5 top tips to make house points worth winning.
- History – It is important for pupils to be proud of their house team and what it represents. Take the time to dedicate whole assemblies/lessons to explaining the origin of the team names and why they were originally chosen. The majority of house names I have come across have a fascinating back story but these are usually not shared with pupils. You could make a special event out of this by having pupils all go to a special house assembly at the same time where they join their team mates to find out about the origins of their own house team name.
- Participation – Don’t stop at assigning pupils a house team, assign houses to every adult in the school too. Teachers can give the assemblies to their own house team, lead their team out on sports day and join in on the rewards and celebrations when their house comes out on top. Also give some pupils the role of team captains and put them in charge of gathering all the house team points for the end of week assemblies whether these are from class or other sources such as through physical activities in Striver.
- Control – One issue which can lead to house points being devalued is when a set policy for giving out these points is not agreed upon across the school. For example, this can lead to one pupil receiving one house point for their best piece of writing in the term from one teacher whilst another might receive ten for picking up a piece of paper off the ground from a rather more generous teacher. With such inconsistencies, they soon lose their sparkle. It is best to put a cap on the maximum. The most successful schools I’ve seen have only given out 1 to 3 house points at a time with 3 only being handed out on rare occasions.
- Prominence – To keep these points worthwhile the competition needs to be prominent across the school. Scoreboards on show, leading teams announced on a regular basis at assemblies, differing PE kits in the colour of specific house teams, the list goes on.
- Rewards – Of course the biggest factor to keep pupils engaged will be the rewards. It is important to have regular weekly rewards as well as the big termly rewards. The weekly rewards can be as simple as pupils in the leading house from the previous week getting to sit on special benches in assemblies the following week. Many schools have the ‘top table’ system where the leading house gets to have their lunch in a special seating area. For the term winners, a prize needs to be given that will be drawing envious glances for weeks. I have seen many great ideas such as special cinema afternoons with popcorn in the hall, no uniform days for the winning team and trips to the local park for an afternoon of games and ice-cream.