Houses were reintroduced at St Helen’s in April 2014 after a 40 year absence and the House system now lies at the heart of the school community. Every student and teacher is allocated a House as they join the school and most members of the support staff also choose to join a House. Each House therefore is made up of approximately 180 students and 25 staff and so helps everyone, staff and students, to get to know others throughout the school.
There are four Houses: Benedict (dark blue), Duffield (green), Paterson (pink) and Hayward (silver). These are named after four inspiring women in the School’s history: Sister Jean Benedict, Jean Duffield, Yolande Paterson and Frances Hayward.
The Houses are headed by two student House Prefects and one teacher who is Head of House. They work as a team to organise the House meetings and the House teams for competitions. Younger students can act as House Leaders and organise teams within their year groups.
The Houses therefore provide students with opportunities for leadership and vertical mixing between year groups. The Houses compete for the House Cup every year – it is awarded to the House which has gained most points over the course of the year.
Individual students can earn House Points as rewards for both pastoral and academic good deeds. There are also a series of competitions throughout the year which can earn points. Half of the points come from a range of non-sporting competitions: House quizzes, the philosophy essay competition, class concerts, Christmas tree and Christmas card competition. The other half come from team sports. These are often completed in PE lessons.
There are three major House events in the year. In the afternoon of St. Kate’s Day all Houses compete at dodgeball. House Music and Sports Day in Trinity term are particular highlights of the year. At Sports Day there are two sets of points, one set for the results of the races and another for the demonstration of House spirit. This results in a large range of banners, face-painting and chanting.