The house system is a traditional feature of schools in the English-speaking world, particularly in Commonwealth countries, originating in England. The school is divided into subunits called 'houses' and each student is allocated to one house at the moment of enrollment. Houses may compete with one another at sports and maybe in other ways, thus providing a focus for group loyalty.
Historically, the house system was associated with established public schools in England, especially full boarding schools, where a 'house' referred to a boarding house at the school. In modern times, in both day and boarding schools, the word 'house' may refer only to a grouping of pupils, rather than to a particular building.
Houses may be named after saints, famous historical alumni or notable regional topics (e.g. in international schools, houses are sometimes named in honour of local celebrities). Other more arbitrary names—animal names or colours, for example—are also often used. Houses are also often referred to by the original name of the building or by the name or initials of the teacher in charge of the house (housemistress or housemaster). Each house will usually also be identified by its own symbol, logo, or colours.
At co-educational boarding schools, there may be separate houses for boys and girls. Students may also be grouped by year groups or status as boarders or day students. Where the school has boarders and day pupils, they will often be allocated to separate houses. Especially at a boarding school, one of the main purposes of the house system is to provide pastoral care to the students. With parents absent, children are likely to depend on the school to look after their basic physical, social and emotional needs.
A secondary feature of house systems is the competition between houses. For example, the traditional school sports day is usually an inter-house competition. Debating competitions and charity drives are also often organised along inter-house lines. Merit points for behaviour and academic achievement may also be totalled up for comparison between houses.
Some schools have a year-long programme of inter-house events, in which each house 'hosts' an event at which all houses compete, with points contributing to the award of the House Cup at the end of the year.
Pupils are usually assigned to houses randomly, perhaps with the aim of balancing the houses in order to increase competition. Sometimes the assignment is based on the social and emotional needs of the student and to ensure proper peer mentoring is enhanced with the right fit of students within a house.
One notable feature of the house system is the appointment of house captains, and maybe other house prefects, who exercise limited authority within the house and assist in the organisation of the house. Large schools may have a house captain for each year group (with vice-captains in the largest schools).
In boarding schools, the term housemaster or housemistress is the title held by the member of staff responsible for pupils living in a particular house (or dormitory). In state schools, members of staff are appointed as (or volunteer to become) head of house. However, both terms can be used at either style of school for the sake of formality. In some cases, houses may have their own staff members other than housemaster or housemistress.
There are four houses in SIS:
LITTLE BLAZE (RED HOUSE) | GREEN PECKERS (GREEN HOUSE) | GOLDEN LIONS (YELLOW HOUSE) | DEEP WATERS (BLUE HOUSE)