This academic year, EF Academy Oxford has re-established its house system, which is a traditional feature of schools in England. The student body is divided up into sub-groups, in our case four, and so each student becomes a member of a house, our houses being named after Oxford Colleges: Merton, Balliol, Oriel and Keble. The idea is for the students to immediately upon starting at the school, gain a sense of belonging to a community, in which loyalty, a sense of pride and friendly competition (between the other houses) is promoted.
Here at EF, there are a number of ways that we use the house system to achieve these goals: through the Merit scheme and Inter-house competitions.
Merits are awarded for signs of excellence. This is defined as exceeding ones general intellectual ability and showing clear signs of specific academic aptitude, consistently participating in extracurricular activities and finally, for clearly exercising at least one of the elements of the IB learner profile: thinkers, inquirers, knowledgeable, communicators, principled, open-minded, balanced, risk takers, reflective and caring. (This is also applicable to A-Level students and not exclusive to IB students.)
EF has a thriving and competitive inter-house structure with students competing across a range of extracurricular activities, such as Football, Basketball, Debating and Chess. Each activities club has at least one competition per term. The points are awarded accordingly: 1st place (10 points) 2nd place (7 points) 3rd place (5 points) and 5th place (3 points).
Subsequently, at the end of last term all the Merit Awards and Inter-house competition points were added up and it was established that Merton had gained the most. As a prize for all their hard-work and dedication to perform their best on an individual, as well as team basis, the whole house, which amounts to 50 students, were invited to go to an all you can eat, Asian-fusion restaurant for dinner on Friday evening. A suitably fulfilling and filling reward.