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From our House Coordinator: House revival at St Mary's

From our House Coordinator: House revival at St Mary's

Whilst the house system at St Mary's goes back many years, we have recently rejuvenated it across the whole school community.

We have sought the ideas of students and drawn upon the wide expertise of our staff. It was clear to see that there is a very keen interest in extending ‘inter-house’ to cover all aspects of school life, and that pupils and staff are passionate about belonging to their house.

A strong house system has the following benefits for all:

  • Promoting collaboration towards common goals
  • Listening and appreciating the views of others
  • Providing a feeling of identity and belonging
  • Nurturing a spirit of determination and striving to do one’s best
  • Encouraging healthy competition and group loyalty
  • Offering leadership opportunities
  • Inspiring positive self-esteem and opportunities for fun and enrichment outside the normal curriculum

A number of very exciting things have been happening behind the scenes as well as in and outside of lessons. These include a ‘bake off’ competition, various art competitions, music activities, sports events, writing competitions, coronation events, sustainability days and many more!

House logo competition

As a whole school competition, students from all year groups were invited to develop a concept for house logos for Brookside, Cavendish, Elms and Paston. We received over 40 entries and the designs were imaginative and varied in their outcome. A team of judges composed of senior teachers, student leaders, and the student council selected 16 preliminary designs which were grouped into the categories of: Majestic Birds, Powerful Matriarchs, British Wildlife and Endangered Animals.

After collecting over 600 votes made by students and staff from the Junior School, Senior School and The Sixth, there was a clear favorite set of designs and concept. The winning category was Majestic Birds, which consists of:

  • A Swan for Brookside, representing Justice and Honour
  • An Owl for Cavendish, representing Wisdom and Courage
  • A Peacock for Elms, representing Integrity and Power
  • An Eagle for Paston, representing Resilience and Bravery

These outstanding winners were announced in our very first full house assembly in June, and the designers were gifted with special prizes of branded t-shirts as a memento. The logos will now be used on house-related uniform that will be available for purchase from August. All pupils and staff will receive a new pin badge which will be displayed on their lanyards, to help build a sense of identity. A fitting legacy for the wonderful designs.

We also felt it was the ideal opportunity for those who have a creative writing slant to compose a house prayer. The house prayer was to be between eight to 15 lines long and needed to reflect the following key aspects of our school community:

  • Mary Ward values and teachings
  • Reflect all houses
  • Reflect high performance learning traits such as fortitude, resilience, innovation, creativity, consideration for others, respect and community

Well done to Niamh G. and Imogen C. in Year 8 who wrote the key elements of the winning prayer which was read out during the first house assembly and is a fitting tribute to our new house system.

House points continue to be awarded to pupils across all subject areas against our HEART habits.

We hope our house system will continue to flourish and that we will be able to share more exciting news related to house events in the new academic year as we look to turn ideas into reality.

Watch this space!

Jo Schofield, House Co-ordinator

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