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Taking your house point system to the next level

Most schools have some sort of House System or its equivalent in place and they are a really good way of engendering a collegiate sense of loyalty and competition amongst students. Along with this, House Points can be an effective tool for promoting positive behaviour, fostering a sense of community, and encouraging academic excellence within a school.

However, the use of these systems can vary hugely across schools, and even within schools themselves, with some teachers really engaging with the concept, whilst others are more reserved about their use. So, what can schools do to take their existing House Points system to another level? 

1. Clearly define purpose of house points 

Establish a clear and well-defined purpose for house points. Communicate to students that house points are awarded for demonstrating positive behaviours, academic achievement, participation in school activities, and embodying the school's core values. This clarity will help students understand the importance of house points and strive to earn them. 

2. Align with core values in your school 

Ensure that house points align with the school's core values and objectives. This alignment will reinforce the desired behaviours and create a cohesive school culture. For example, if the school values respect and kindness, house points can be awarded for acts of kindness, respectful behaviour, and positive interactions. 

3. Variety of opportunities to earn house points 

Offer a variety of opportunities for students to earn house points. This can include academic achievements like high grades, exceptional performance in assignments or exams, and active participation in class discussions. Additionally, recognise students for extracurricular activities, community service, leadership roles, and positive contributions to the school community. 

4. Regular recognition 

Regularly acknowledge and celebrate students' accomplishments. Highlight the house point totals, both individual and collective, through assemblies, newsletters, or bulletin boards. Recognise individuals and groups who have earned the most house points, demonstrating that their efforts are valued and appreciated. 

5. Incentives and rewards in house point system 

Establish incentives and rewards for house points. These can range from small rewards like certificates, badges, or tokens to larger rewards like special privileges, exclusive events, or even house competitions. Make sure the rewards are meaningful and reinforce the positive behaviours the house points aim to promote. Using a house point system can reduce the workload and make it easier to manage. 

6. Healthy competition between houses  

Encourage healthy competition between houses by organising events or challenges that allow houses to earn additional points. This can include sports competitions, academic quizzes, artistic performances, or community service projects. Competition fosters teamwork, school spirit, and engagement among students. 

7. Student involvement 

Involve students in the process of managing and allocating house points. Empower them to suggest new ways to earn points, propose rewards, or even design the house points system. This involvement creates a sense of ownership and engagement, making students more invested in the process. 

8. Continuous evaluation and improvement 

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the house points system. Collect feedback from students, teachers, and staff to identify any areas for improvement. Adjust the system as needed to ensure it remains engaging, fair, and aligned with the school's goals. 

 9. Simplify the process of awarding house points 

Whilst awarding house points might be relatively simple, tracking and monitoring the system can be complicated and time consuming. Using the right technology can streamline the process, from the initial delivery of house points to monitoring how well students are doing, which departments are fully engaged and making sure that students are recognised and rewarded. It also makes it easier to keep parents informed and bring them into the wider “house family”. 

There are many benefits to a well-run and vibrant house system. If schools can refine and develop their house strategy, and house points in particular, they can maximise the benefits, encouraging positive behaviour, and creating a supportive and motivated school community. 

If you would like to find out more download our latest guide ”The rules of student engagement” or watch our OnDemand webinar "The secret to driving student motivation” where teacher Tom Bollan, from Banovallum School shares how they gamified their rewards system to boost engagement. 

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