Our House System
Central to Wolverhampton Girls’ High Schools ethos and traditions is a strong House System.
The school is organised into four houses: Audley, Ferrers, Stafford and Paget. Each House has 8 or 9 forms which comprise of a small number of students from each year group across the 11-18 range.
The House System now provides a platform for students to work together and compete against each other’s houses in cultural, creative, sporting and academic events. Students are able to display their talents, work hard and most importantly, have fun.
We feel this system will bring a stronger sense of community to our school, helping us achieve the following:
A greater sense of family environment in our school, where everyone is approachable and there are no barriers between the year groups
Peer mentoring naturally occurring as older students talk to younger students
More time for tutors to speak to students as an individual, helping smaller groups of students with a particular issue as opposed to 29 from the same year group at the same time
Increased leadership opportunities to students
Greater opportunity for friendships in other year groups
A growing sense of confidence in younger students due to positive relationships with older tutees.
Stronger bonds with form tutors who oversee the well-being, achievement and development of students for more than typical one or two years
A greater sense of House spirt and competition through sports, arts, quizzes with a greater sense of loyalty and responsibility to the house and other students within it.
The four houses were successfully developed in the summer of 1926. The houses were named Audley, Ferrers, Paget and Stafford after old Staffordshire families, and the house colours were adopted as Audley - gold, Ferrers – red, Paget – green and Stafford – blue.
The village of Audley (Aldithley) was first mentioned in the Domesday Book. Henry de Aldithley was Sheriff of Shropshire and Staffordshire from 1216 until 1221. Heighley Castle at Madeley was completed by the family in 1233 and was one of their ancestral homes for over 300 years. Sir James de Audley fought alongside King Edward III in the French wars. When the Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter were created in 1348, James was of the first to be appointed. At the battle of Poitiers in 1356 he was severely wounded, but after the victory was told by Edward that he had been the bravest knight on his side. He was later made Governor of Aquitaine. In 1459 James Touchet, fifth Baron Audley, commanded the Lancastrian force at the Battle of Blore Heath, one of the first major battles of the Wars of the Roses, where he was killed. A stone cross known as Audley’s Cross still stands on the site of the battle to this day. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the Audleys remained royal supporters and in 1601, George, 11th Baron, was made Earl of Castlehaven for his services after he was wounded at Kinsale. Thomas, 23rd Baron Audley, married Sarah Spencer-Churchill, becoming Sir Winston Churchill’s son-in-law.
Originally from the town of Ferrieres in Normandy, which was known for its iron-working industry (the French ‘ferrer’ meaning to shoe a horse and being linked with the English ‘farrier’), the de Ferrers family settled in Staffordshire and prospered, acquiring castles at Tutbury and Chartley. Along with his wife, Henry de Ferrers founded Tutbury priory. His son Robert was a leader of the English at the Battle of the Standard in 1138, following which King Stephen made him an Earl. After championing the cause of the Barons against Henry III, Robert Ferrers, Earl of Derby, fell out of favour and Edward, son of Henry III, laid waste his lands in Staffordshire and Derbyshire and destroyed Tutbury Catle. The present Earl Ferrers is descended from Sir Thomas Shirley who was famous for his valour and services to King Edward III against the French. His son was Henry IV’s Grand Falconer and was killed fighting alongside the King at Shrewsbury in 1403, having been mistaken for him. Sir Ralph Shirley was one of the chief commanders at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. In 1500 Sir Edward Ferrers, who was the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, married the daughter of Nicholas Brome, owner of the manor of Baddesley Clinton, which remained in the Ferrers family until 1940 and is now owned by the National Trust.
The Paget family came from Wednesbury. William Paget was Serjeant at Mace of the City of London and his son, Sir William Paget, was one of the closest advisers to King Henry VIII, becoming a Knight of the Garter in 1547. In 1549 he was ennobled and given the title Baron Paget of Beaudesert (Beaudesert being an area of land bordering on Cannock Chase). He was a member of Queen Mary’s Privy Council and became Lord Privy Seal in 1556. His younger son, the third Baron Paget, was attainted on suspicion of being involved in plots against Elizabeth I and his title and property were forfeited. However, in 1604 James I restored the fourth Baron, William, to his rank and honours. The fifth Baron, also William, commanded a Royalist regiment at the Battle of Edge Hill during the English Civil War. The eighth Baron was succeeded by his cousin whose eldest son Henry William was a prominent military commander who gained fame at the Battle of Waterloo where he lost his leg. A few weeks after the battle he was made Marquess of Anglesey, becoming known at the ‘Waterloo Marquess’ because he contributed so significantly to the victory. As of 2011, the titles of Marquess of Anglesey and Baron Paget of Beaudesert are held by George Charles Henry Victor Paget, the seventh Marquess.
Ralph de Stafford fought at Crecy in 1346 and took part in the siege of Calais, being present when the town surrendered. Chosen as one of the original knights of the Garter, he was created first Early of Stafford in 131. The second Earl, Hugh de Stafford, also served in the Hundred Years’ War against the French and later become prominent in politics, being appointed as one of the four Lords on the committee in the ‘Good’ Parliament. In 1385, when Richard II went north to invade Scotland, Stafford went with him. However, after his son’s death, he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and died on the journey home. The fifth Earl, Edmund, having married the daughter and eventual heiress of the Duke of Buckingham, having achieved a strong position under Henry VIII, was beheaded in 1521 following private accusations, which had aroused the king’s suspicions. During the Civil War, the Stafford family was on the side of the king. Lady Isabella Stafford was besieged at Stafford Castle by a small Parliamentary force whereupon she soon surrendered without resistance. The castle and the walls of Stafford were destroyed.