Updated: Mar 31, 2022
School houses are a celebrated point-based system used in Australian schools. Nothing is more celebrated than the different variations between these houses however, and the devices used by each school to distinguish their houses can be seen as a true reflection of the institute’s values. However, while the house names, values and, in some cases, even the mascot may differ from school to school, there remains one similarity between them: the houses are almost always arranged represented by the colours red, blue, green, and yellow into four houses.
The different variations of schoolhouses are as varied as they are unique and colourful. One practice that is particularly popular is naming each house after a notable alumni of the school. This allows the school to set an ideal example for students to follow; it also inspires the children to engage more actively with house events, in order that they might one day have a house named after them. A second example of house variation is a respectful nod to the First Peoples of Australia: numerous schools will name their houses after the indigenous Australian peoples who originally inherited the land the institution is built upon.
A typical device used by such schools is to use indigenous Australian language for the house’s corresponding colours such as green or red, and this in turn provides Australian students with a segue way into learning more about indigenous Australian culture.
Unique houses in Australian schools:
Australian schools are nothing if imaginative; in fact, almost every school in the region uses a different variation of the house points system. Further examples of unique and different house point system include:
· Trinity Anglican School sort their houses based on prominent North Queensland explorers. These include historical figures such as Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-1848) and James Venture Mulligan who discovered the Hinterlands of Cairns.
· Gilston State School name their houses after prominent pioneers and settlers in Queensland’s history. These names include William Duncan and Tom Latimer.
· Brisbane Girls Grammar School label their large number of houses (9 in total) after previous members of the board.
· A popular device among many schools is to name their school houses after popular athletes and sport icons, contributing to the competitive nature of the house system.
Reflection of Values upon Australian students:
The variations on each school’s house point system goes deeper than merely a label, however. In the case of catholic schools, such as King’s College and Assisi, each house is named after a patron saint of the school. These can range from historical figures such as St. Francis, from his work with animals, to Mother Teresa. This process allows catholic based schools to more deeply and aptly reflect the values inherent in the school’s creed, and a more direct way to pass such values onto the students.
As one can expect, the house point system is a rich tradition in the Australian education system that allows each school to imprint upon their students a set of values, friendly competitiveness, and colourful variations of houses that are as unique as each school.