House System and rewards
We operate a system of issuing positive points to students. Currently we have the following codes for issuing positive points, the first three being based on our three simple rules:
- Extra-curricular academic (for class/homework e.g. attending an after-school revision session etc)
- Extra-curricular physical (for extra-curricular sport or D of E expeditions etc)
- Extra-curricular cultural (for extra-curricular debating, music, art, drama, dance etc)
- ‘Be More Thirsk’ – this is issued to any member of our whole school community who demonstrates the vision and values of the school
- Governor Commendation for school work that goes significantly above and beyond expectations
These house points also contribute towards rewards for individuals, which are recognised in our termly reward ceremonies acknowledging top positive points scorers in year groups and tutor groups, as well as overall tutor group awards and top attenders.
These all contribute to points for student houses as well as to an individual score.
All students in the school are put into one of six houses- Grey, Saker, Lanner, Merlin or Peregrine. These houses are named after different types of falcon, a bird which is so important to our school and our community.
Peregrine falcons (Falco Peregrinus) are renowned for their speed, and have been clocked as reaching up to 200 mph in their hunting stoop (high speed dive). They are the fastest member of the animal kingdom. They range from the Arctic tundra to the tropics and have been known as the ‘duck hawk’.
Merlin falcons (Falco Columbarius) are the UK’s smallest bird of prey. They were once known colloquially as pigeon hawks. They are found throughout North America and Eurasia. Whilst they normally migrate, some of the species have adapted so well to city life that they remain where they are throughout the year.
Prairie falcons (Falco Mexicanus) live in western North America, and are found from southern Canada down into Mexico. Having evolved in a harsh desert environment with low prey density, they have become aggressive and opportunistic hunters, seeking out both mammals and birds that can be bigger than them.
Saker falcons (Falco Cherrug) live in the region known as the Palearctic, a region stretching across Eurasia across to China and the foothills of the Himalayas. They are a large predator, and are the national bird of Hungary, the United Arab Emirates and Mongolia. In Disney’s Mulan, the Hun leader Shan Yu owns a Saker falcon.
Lanner falcons (Falco Biarmicus) are medium sized birds of prey found in Africa, southeast Europe and Asia. Their habitats range from the forest edge to the desert, where they hunt on other birds and bats. At one point they were claimed to live in Sherwood Forest, and it is known that Edward I of England (1272-1307) owned one.
Grey falcons (Falco Hypoleucos) are one of the world’s rarest falcons and is native to Australia. It inhabits the arid inland areas of the country, and is often seen in family groups. They have been described as having a ‘delicate beauty’, and feed on other small birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates.
Alongside this, all students in KS3 have a ‘Be More Thirsk’ booklet. This booklet, which should be carried in the blazer pocket, records student engagement in extra-curricular activities, as well as their engagement in challenges, that are set to each year group. The booklet has benchmarks for when certain numbers of points will be given, as well as when students will be awarded a ‘Been More Thirsk’ badge. They are checked regularly by form tutors, and are given to staff running extra-curricular activities, for them to sign.
‘Been More Thirsk’ badges and letters are sent to students, staff, parents or members of the local community who have done something that stands out and reflects the vision and values of our school.
In order to recognise longer term commitment to extra-curricular sport and music, we also are setting up a system of special school ties, which are given to students who:
- Are involved in the school musical three times
- Perform in a significant musical group for three years
- Achieve county representation or equivalent in any extra-curricular activity
Every year we also run a whole school awards evening, which recognises student work in different subjects for every year group, achievement in public examinations and contributions to both wider school life and the wider school community.