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House system

The house system at Highlands is something we are immensely proud of and underpins the work we do on personal development. Since Highlands opened in 2000 students and staff have been members of one of our four houses: Beech, Oak, Rowan and Willow. In 2022 we completely overhauled and improved the house system, and relaunched it to students that September.

The house system promotes student involvement and leadership in the following key areas of school life: 

  • The environment

  • Equalities and diversity 

  • Performance 

  • Social action (charity and fundraising) 

  • Sport

  • Wellbeing 

Each year, two key stage 4 or 5 students from each house are appointed captain and vice captain of each of the strands above for that house. And two more from each house are appointed the overall captain and vice captain of the whole house. These students spend the year organising and leading the work of their houses. 

At key stage 3, two house representatives are selected from each house to take a leadership role and support the captains and vice captains. 

What do the house leaders do? 

Over the last year house leaders have: 

  • Led assemblies

  • Organised fundraising events 

  • Presented music and performing arts events 

  • Met with senior leaders to feedback on student experiences of school so the school can change and improve 

The names of all our house captains and vice captains are recorded on our honour boards on the top floor of the school (see images below).

The inter-house competition

From September to July each year the inter-house competition runs. The inter-house system is not just about competition and, often, houses work together on projects, but the competition brings together a lot of the activities that take place at school and brings a sense of fun and excitement to the house system. 

We deliberately did not want the inter-house competition to just be about sport, but about all aspects of school life. Some of the ways students can gain points for their house are: 

  • Being awarded achievement points in lessons (over half the total house points come from this) 

  • Fundraising events for charity at school, such as bake sales 

  • Organising and participating in special non-uniform days, such as culture and heritage day 

  • Volunteering for leadership and other roles at school

  • Departmental competitions (each department runs key stage three competitions across the year)

  • Academic achievement in whole school assessments 

  • Inter-house quizzes 

  • Sport competitions, including Sports Day 

The inter-house competition ends on Sports Day each year. After that, the winning house is announced and that house is taken to Thorpe Park as their prize. Other houses have activities on site on the same day. The champions in 2023 were Oak, the houses with the most victories in the history of the school are Rowan. 

Department competitions

Each department runs two department competitions across key stage three (years 7-9). Department competitions provide students with an opportunity to engage with an aspect of their subject in depth as well as support their house by contributing to its total number of house points. 

2023-2024 programme


Year group 

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Year 7

1. PE


3. MFL











3. Computing


2. Science 

Year 8



1. PE

2. Maths

1. Science

2. Dance

3. Drama



1. RE

2. History



Year 9


2. English

1. PE

3. Maths

1. Art




1. Geography



2. DT