House System at DESC

Pastoral care is something that we hear a lot about in education. In a broad sense, most parents can articulate what pastoral care is and recognise why it matters, but at DESC our approach is unique. 

The House system at DESC is part of the fabric of the college and creates communities within our student body, helping our students experience a greater sense of belonging as part of a team. The college is split into four mini schools; Desert, Earth, Sky and Coast and each student is allocated to one House at the moment of their enrollment. Each House has a pastoral leadership team which consists of a Head of House, Deputy Head of House, House Parent Liaison and a team of Tutors and Support Tutors. House are identified by a variety of factors including, house colour, logo, mascot, ethos and values. 

Desert House Earth House Sky House Coast House


Each morning, Students will spend 25 minutes with their tutor group within their House environment before they integrate with the rest of their year group for their timetabled lessons. Students will have learning experiences with students from all four Houses. 

Why do we have a House system?

At DESC, we want all members of our community, staff, students and parents to be able to thrive. Wellbeing is central to everything we do at DESC and it permeates throughout the college, particularly through the House system. The personalised approach ensures that we get to know all students exceptionally well, with a focus on building teacher-student relationships along with character development.

In addition to the House Prize Day ceremonies that take place annually at the end of the academic year, each House has their own set of awards: 

  • Desert House: ‘Desert Demeanour’
  • Earth House: ‘Earth Ethos’
  • Sky House: ‘Sky Star’
  • Coast House: ‘Coast Culture’

Each House awards one student from each Tutor group, every half term. Students receive awards for a number of reasons but are usually based on students demonstrating great character and an outstanding contribution to wider aspects of college life both academically and through their extracurricular enrichment. 

At the end of each term, each House celebrates two Student of the Term awards; one student from Key Stage 3 and on Student from Key Stage 4. 

Houses also highlight those students who have 100% Attendance. 

Why do we focus on character?

At DESC, we do not leave interpersonal skills to chance but seize as many different opportunities to develop these. Whether it is the ‘Like a DESC Student please’ initiative or our repeated references to having good manners or being kind, we are continually trying to build the soft skills of our students to develop them into great people. If you have visited the college, you may have noticed our Character Strengths wheels which are based on the Classification of Character Strengths by the VIA Institute on Character as shown in the picture below:

DESC Character Wheel

Character Strengths are positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel and behave. When you know your best character traits, you can improve your life and thrive. Research has shown that using your character strengths can help improve your relationships, enhance your health and wellbeing and also it can also help to buffer against and overcome problems. At DESC, pastoral staff undertake 1:1 ‘character conversations’ with members of their tutor group, helping the students become more aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses. Our students also engage in DESCoaching and DESCareers programmes, helping them to understand their place in the world and develop meaningful targets to help them succeed. Through the character conversations and coaching sessions, we hope to empower students and encourage them to develop their character strengths with an awareness of their own abilities. Ultimately encourage them to work towards achieving their future ambitions, both personally and academically.