Queen Mary's High School

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House System

When students talk about the school community at Queen Mary’s High School the first thing they mention is our House system which is weaved throughout all aspects of school life. The House system is just one of the ways we support students’ personal development and develop student leadership. Our House system is pivotal to the cohesion of our school community and the competitions and events run by the House Team are an integral and much anticipated part of our school calendar.  It has a long-standing tradition of guiding and enriching students’ outlook on the world and nurturing students to be happy, creative and resilient individuals. The aim of the House system is to support students to develop a rich moral fiber and help them to discover who they really are. 

When they join the school, every member of our community is placed into one of four houses: Austen, Brontë, Eliot, Shelley. Each of our Houses, named after renowned female authors, has its own specific identity, Throughout the year students engage in competitions, activities and fundraising to earn House points. At the end of the school year the House with the most points is awarded the House cup. In the academic year 22-23, the winning House was Brontë. 

The core values of the house are those that Queen Mary herself, our famous namesake, promoted. These are Creativity, Passion, Leadership, Charity, Courage.  All activities we do promote one or more of these values in some way.  

Creativity; We feel that the students must be creative to tackle the future effectively. The future is forever changing and if we can help students to discover their creative side, they will also be more enriched and happier. 

Passion; Our students should be passionate about what they do, the House system is integral at shaping this. We expose the students to a wide variety of activities throughout their time at school to find their passion in whatever form that may be.  

Leadership; We are preparing our students to be the leaders of tomorrow and whatever career or life path they take they need to understand how to lead. Students have the opportunity to lead house assemblies, captain sports teams, organise charity events and much more.  

Charity; As a school we raise thousands of pounds for charity each year and supporting our annually chosen House charity is a huge part of school life. Our students are taught the importance of giving and why we should help others. Being altruistic helps us to understand others better and to be more empathic. Students can get involved in the Make a Positive Contribution award scheme that aims to promote charity. The ‘Making a Positive Contribution Award’ is available at 4 levels (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) and acknowledges participation and leadership within the life of the school. 

Courage; We must have the courage to stand up for our convictions and know the difference between right and wrong. Our students have the courage to do the right thing and we promote this belief that the world is better if we are upstanders not bystanders.  

I can’t wait to be on the journey with you as you progress through your school career. 

Mr J. Short  

(Director of Houses) 

Austin House

House Leader – Miss Butlin  

House colour – Yellow 

House mascot – the Austen owl  

Named after Jane Austen, one of the most beloved authors in English literature, she was not only a talented writer but also possessed several remarkable personal qualities that contributed to her success and enduring popularity. Known for her wit, intelligence, and strong moral character, Austen's personal characteristics are evident in her writing and continue to resonate with students of today. One of Austen's most notable qualities was her keen intelligence. She was well-educated, well-read, and possessed a sophisticated understanding of human nature. Austen also demonstrated a strong moral character and a steadfast adherence to her principles. In her personal life, she was known for her integrity, honesty, and kindness. Another noteworthy personal quality of Austen was her resilience, a quality we pride ourselves on in Austen House. Her keen observations of human nature and society, combined with her moral integrity and independent spirit, continue to resonate with our students and Austen House ensures her place as one of the most celebrated authors in literature is upheld.  

Austen House encourages participation in extracurricular activities and fosters a sense of camaraderie among students. It also promotes a healthy competitive spirit, as students earn points for their house through school achievements including MPC Awards, house competitions such as cricket, netball, pottery, debating or quizzes, and also fund-raising challenges like Penny Wars. These points contribute to the overall standing of each house, with the winning house being rewarded with a trophy at the end of the year. 

In addition to promoting a sense of belonging and teamwork, Austen House also provides opportunities for leadership and personal growth. We appoint a House Captain and Vice House Captain to oversee the house and serve as role models for their peers. This gives students a chance to develop leadership skills and take on responsibilities within the school community. 

Overall, the school’s house system is a valuable tradition and Austen House instills a sense of pride, unity, and healthy competition among students. We create a strong sense of belonging and foster positive relationships among students from different backgrounds. Additionally, Austen provides students with opportunities for personal and social development, laying the foundation for success in their future endeavours. 

Brontë House

House Leader – Miss Weston 

House colour – Red 

House mascot – the “Brontësaurus” 

Brontë house is one of the four houses here at QMHS. Our house colour is red and our mascot is the Brontësaurus. Our house leader is Miss Weston, who was also a member of Brontë house as a student here. 

Our house is named after Emily Brontë, one of the Brontë sisters. The Brontë sisters were writers whose novels have become classics. Emily's most famous work is Wuthering Heights. The sisters had a keen interest in writing poetry but they lived in the 1800s at a time when it was not seen as appropriate for women to be poets. They took up aliases to find success, with Emily using the pen name Ellis Bell. The sisters also took roles as governesses during their lives - teaching and training children in private households. 

Despite facing challenges, the Brontë sisters were determined to follow their passions, a quality that we encourage in Brontë house. 

Bronte is a house with lots of spirit. We work hard together to make success happen and we support each other at all times. Our team consists of both students and staff, and we are all fiercely proud of being part of Brontë house. We get involved in absolutely everything, whether it be creative competitions, the chess competition, debate competitions and sports day, and we make sure we always try our best. We never give up, and we know that as a team we can succeed. This strong community spirit has led to much success for the Brontë family over the years and there are no plans to stop winning things any time soon! A recent success that we are very proud of is being the winning house in both 2022 and 2023. 

The Brontë House ethos  

Eliot House

House leader – Mr Lilley  

House colour – Blue  

House mascot – Eliot the Dragon 

Eliot House is named after Victorian author George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans. Born 1819 in Nuneaton, Mary started reading from a young age and was naturally intelligent. Despite the lack of formal education, she went on to write such novels as Middlemarch and The Mill on the Floss. At the time female authors were typically believed to only write romantic novels, hence Mary used a male pen name to overcome this assumption and have her work taken seriously. She went on to become one of the most celebrated and successful writers of the Victorian era. As a house we like to reflect her literary success and bravery to stand up to stereotypes. 

Our house characteristics were created by Year 13 in 2020. They are as follows: 






Every member of Eliot House will demonstrate these characteristics in all aspects of their life. We show enthusiasm and outgoingness in our willingness to take part in house events and raise money for charity. We are innovative and talented with our entries for creative events like House dance and fashion show and we are logical with our strategies in competitions like chess and spelling bee. 

Shelley House

House Leader – Mr Sangha  

House colour – Purple  

House mascot – Shelley the turtle 

‘Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful’ are the words of the monster, in our namesake’s novel: Frankenstein. Mary Shelley’s words reflect the determined and dedicated nature of Shelley House. We may not win every inter-house competition or challenge, and that is ok! Sometimes the bigger reward comes from finding a new interest or making a new friend in inter-house challenges. Our house’s mantra is ‘take part, have fun, make memories.’ 

Within our school's House System, Shelley house is the newest of the four houses joining Austen, Brontë and Eliot in 2012. As a house we value togetherness and perseverance. We create a family atmosphere through form time activities and our house assemblies which are designed to get everyone smiling. Connected by a shared sense of purpose, members of Shelley support each other through challenges and celebrate victories as one. In our house, every member is valued, and each member is encouraged to get involved in as many events as possible. We recently won the house dance competition for the first time in our history, and this will hopefully mark the beginning of a new era at QMHS where Shelley house are perennial champions.