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News > Spotlight > Spotlight on The House System

Spotlight on The House System

The heart of school life at Campbell
20 Apr 2023
Written by Claire Bunting

What is a ‘House’ System?

The House System originally got its name from English boarding schools, where pupils lived in houses on the school’s campus. It is a vertical organisation system representing students of all ages. One of the key benefits of the House System is that it gives younger and older students the opportunity to work together, creating a truly cohesive environment and ensuring that age is not a barrier to friendship and collaboration. Younger students have positive role models to look up to. For older students, opportunities for leadership arise which provides an important learning experience for students before heading off to university or to the workplace after school. 

How are Houses organised at Campbell?

Wishing to instil ‘a sense of competition and esprit-de-corps’ that would bring out the character of Campbell’s pupils, five Houses were established in 1908 by Campbell’s third Headmaster, Robert MacFarland. Housemasters were appointed representing the most senior and scholarly staff at the time. Four Houses were created for boarders and one for day pupils. 

  • Alden’s
  • Allison’s
  • Davis’s
  • Yates’s 
  • Price’s (Day pupils)

As the school grew and proportion of boarding to day pupils reversed, additional houses were added and new boarding houses developed. Curently, on School House is for boarders, all others are day houses. The current Houses and related house colours are:

  • Alden’s - Green
  • Allison’s - Brown
  • Davis’s - Yellow
  • Dobbin’s - Light Blue
  • Price’s - Dark blue
  • School - Black
  • Yates’s-  Red   

The house colours are represented in the school tie and pupils wear tops of their house colour during competitions. More in-depth information about the history of Campbell’s Houses can be found in the 2021 edition of the Old Campbellian magazine and in the book Neither Rogues nor Fools by prior history teacher, Keith Haines (both on sale in the OC website shop).



Each house has a Housemaster. At Campbell, Housemasters are responsible for the pastoral care of students in their house, lead House Assemblies on Friday mornings and provides another adult in addition to a student’s tutor to offer support during their time at Campbell. 

Assemblies are themed depending on events taking place in school, e.g. related to World Book Day, Wellbeing Week, charity collections, etc. Older students speak in assembly which helps promote leadership and provides younger students with a positive role model to look up to. 

The Housemasters also organise House competitions and activities and keep a tally of the scores earned. The house with the most points is awarded the House Cup. Houses can win based on academic merit and on competitions. Pupils accumulate points over their years at Campbell for events won and also for participation. The Bronze award is achieved after entering 15 events, Silver for 25 and Gold for 40 events entered. Last Year, Allison’s House won the most academic points while Yates’s won the House Cup overall.

We asked our Housemasters for their view on the importance of the House System at Campbell:

Allowing boys from different year groups to form new friendships through opportunities where they work together for a shared goal. Miss V Wightman, Alden’s Housemaster and Biology Teacher

Creating community both within our community and outside of our walls through charity, collaboration and competition; developing future leaders as our senior boys’ role model and inspire their younger counterparts. Mrs. K Magreehan, Allison’s Housemaster and Spanish Teacher

It gives a sense of family within the wider community. Mr. D Ledwich, Davis’s Housemaster and Maths Teacher

Dobbin’s House is a family.  It is a real privilege for teachers to journey with pupils throughout their time in Campbell, from year 8 to 14.  The opportunities to participate and build a feeling of belonging and support for each pupil are endless.  Mr. Collier, Dobbin’s Housemaster and PE Teacher

Houses offer an holistic range of activities for all pupils and to gain enjoyment, a sense of belonging and competition in an extra-curricular format. Mr J Cupitt, Price’s Housemaster and PE Teacher

The benefit of Houses is in providing healthy competition as well as new opportunities. Mr Hall, Yates’s Housemaster and Maths Teacher

The House system allows for boys of all ages to interact and support one another.  It promotes a ‘family-like’ environment where the younger student looks for a positive lead from the older student, whilst allowing the more senior student leadership responsibility.  The House system promotes an identity and togetherness amongst the students and promotes healthy competition across a wide and varied programme of activity. Mr. B Robinson, Head of Boarding, School Housemaster and Maths Teacher.

Being in a House provides boys with the opportunity to gain a sense of belonging and to forge lifelong friendships. Mr J McNerlin, Assistant Head of Boarding, Bowens Housemaster (School) and Chemistry Teacher

The house system creates a very strong identity and especially within School House where boys live, work and eat together. This sense of belonging to a house allows another set of opportunities to make friends with boys who are not in their tutor groups or subject classes. Mrs W Pearson, Assistant Head of Boarding, Chase's Housemaster

The house system gives all students a sense of responsibility and belonging. The wide range of competitions allows boys to showcase their talents on the rugby field, hockey pitch, Home Economics classroom or behind the lens of a camera, there is something for everyone! Miss A Beckett, Assistant Head of Boarding, Armours Housemaster and Home Economics Teacher


Student perspective on Houses

A few of our Year 14 students took time to tell us what they enjoy about being in a house. Thank you to Flynn (Dobbin’s), Harry (Allison’s), Matthew and Luke (Yates’s):



To keep up to date on House activities and points, we recommend following the Housemasters’ Instagram page: @ccb_housemasters


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