St Bees School

House System

House System

What is the House System?

On entering St Bees, a student is placed in one of four Houses and will remain a member of that House for the duration of their time here. The placement of a student in a given House is random.

Houses are a mix of ages, genders, day/boarding, nationalities and interests – though siblings will all be in the same House.

St Bees Houses Handbook

Why Do We Have a House System?

The House system allows for in-school and school-to-school competition.

  • Each House has an elected House Captain (student) and a team of student assistants
  • Each House has a Head of House (a nominated teacher)
  • Merits for students’ good work and positive contributions to school life are pooled in the House
  • Competitions between Houses are scheduled to take place during the year, to include sporting and drama competitions, amongst other events.

A trophy is awarded at the end of each year for the best House. The House system provides opportunities for students to develop leadership, responsibility, organisation, and teamwork competencies and, importantly, to compete with (rather than against) students from other Houses.

Within the House system, there is equal emphasis on IQ and EQ, in line with the school’s educational philosophy.

House Captains – Roles and Responsibilities

Each House has a House Captain. A House Captain serves for one academic year. House Captains are elected in the Summer Term of the preceding academic year. (For September 2020 House Captains are pre-selected).


The role of House Captain is a position of responsibility within the school community. It is important, therefore, to possess the following basic characteristics:

  • Positive leadership skills
  • A strong school spirit and an embodiment of the school’s ethos and vision
  • Good organisational skills
  • A supportive, caring and fair attitude
  • A respectful conduct towards House members and the whole school community
  • Responsibility, embodying the traits of a good role model
  • Level of maturity

Duties and Activities

House Captains are expected to:

  • Run their House and liaise with the Head of House and other House Captains
  • Represent the House as and when required
  • Organise and lead House meetings and assemblies
  • Coordinate the House and House members
  • Maintain and update the House noticeboard
  • Instil a sense of pride, community and friendly rivalry with other Houses in their House members
  • Encourage good behaviour and effort amongst House members
  • Support communication within the school:
    • Communicate any relevant news to their House members
    • Communicate and clarify the rules/procedures of inter-house events
  • Support the organisation of inter-house events:
    • Organise the selection of students for inter-house events
    • Ensure all students participate in inter-house events
  • Any other relevant house-related tasks

House Captains are not only leaders within their Houses, but also leaders within the whole school community. They are expected to lead by example and help to create a positive school culture and environment.

House Names


An Irish princess who gave her name to the village of St Bees, St Bega was a brave, adventurous and curious young woman.

With courage and respect, she signifies strength and empowerment – a perfect testament to the Bega House.

The colour blue on the Bega House crest signifies St Bega’s voyage from Ireland by sea.



Queen Elizabeth I, hailed as one of the greatest monarchs of all time, signed the “Letters Patent” that meant St Bees could be established as a school.

She awarded Grindal the Archbishop of Canterbury position in 1575.

The Queen was an intelligent, loyal and witty leader – characteristics encouraged in all St Bees students.

The red colour of Elizabeth House represents the Tudor Rose, the symbol associated with Queen Elizabeth’s rule.



Foundation is the name of the main, and original, school building. The heart of the school and the hub of teaching life.

Foundation building was built between 1587 – 1588, benefiting from extensive expansion with new floors in the 1800s.

Gold represents the bricks, the mortar and the solid sandstone walls, embodying the notions of hard work, resilience and strength.


Son of a local farmer, Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, is founder of the school and a native to the village.

In 1583, although ill and blind, Grindal persevered to ensure the school was opened.

An ambitious, confident man with perseverance and resolve, he stood for everything we honour at St Bees – his legacy still very much ringing true.

The green of Grindal House perfectly embodies the greenery of the Cumbrian landscape, the 250 acres of the school and the glory of the English countryside.