We are always looking to improve the school experience for our students, in ways beyond academic expectations. To help them grow while enjoying life, challenging themselves, having fun and new experiences, working with others and supporting charitable endeavours. We want to help our students become well rounded individuals who can showcase their non-academic abilities as much as those demonstrated in the classroom.
In February 2022, we launched a new scheme to do just this. Welcome, to the Bramhall High House System. A place that gives every child the opportunity to flourish in their own right, supported by a cohesive family of staff and students from every background and age, to cheer them on in healthy competition whilst raising money for local charities.
The Houses and what they mean
Being based in Stockport, we wanted to celebrate the amazing achievements of some local Stopfordians, inspiring our children to follow in the footsteps of some of Stockport’s greatest individuals. We voted on the following people from our history, all of who have incredible stories that demonstrate resilience, respect and excellence.
Named after James Conway (1922-1942), a volunteer for one of the most daring operations of the second world war. Operation Frankton. James volunteered as a Marine commando to help break the Nazi supply chains. Most of their resources flowed through Bordeaux, a major sea port in France. His mission, along with 11 other volunteers, was to canoe up the river Gironde to Bordeaux harbour, plant bombs on the ships there and escape across land to safety. The odds of completing the mission were slim, the chances of escaping successfully even lower, however, out of the 6 canoes that left the submarine, 2 made it to the docks and planted limpet mines, blowing up a number of German ships. Unfortunately, James didn’t make it to the docks, his canoe sinking on the way. He managed to make it most of the way to Spain before being captured, tortured and eventually executed. Conway embodies a fighting spirit, someone who is willing to dedicate himself to a bigger cause, something that would improve the lives of others. He was kind and resilient and believed that he could make a difference. His sacrifice is one we shouldn’t forget, and one that can inspire us to give a part of ourselves to those in need, knowing that our time and effort can change the world for other people.
Bill Oliver (1931-1973) was a policeman in Stockport at the time of the Stockport Air Disaster, 1967. A plane coming back from Majorca lost the use of its engines while flying over Congleton and began to descend quickly. The Pilot made a crash landing just behind the town hall, managing to avoid houses and factories. Bill saw the plane crash and was the first person on the scene. Despite incredible personal danger, Bill rushed into the burning wreckage and started pulling people free. Along with PC John Heath, Bill continued to save passengers until they realised the fuel lines had caught fire and the plane exploded, freezing their rescue efforts. 12 people survived the crash, without Bill not one of them would have made it out. Bill showed incredible courage that day, he conquered his fear and took an opportunity to do something wonderful. Sometimes our fears are like walls that confine our lives, having the courage to overcome them will mean the chance to flourish, whether it is something for yourself, or something for others. The opportunities are there, if we only have the strength to take them.
Hannah Winbolt (1851-1928) came from the humblest beginnings, working as a child in a cotton factory, then as a silk weaver. On her way to sell her silk, she met a woman called Lydia Becker at Stockport train station when she was just a teenager. Lydia was a suffragette and convinced Hannah to join the cause. Hannah went on to become one of the most prominent and skilful activists of her time, a national hero in the fight for women’s rights and the vote. At the time of joining, the suffrage movement was still in its infancy, and any groups of political influence were solely comprised of members of the upper class, a group of people Hannah was definitely not a part of. However, her determination, tenacity, incredible oratory prowess, humor and dedication meant she rose through the ranks and became the sole working women on the executive committee of the Womens Liberal Federation. She had the ear of Parliament, and presented a number of petitions on behalf of thousands of working-class people. Hannah is not generally well known, but her contribution to society is unparalleled. She inspired the likes of the more famous Emeline Pankhurst and paved the way for the eventual emancipation of all women. Hannah came from nothing, the poorest in society, and went on to become an astounding leader. She changed the hopes and dreams of those around her and shows us that no matter who you are, or where you come from, you have the power to influence the world if you have the strength to undertake the task.
Arthur Wharton (1865-1930) was born in Jamestown Ghana and came to the UK to be a priest, however, his true passion lay in his sporting abilities. Arthur was one of the fastest people alive and became a prominent athlete in the late 19th century. He turned his skills to various sports, before settling on a career as a footballer. He played for a number of teams, Stockport County being one of them. Wharton’s influence on the game cannot be understated. During a time of incredible racism, Wharton applied his trade throughout barrages of comments thrown by supports and opposition, choosing what must have been an incredibly difficult life. However, he persisted, and in the 1890’s he made two of the biggest breakthroughs in sporting history. In 1889 he played for Rotherham and was paid professionally, becoming the worlds first professional black footballer. Later on, he signed for Sheffield United and competed in the top-flight division of English football, being the first black player to ever do so. Arthur shouldered the burden of being first, but allowed others to follow in his footsteps, so that they may not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the quality of their skills. Players like Rashford and Sterling still experience racism, and it is up to all of us to speak out when we hear it, so that everyone has the opportunity to flourish, making the world a better place for us all.
Putting the vision into practice
Our focus is to provide activities and opportunities in a variety of specialisms throughout the year, while encouraging personal development and participation in school life. To earn points for their house, there are 3 avenues, tied together in their similarity that they are all extra-curricular, none academic enterprises:
1) Take part in extra-curricular activites: whether it is a music lesson, drama workshop or sports practice, supporting a school show or helping at open evening, the pupils will receive house points.
2) Take part in an organised house activity or competition: Sports day, quizzes, spelling bee’s or maths challenges, held at lunchtime or afterschool in which healthy competition takes place against other students in the school.
3) Supporting others: If time is given up for charity work, or to help others in the school such as being a library ambassador, organising bake sales and being a literacy or maths tutor for the younger years.
There are 2 house captains for each house in each year group. Chosen by the Head of House at the start of the year. They are responsible for gathering teams to compete at different activities throughout the year, and drive the charity work aspect of the system. We have endeavoured to provide an opportunity for every child to partake in something they enjoy, but if it is not on the list above, then suggestions are most welcome.
When are the activities?
The activities are organised on a half-termly basis. The pupils will be told what activities are coming up and they can put their name forwards via their house captain. Activities take place either lunchtime or after school.
Thank you for taking the time in reading this. We are always looking to improve the system and when new activities or changes come about, they will be updated here. We look forwards to seeing participation in all the amazing activities organised and have a healthy, happy school.
Mr G Butcher (House Co-ordinator)