Kirk Balk Academy

A great place to learn

House System

Vertical House System at Kirk Balk Academy


At the heart of our actions at school lies a very clear principle -


"The welfare of others is the first concern of all and the education of every child is held to be of equal value in the community academy."


We have fantastic students, supportive parents and a staff who work exceptionally hard for the students in their care, going the extra mile for each and every one of them. Improving standards of achievement is a key priority for all schools and we believe that there is no better vehicle for students to develop their leadership skills than a house system which includes "vertical" tutor groups.

Benefits of our vertical house system


Improved academic tutoring. By reducing the number of students in a particular year group in each tutor group they will have the attention of their tutor when they most need it.

It develops peer support / mentoring. We know students can learn from each other. Our pupils are a vast and largely untapped resource. They have a fantastic amount to offer in terms of coaching and mentoring each other. Peer coaching and mentoring leads to a greater capacity for students to learn independently, to take responsibility for their own learning and ultimately achieve better grades.

It gives students of all ages leadership opportunities. Developing leadership skills enables our students to stand out from their peers from outside Kirk Balk Academy even more effectively and will also equip them for the reality of post-16 learning and the world of work.

Increased opportunity for competition and rewards. House competitions run regularly and cater for different talents. Rewards and commendations are tied into the house achievements.

Working with people of different ages is a more natural working and social environment and prepares pupils for the world of work. We have created an enhanced culture across our school community, ensuring that students do not mix and operate solely within their age group but rather experience life as it is in a family and the outside world.

There are students in each form group that have gone through all stages at school. Each pupil will be aware of what is happening in every year group. For example, KS3 pupils will be more aware of the pressures and stresses that are put on the KS4 pupils in their exam periods, making them more sensitive to these pupils, as well as preparing them for that stage of their school life.

It creates a greater sense of community and "family". Research which shows that students feel part of a close family within their vertical tutor group and part of what might be seen as extended family within their House. In many ways, it is a more "natural" environment and is more consistent with the world outside school.

How it works


Kirk Balk Academy has 4 houses.

  • Rosalind Franklin House (Red)
  • Pablo Picasso House (Yellow)
  • Leonardo da Vinci House (Green)
  • William Shakespeare House (Blue)

Each house has its own ethos, guiding standards and routines which help develop a family culture.

Tutor groups have around 20 - 22 pupils with no more than 5 or 6 from a single year group. Pupils spend the fifteen minute tutor sessions in their "vertical" tutor group (one of the five sessions a week is a House assembly with year assemblies when necessary).

If you would like more information please contact Mr M Davies

Mr M Davies
Vice-Principal