Great British Schooling Tradition

“Where They Are Just And Loyal”

It always struck me that, of the four illustrious Hogwarts houses, the fair students of Hufflepuff never had any glory or recognition bestowed upon them. Everyone hated Slytherin, apart from the Slytherins themselves who all garnered a sinister pride from their membership of the House that had produced the highest number of, shock horror, dark wizards, the Ravenclaws all seemed a snobby bookish lot and the Gryffindors, well, everybody loves the Gryffindors. Gryffindor is Harry and Ron and Hermione. It’s the Weasleys, it’s Neville and his toad Trevor, it’s the Fat Lady and that perpetually roaring fire.

Can you imagine what it would be like if your school was structured in the same way as Hogwarts? I’m not suggesting the council install a starry ceiling or programme staircases to sporadically change direction, but how would you feel if you and your peers were divided up into four houses; separated by colours and mottos and even living space? For a long time the tradition of schools having “House Systems” has been thought of as only for those attending the most prestigious of schools or those who want to mark themselves out as institutions of heritage and history. You only need to flick through the opening chapters of any of  the Harry Potters or Enid Blyton’s “The Twins of St Clare’s” or the “Mallory Towers” series to understand the quintessential Britishness of these such systems.

It isn’t so much the fancy regalia of cloaks and hats proudly bearing the crest of a founder or the novelty of being, to use a rather strong but apt word, segregated into dormitories and common rooms with the people who bear the same stamp of affinity as you which those of use who aren’t or have never been part of something which offers such certain stability in exchange for loyalty and honour find attractive. It is the togetherness of it all; the team spirit, the camaraderie, the feeling of belonging to something, to someone, to many people in fact. Kinship is the most honest way to describe house systems at their strongest and most enforced, although there is most certainly a spectrum of the importance of these systems in the life of a school. I have been in a house, at Primary School, where they assigned the three primary colours and green (green being classed as a secondary colour is one of the few facts I remember about year seven Art) to the names of four explorers. Let’s see how many I can remember…

Sharman, named after Helen Sharman was the yellow house, or ‘group’ as it was sometimes referred to. She was the only female featured and I remember being disappointed to be in Sharman being clueless as I then was as to her ground-breaking role as Britain’s first astronaut in Space. My older self now feels proud to have been devotedly acquiring ‘points’ to be drawn up on our house noticeboard which would win the whole house prizes if we were to win and in doing so honouring a female pioneer in the Scientific world. Unfortunately my school didn’t award a ‘House Cup’ and promptly lay on a spectacular feast for us if we were victorious. Fiennes (as in Ranulph) was up there too along with Captain James Cook and another – I forget who. To this day I still wonder who made those crucial decisions as to the names of the houses we represented!

Outfit Snapshots:

  • Mustard chinos: New Look
  • Electric blue shirt and turquoise nail polish: H&M
  • Blue cardigan and turquoise silk scarf:  a Vintage Fair
  • Blue suede shoes: Clarks
  • Grey cashmere socks: M&S
  • Hufflepuff badge, blue beret, gold Accurist watch, brown leather satchel and Ray Bans: All Gifts
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12 thoughts on “Great British Schooling Tradition

  1. My secondary school had houses too, named after our key founders and benefactors – I was in Capon house, named after some chap called William Capon. Sadly capon is also a term for a castrated chicken, so our unofficial house mascot was a rubber chicken! We also did our best to win at everything so that the other houses couldn’t take the piss. I wish we’d had some houses named after inspirational women like Helen Sharman – all ours were priests, hymn writers, and men!

  2. i cannot imagine that, having attended a city school in the US. it sounds quite intriguing, though.
    lovely blog you have. i see you have rayban wayfarers. one cannot go wrong with those.

  3. I really enjoyed this post! I go to a very old fashioned all girls school which was started after world war two to educate the girls which were seen as the future and it still has a house system. The houses are named after inspiring women, like Shelley and Parks. We have separate rooms and even though we are supposed to mingle we don’t really unless one has a sister or close friend in another house. The houses are also very competitive and when we have interhouse sports competitions sometimes 4 people end up in hospital. Its not quite Hogwarts though! Love the outfit x
    Flower

  4. All the details are so interesting. I am a big fan of the combination of blue end yellow colors. Your blog is very pretty and I really like the concept. The article about charity shops is very good!

    >’.'<

  5. I love this post so much! As a child I was obsessed with traditional depictions of boarding schools, although my mum going to one for 6 years removed some of the glamour from the idea. Not only is this an awesome and insightful post, but I love what you’re wearing. The colours are perfect, and the accessories are so darling.

  6. Do I spy a certain badge that a certain someone bought you? 😉 also love the article it’s brilliant as per 😉 xx

  7. Such an interesting post. There is something attractive about the idea of being in houses, as it seems to bring greater friendship between those in the same house, but at the same time it immediately pits you against other houses. My school has houses, but only ever uses them for occasional house assemblies or on sports day. Last year on a school trip I went to Stratford and there was a little shop hidden away that was the closest thing to something in Diagon Alley! The owners genuinely believed in witchcraft, but there was a little section that was just for fun- the Hogwarts sorting hat! I was hoping for Gryffindoor (of course!) but was put into Hufflepuff! I agree, they don’t get enough recognition or a certain type. I always thought of them as the nice, but a tad dumb, clumsy house!

    I love that we see a bit of your outfit! Those mustard chinos are amazing, and that Hufflepuff badge is incredible! Very jealous!
    http://www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

  8. I’m not very keep on the idea, but that might be because i’m terribly at ball sport (no depth perception whatsoever, I literally cannot tell where that ball is going until it’s wooshing past me) and I really dislike competition. I always thought the harry potter houses were weird, the way slytherin is quite obviously the bad one. I don’t get why everyone wants to be in gryffindor either, personally, I’d rather be clever than brave!

  9. I go to a really old fashioned girl’s grammar school that was started after the war to educate girls, and it still has a house system, except the houses are names after inspiring women. We are supposed to mingle, but on the most part we don’t, except during interhouse sports competitons when everyone turns their hatred into angry sports playing. I always loved Hogwarts when I was little, because I was 9 when I started reading the books and was sooooo disappointed when I didn’t get my aceptance letter!

  10. I think I’m going to become a regular commenter on your blog. That outfit is divine, not just for the fact that I love navy blue, your velvet shoes are lovely too, and the tapered trousers, not that I could get away with wearing them much as I love them.
    My college was beautiful, a huge old white Georgian Grade II listed house overlooking green tennis courts. I can actually remember sitting in a very informal english class hanging out the bay windows on a summer’s day and deciding to do English Lit at uni. We never realise how much our schooling impacts on our lives; I didn’t have a nice time at secondary school like it sounds you did but I was fortunate to have an inspirational teacher and an inspirational environment at one time which I’m thankful for.
    Christobel x
    http://calico-casa.blogspot.co.uk/

  11. Boarding schools sound interesting! I’ve only ever been to “normal” school ie) elementary, middle and high school in Canada and can’t even imagine how cool it would’ve been to have been assigned a house. It’s interesting to see another person’s perspective on schooling though!

    On another note loving the blue and yellow combination here, and I adore that hufflepuff badge!

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