The school has changed the 'house' names a few times over the years and no doubt the way the house system has worked will have changed too.
When the Edmonton Central School opened in 1919 the houses were Bruce, Gordon, Shaftesbury and Wolfe for the boys, and Blue, Green, Red and Yellow for the girls.
In 1926 the house system changed to one named after patron Saints which was less original but still reasonably distinctive. Bruce became St George (red), Shaftesbury became St Patrick (green) and unsurprisingly the other two were St Andrew (blue) and St David (yellow). This system seems to have carried on for the next forty years.
It would be nice to have some comment on how the house system operated over these years. Clearly there was once a lot more house pride and rivalry than there was by the early 1980s but was the system essentially the same? Some schools that operate house systems use them as the basis of tutor groups so they play a stronger role in the academic side of school life.
In 1967 the school went comprehensive and the house names changed to Bedford, Gloucester, Richmond and York, sacrificing much originality for letter association with the colours. These house names seem to have been used by Rowantree.
In the Lower School in the 1970s the house system functioned largely independently of the academic side of things where pupils were streamed into ability based forms and stuck to them for all their classes. Pupils had been allocated houses long before joining the school and being streamed (in those days initial streaming was based on the results of English and Maths tests given to all pupils in the first couple of days at school). House points were awarded but otherwise the house system was largely to foster competition in sports and games.
In the Upper School the academic streaming was subject based and the houses were used to divide the pupils into forms for administrative purposes. There were no house points. There was a music competition and a drama competition but otherwise the inter-house competition was all sports based. The John Wade Cup for attendance and the Hollywood Cup for academic achievement were awarded but these were really just lines in the Speech Day programmes.
The house system was quietly dropped at the start of the 1982–83 school year. Apparently a year based system replaced it.
Thanks to Adam Rosser (1981–88) for dating the dropping of the house system to the start of his second year at the school. This was a lot earlier than I had anticipated. I have no idea what a 'year based system' is, I just saw it mentioned in a post by Peter Clark on Friends Reunited many years back.
There was mention of the house system being restored in recent years as the basis of tutor groups but I don't know whether this actually happened or what form it took.
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