The House System
The house system at Lawrence Sheriff helps create competition, promotes good work and behaviour, encourages teamwork, provides opportunities to take on responsibilities and brings everyone in the school together.
The houses are named after important individuals who have been influential to the life and development of the school.
There are five houses at Lawrence Sheriff:
Caldecott (colour: purple, logo: thistle)
Kent (colour: yellow, logo: crown)
Simpson (colour: green, logo: Clover)
Tait (colour red, logo: star)
Wheeler (colour: blue, logo: cross)
There is an opportunity to become a House Captain in each year group. The House Captains participate in organising, promoting and running events. They have regular meetings, give information and announcements and work with teachers and students to ensure that the essence of all the houses is a prominent feature in the school community.
Throughout the year, students receive points which contribute to the house competitions and these are tracked on a weekly basis. There are three strands of house competitions that run throughout the school year. These are school, sport and subject competitions.
We have regular house assemblies and school-wide assemblies where we count the individual house points and announce the winning house. Then, at the end of the year, all points are counted and the winning house for the year is announced and awards are distributed. There is a wonderful sense of inter-year camaraderie generated throughout the house system.
History of the House System at LSS
From the School History 1978: “Games were increasingly seen as a major part of school life and a major contributor to the ethos of the Grammar School. It was for this reason that in 1907 the Headmaster, Rev Hart, introduced the House system which had originated in the Public Schools. Country boys were to constitute School House while the rest were in Tait, Simpson or Caldecott according to which area of the town they lived in, so that numbers were roughly equal. There would thus be House matches in cricket and football while in School Sports any boy reaching a certain standard would score points for his house – the origin of the Grades system which still operates…An Honours Board would show each year the name of the winning house and its score for Sports, Gymnastic Competition and Steeple Chase.”
The winner of the first House Sports competition in 1907 was Caldecott – although it was somewhat different from today’s House Athletics – with slow bicycle, sack and egg races as well as handicapped events and music by the ‘Steam Shed Band’. One English summer tradition hasn’t changed since that time – “the sky had a threatening appearance and as the afternoon wore on it became uncomfortably chilly”!
For nearly 90 years, the school Houses were named after past benefactors and/or local dignitaries. Details can be found in the Leslie Wells school history e.g. page 14 (Caldecott), page 137 (Simpson), page 138 (Tait). The fourth house was just called School House, perhaps linked in some way with School House at Rugby School. The most interesting story is linked to Edwin Tait, a local auctioneer and parent. He came to school to berate Headmaster, Mr Weisse (later Whitehouse), over the flogging of his son in 1891. Whatever Mr Whitehouse said, Mr Tait left school mollified and subsequently presented a cup for the Champion Athlete. This was the first ever cup to be donated to the school, and still the only one to mark a past altercation between the Head and a parent.
However, it was announced in December 1963 by Mr Alan Staveley, the Headmaster at that time, that nearly 20 years after former Headmaster Cordy Wheeler had left the school the existing School House was being re-named Wheeler House. It appears that it may have been a unilateral decision announced along the lines of “Rhoades has his medal, Whitehouse has his quad and Hart has his field, so Wheeler now has his house.”
In 2020, the school implemented a significant change by increasing its Year 7 intake from 120 pupils to 150 pupils. The Board of Governors made the decision to establish a new House, which has been aptly named Kent House, in honour of Dr. Peter Kent. This was in recognition of Dr Kent’s exceptional dedication and outstanding contributions to the school community throughout his tenure of 23 years and 1 term - Lawrence Sheriff’s longest serving headteacher.