Vertical House System
At UISZ, the provision of a strong Vertical House System is seen as integral in helping each student to reach their potential intellectually, academically, socially and emotionally. We believe that every student matters every day. The Vertical House System delivers a programme that is designed to assist the individual enrich his/her personal life, to prepare him/her for educational choices, and to offer guidance and counseling in an effort to come to terms with his/her own responsibilities in meeting the basic intellectual and social demands of adult life.
The Vertical House System operates under the guidance of a Senior Head of House (SHOH) who is responsible for the day to day management of the system. Each House has a dedicated Head of House (HOH) who bears the primary responsibility for the care of each student in the House for the duration of their school lives. The HOH is assisted by a House Tutor (HT) who has the day to day oversight of the students' activities and development. The HT's regularly monitor each student's academic progress and participation in extra-curricular activities; guide and advise them in matters of discipline; help define goals and career hopes and act as mentors for the student during school life. Further support is readily available from the HOH. Each House is comprised of both female and male students but within each House there are two Tutor Groups; one comprised of the male and one comprised of the female members of that House. This enables student needs to be met in a safe and open environment.
Within each House there is a small number of students from each year level, which provides significant opportunities for leadership and pastoral roles for senior students, who act as mentors to junior students in the House. In fact, the Houses are run by the student leadership in the form of a male House Captain and a female House Captain. These Captains organise their House for sport competitions, community and service projects and oversee the welfare of their peers on a daily basis. Together with the School Captains, the House Captains form the Student Council, which serves to advise the school's Senior Management Team and advocate on behalf of student concerns. The weekly whole school assemblies are run and managed by the Student Council leadership. This approach empowers students to have a stake in their school, not as passive subjects of adult administration but as active leaders involved in the processes that directly affect them on a daily basis. School rules are not dictated from above but are the result of a collaborative process involving the students and then implemented and enforced by the students. The result is a school wherein 'community' is not a buzzword for a mission statement but an actual way of life that envelops the entire campus and its constituents.
Houses compete against each other across the year in three categories; Sport, Community and the Arts. The primary purpose of these competitions is to bond the students to their House mates and learn to sacrifice for someone other than themselves. Sporting competitions are held during the afternoon after school every two weeks. Points are awarded to each House according to their ranking at the end of the event. In Community, the members of a House earn points for their House through a referral system whereby members of staff report selfless acts of kindness which they witness. The system is anonymous in order to encourage students to act in a charitable manner as a way of life and not just when they are visible. In the Arts, the Houses compete against each other in performing and graphic arts competitions organised by staff and community organisations. The major emphasis here is on participation and not placement. Each category is tabulated individually at the end of the year, with rewards and recognition given to Houses in each category and in an overall scoring.