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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges, collegiate houses, and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. For more about residential colleges and collegiate universities please visit the main Collegiate Way page.

More on House Systems in Secondary Schools

— A story by Yakub Qureshi, “The golden age of learning,” in today’s Manchester (U.K.) Evening News, reports on the establishment of a house system at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Salford, Lancashire. One of the virtues of the house system has been that it counteracts age segregation, a problem often pointed out at university level here on the Collegiate Way.

“There has been a real shift in the school culture” thanks to the cross-sectional house system, said headteacher Barbara Rogers. “It is a family approach where younger students look up to the older ones who have, in turn, responded by helping them learn.”

GCSE results which were well below average just a few years ago are among some of the most improved in the country.

Only 27 per cent of students got A*-C in five of their subjects including English and maths in 2004, but 58 per cent achieved good grades last summer.

Inspectors, who visited the school earlier this year and talked to teachers, parents and students, praised its caring environment.

Their report said: “Attendance is good and behaviour outstanding. Care, guidance and support are exemplary.

“This is all achieved within an environment that promotes excellent relationships and respect for others.

“The house system has engendered supportive mentoring groups between younger and older students.”

As more and more students begin their undergraduate careers already familiar with house systems in secondary schools (not to mention from Harry Potter), will they come to expect the same kind of rich and cohesive educational environment in their universities? Let us hope so!

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2016