teams to spell a selection of different words. The Year 9 to 13 girls take part in a Mathlete challenge. Pupils work individually and in groups to try and solve mathematics problems under time pressure and in a relay.
The highlight of the House year is the Fashion Show in March. The show is themed and each House is given carte blanche to design clothes from recycled materials, create audio-visual pieces as well as choreograph many dance routines. Previous themes have been 'Love Fashion', 'The Olympics', 'Recycling the Decades', 'Surbiton Goes Global', 'Classics on the Catwalk' and, most recently, 'Surbiton does STEM'. The Fashion show provides an opportunity for all girls to contribute towards a House piece. There are creative outlets in dress design, back-stage organisation, make-up and accessory development, modelling, choreography and IT skills in video and music editing. The Fashion Show is in aid of The Full Circle Fund, which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of babies, children and adults with life threatening illnesses, at St George's Hospital, London. This event has raised over £40,000 in the last three years.
Other events in the Spring Term are the House Public Speaking Competition, The House Instrumental Music Competition, House Science and House Geography Quizzes and University Challenge. Students also take part in a competition to design the programme for the annual school production, with House points awarded for all entries and extra points for the winning designs.
During the Summer Term, House and Charity activities fully combine to put on an entire Raise and Give (RAG) week. This series of activities raises funds and awareness of a multitude of different charitable endeavours, including the six main House charities. Last year activities ranged from a giant pass-the-parcel in aid of Akenkan and sponging the teachers was particularly successful, all culminating in the May Charity Fair.
The main House point event of the Summer Term is the School Sports Day, which takes place in June. This is an exciting event where students compete in a variety of sports and gain points for their House. Points are awarded from 1st to 6th, emphasising the need to take part as well as rewarding success.
The House system provides a framework within which all pupils can develop and strive to have a positive impact, alongside personal growth and development. This could be through taking part in the numerous House events, going the extra mile in your academic studies or Co-curricular activities. So aim high and get involved!
Mr Simon Dodd
Director of Houses, Charity and Social Enterprise