Why do we have a House system?
We know that secondary schools can sometimes feel like very big places. Belonging to a House helps our students feel part of a smaller community within the larger whole school community, a team in which students of all ages can work together and with members of staff to achieve common goals. The system of House student leadership is a key part of this, with students of all ages being given responsibility for organising big events.
Our Houses are named according to local landmarks and areas of interest, adding to the association with the surroundings of the school and local community.
The House system also provides opportunities for students to achieve success through participation in a wide variety of competitions, as well as earning House Points for academic success or positive contributions to the school. Termly sports competitions are highlights in the school calendar, especially the summer Sports Day, but competitions are by no means restricted to sports. Recent competition have included a House ‘Bake-off’ and the final half term of the year will see the hotly contested inter-House charity days, when the Houses compete to see who can raise the most money for their chosen charities.
We want our students to feel proud of belonging to their Houses, and when a focus group of students of all ages were recently asked ‘do you feel proud of belonging to your House?’ 89% answered ‘yes.’ The House system is incredibly important to The Downs as a school. We feel that it enriches the lives of staff and students alike, fostering a sense of team work and community, and embodying our school philosophy of ‘Learning Together, Learning For Life.’
The Downs School Houses and Colours
To emphasise this feeling of belonging to a team our lower school uniform identifies students as belonging to the school community but each House has its own tie, in House colours, thereby each student is instantly recognisable as belonging to a particular House. Students wanted something that would give the House system a higher profile and allow people to easily identify which house they were in.
A variety of designs were circulated to all tutor groups so that they could vote for their favourite design. The ones on view below were clear winners.