House system for school spirit and student leadership

Academic success is a big part of Nordic International School but creating strong friendships and personal development is just as important. Every new student at Nordic International School is placed into one of our houses, of which the student will be a member for his or her duration at the school.

A house is composed of a mixed group of students from different year groups. The houses allows the students to make friends with peers they would normally not interact with. The house system gives the students a purpose and an opportunity to shine in their fields of interest.

Every house is allocated a House Master, a member of staff, who bears the overall pastoral care of the house. Their task is to encourage the students, help them develop their leadership skills and ensure that there is a good tone in the house.

In the beginning of each academic year the students elect a Captain from year 9 and a Co-Captain from year 8. These students assist the House Master with his or her responsibilities for the house. Each house has its own emblem and motto, and the students are free to form the identity of their house themselves.

A student forum
The houses have regular meetings where the House Captains get the opportunity to relay information from the Headmaster or the teachers to the other students. It is also an opportunity for the house members to socialize.

– The House Captains have the responsibility to organize the house-meetings, to encourage and motivate the other members of the house. It is also their responsibility to help keep order in the house and help the younger students transition into the school, Mr Andrew Watson, who teaches English at Nordic International School Norrköping, says.

Lifelong memories
Over the course of Mr Watson’s school years in Australia, his house became very important to him.

– The house system motivated me in school and is something that has given me many memories that I will never forget. I remember how much fun I had and how much I looked up to my House Captains, Mr Watson says.

Normally a house competition is held once a month. The houses compete in both sporting and academic events. For example, house competitions are held in debating, science fair, poetry, swimming, athletics and chess.

Winning a house competition earns points towards the house tournament which stretches over the whole academic year. Points are however not awarded for academic performance or behaving well in the classroom.

– That you behave and work hard academically is something we expect from all the students, Mr Watson says.

At the end of the year all the points are added up and the house with the most points are awarded a trophy with the house’s name, engraved on it.

A special atmosphere
– It is something very special to see students from different year groups doing “high fives” in the corridors. The team spirit that the students develop when they compete together spills over into the school, Mr Watson says.