The house system is a traditional feature of schools in England. In Dulwich College London, the house system was originally introduced in 1919. Almost 100 years later, Dulwich International High School Suzhou continues to carry on this fine tradition. All staff and students are placed into one of our four Houses when they join. The system is similar to the four houses of Hogwarts of Harry Potter fame!
The house system provides opportunities for students to grow and learn, in terms of personality, morality, creativity, knowledge and skills. The system promotes the values of fair play, teamwork, citizenship, mutual responsibility, as well as self-discipline, initiative, perseverance and resilience. It provides opportunities to take on responsibilities and brings everyone in the school together. In boarding, most of the students live on a house floor, which develops social solidarity; allowing students to feel a sense of belonging to something within their community. The house system is an integral part of life at our school.
Our Houses, are named after three men who were contemporaries of Edward Alleyn, the founder of Dulwich College. Edmund Spenser (our blue house), who is best known for writing The Faerie Queene poem, was actually a neighbor of Sir Walter Raleigh and it is implied that it was Raleigh (our red House) who persuaded Spenser to present this poem to Queen Elizabeth. Raleigh, was a writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy and explorer. He was cousin to Sir Richard Grenville (our green House). Grenville was also a soldier and an explorer. These three men are all interconnected either by land or by blood and it’s that family element that we echo in our house system. Our final House (purple) is Fan House. Fan Zhongyan was widely respected as a great Confucian scholar.
Throughout the year, there are many exciting house events that are enjoyed by staff and students. We don’t expect all students to participate in everything, but as there are events in numerous sports, drama, science, singing, art and computing we expect that every student enters at least one activity per year. A couple of years ago, a student had feedback in his university acceptance letter that indicated that they had been impressed by his house loyalty and participation in events.
Co-Curricular Activity Programme has always been one of the highlights of Dulwich International High School Suzhou. The Co-Curricular Activity programme this year hasover 80 teachers led CCAs, consisting of five mains areas.
Participation in house activities contributes to excellence in academic, social, sporting areas. Here is what it means to a few of our staff and students.
Elroy S Grenville House Captain
Involvement in a house doesn’t only contribute to the morale of the group, but also the personal qualities of the individual. Houses build a sense of belonging for diverse groups of people through fierce competition. Being part of a house generates great levels of enthusiasm and engages students who are able to find something they excel at and therefore make a positive contribute. As house captain, I take part in diverse range of events including dodgeball, sports day and the art competition. This has helped to develop both my communication and teamwork skills immeasurably.
Mr Yim Head of Grenville
Belonging to a house is like being in a close-knit family or part of a small community. The energy is amazing, and it helps to forge strong student teacher relationships. Being in a house really brings students together (from all year groups) and they win and lose as a team. It gives them tremendous pride, but it also helps prepare them for future competitions outside of school.
Ms Adriaan Head of Raleigh
Becoming the head of Raleigh has been such a blessing, when I came to Dulwich I intended to be part of the whole school and not just an art teacher. Being part of Raleigh and part of the house system is exciting and I have been able to build such lovely relationships with students outside of the classroom. Being the head of a house can be overwhelming but I have a fantastic group of leaders helping me hold up the house, staff who are committed and motivated to suggest ways we can elevate our house spirit and students who are so DETERMINED to see Raleigh rise. I am so excited for the future of Raleigh!
Michelle L Fan House Captain
To me, the house system is a place that provides students with opportunities and challenges! Every students can find out what they are good at and what should be improved.
Mr Harrison Head of Fan
Being in a house is being part of a team. I have loved seeing the students get involved and represent their house with pride at all the events from house programming competition to house basketball. At this school the house system gives students opportunities to showcase their talents on a school wide level and I never realized how talented the students really were until I got involved in the house system.
Carol S Spenser House Captain Y13
House events make Dulwich an energetic place and they give people motivation. I can think of nothing more exciting than to see my house staying at the top with all our efforts! I love seeing people screaming for their house loudly on sports day; I love hearing thousands of jokes people make for the houses; I love the moment that the Champion for the year is announced. I can still remember how excited we were when we knew we finally got the first in House Drama Competition after being in second place for 3 years. I treasure every moment I spend with my team and I hope to get a similar experience when I graduate!
Mr Rigby Head of Spenser
The house system is where our students can build a sense of community and work together towards a shared goal. The skills showcased and friendships formed throughout the house events calendar go beyond what can be achieved in the classroom alone. My personal goal is that this sense of belonging follows all students during their time with us and beyond.