The House System
A House system played a very important part in the life of Antrim Grammar School’s early years and for almost two decades helped generate a healthy level of competition, collegiality and belonging for the whole school population. We are truly delighted to reaffirm the vision of the school’s founders and reintegrate a vibrant House system into every area of school life. We believe that a creative, organised and passionately led House system sits well with Antrim Grammar School’s core ethos of Educating For Life and will continue to build upon and strengthen our sense of community.
House names are based on a current or historical place of significant importance in the life and history of Antrim Town. It’s our belief that as our students take pride in their belonging and service to a House they equally understand our school’s place in the broader community.
Each House Crest image is taken from the four cornerstone images contained in our main AGS School Crest. House names and crest symbols have a meaningful association which is recognisable.
As we think about our four Houses: CLOTWORTHY - MASSEREENE - TARDREE and TOWER
we think about: LEARNING - CARING - GROWING and STRENGTH.
Clotworthy - We Learn Together
Clotworthy House is one of Antrim's most celebrated landmarks with its beautifully restored buildings nested in the award winning Castle Ground Gardens. Sir John Clotworthy was actually responsible for constructing Antrim Castle in 1662 and his name remains synonymous with this building to this day. Over the years Clotworthy House has served the community under various guises, more notably as a cinema, and latterly as a visitor centre, theatre and Art Gallery. With history, entertainment, education and service to the community at its core, Clotworthy sits very well as a meaningful addition to the Antrim Grammar School House System.
Massereene - We Care Together
Massereene Hospital is a familiar memory for many whose grandparents benefitted from the kind and inviting atmosphere that prevailed there - the name conjures up thoughts of care. A bigger picture around the name does exist though - Massereene is embedded firmly in Antrim’s History as the remnants of Antrim Castle located in the Castle Grounds were once known as Massereene Castle. Various Viscounts assumed control of large areas around Antrim more commonly known as Upper and Lower Massereene. The name is very much a part of Antrim’s history and we are proud to embrace it as a House name that both parents and students will recognise for a many positive reasons.
Tardree - We Grow Together
Every town or city has its own woodlands and Antrim is no exception with Tardree Forest as an imposing and well placed backdrop to our own school campus. As one of Northern Ireland’s oldest forests it has a multitude of trails and walkways which prove popular with those looking for a change of scene and peaceful downtime. For us Tardree is a great symbol of growth, recovery and replenishment and brings balance to the other powerful symbols in our House System.
Tower - We Are Stronger Together
Antrim's Round Tower is a very recognisable landmark in Antrim town and beyond. Many tales are told of the Tower’s history, mainly as a safe haven for those in its proximity from Nordic invaders who sought to plunder and destroy. The Tower’s external structure is still intact and a great testament to the medieval design and construction. What a fine emblem of strength and protection which sits proudly adjacent to Antrim Grammar School. Yet again we are proud to adopt this symbol of longevity and strength as an appropriate House name all students and parents can associate with.
Bringing it together - We Are House Proud
The drive of our leaders is vital to the success of any area of school life which relies on motivated and enthusiastic participation from our students. Each House has a proud and passionate teacher leader accompanied by a student House Captain and Vice-House Captain. House Leaders run regular House Assemblies, motivate students, organise their teams and contribute to the overall vision of our House System.
Student Vice Captains
Miss H Fair
Miss S Watson
Mr M Gillen
Miss A Dark
Jamie S Lagan
House Points will be based and calculated on our students’ performance in five key areas outlined in this section. Sport will serve as a major contributor to overall House activity and scoring, although our House System is designed with a strong intent to involve all students and represent the broad variety of interests, abilities and passions that exist within our school community.
The Five Areas
Behaviour and Character
At key stages within the academic year we formally acknowledge the Attainment, Improvement and Resilience of our students.
AIR is already embedded within our program of Rewards and Recognition and therefore becomes a natural addition to our House System. Points for Academic performance and Improvement are calculated according to examination results and Resilience Awards are decided by Year Tutors for those students who have displayed particular strength and impressed in this area.
All departments integrate some level of competition into their yearly activity to provide an extra layer of motivation and fun into Teaching and Learning. Competitions may run over a period of weeks and involve a healthy degree of intense student involvement or perhaps run during a class whereby many students get to take part and the results are immediate. In either scenario results are recorded and allocated to each overall House tally. Points are proportional to the level of student commitment required for the Departmental Competition.
Behaviour and Character
All of our students carry a Character Card which can be signed at any stage during the school day by a member of staff should they witness notably excellent student behaviour. Character Card signings are logged weekly against every student and serve to build a picture of their character and ongoing school behaviour. Each House will use the positive Character Card signings as an additional method of adding points to their overall tally. Our students understand the principles that underpin this current approach to rewarding positive behaviour and therefore it nests perfectly within the overall House System - a simple act of kindness will contribute to your House total.
We have always valued and encouraged student and staff involvement in Extra-Curricular activity. We are proud that their consistent and ongoing commitment continually serves to provide an exciting and varied annual programme in this area. Student success is marked at key stages and their contribution formally acknowledged. Any student who takes part at any level will now acquire points which will be added to their House tally. As students continue their involvement throughout their school life their House points will continue to be accumulated and added to their overall House total.
As teachers we always seek to get all students involved in our planned activities. At the core of what we stand for is a strong sense and understanding of inclusivity. Equally we can all recite tales of that one student who was cajoled into taking part in a House sporting event and it was that one-off encouragement that sparked a love affair with the sport that lasted their lifetime. We believe that House Sport will broaden our inclusivity, develop collegiality, encourage belonging and give many students the chance to lead. Rugby, Hockey, Netball, Cricket and Athletics will be at the centre of House Team activity but opportunities will not be limited to these particular areas. Students will be encouraged to organise and run any House sporting event with a sport they love and enjoy. Vibrant activity in this area will provide a multitude of leadership opportunities across junior and senior school.