House System

The House system would like to introduce the House Official teams for 2023-2024. The process of being selected as an official incorporates various different aspects from their initial application, interviews with their Head of House, votes from their fellow year 12 peers, a hustings to their Houses during assemblies and feedback from staff. The number of applicants for each House showed how popular the House system is at Pate’s as an opportunity for pupils to develop their leadership skills and work hard to lead their House to winning the House cup! These groups of leaders will work together over the next year on the various House events including writing scripts for House drama, leading rehearsals for House music, organising public speaking teams and building strong relationships with their Houses. We all wish each set of 12 officials all the luck over this year and thank them for all their hard work.

University Challenge

The annual Senior University Challenge House event took place in March with great enthusiasm from the teams and audience.  Mr Nicholas was our very own Jeremy Paxman, and he guided the teams through several rounds of challenging questions covering many school subjects as well as some tricky questions from our sponsors.  The addition of musical instruments in place of buzzers provided plenty of musical entertainment! 

The tightly fought contest was won by Pembroke who had this to say: 

“It was a great experience to go up in front of everyone and flex our trivia skills. Winning took effort from all four of us and, while it was a close competition, I’m very glad we ended up coming out on top and in the end winning the house cup. Good luck to all the competing houses next year!”  Alex Daniels


This years House year ran from April 2022 to March 2023 allowing the hand over to the new year 12 House officials to take place before year 13 went on study leave for their exams.

Throughout the year pupils can take part in around 19 different events ranging from not only the 5 main events of music, drama, art, swimming and sports day but also events such as public speaking, bake off, dance, team sports, senior University Challenge and brand new event for this year, a junior maths challenge for years 7 and 8! This years results were closer than ever, with 3 Houses battling it out in the final few events. A huge well done to all the pupils who took part in House events this year.

The winners of this years House cups were PEMBROKE House! Congratulations!!

Pembroke’s Head Officials, John and Mara, and their classmates were the very first Pembroke students when the House was introduced seven years ago – when Pembroke consisted only of Y7 & Y12 students! It is wonderful that they have marked their coming of age so spectacularly. 

Thank you to all the year 13 House officials and the Heads of House for all their hard work throughout the year. We look forward to another exciting year of House events for 2023-2024.

Head officials Beaufort: Being a Beaufort Head Official has been the highlight of our time at Pates- acting as a culmination of our unbridled enthusiasm for all things ‘Stone Cold Steve’. In our leadership, we have been able to pass on our fondest memories with the new generation of Beaufort and create even better ones. The post- House Drama and House Music dance parties in PAB and the memories from Treasure Island are something unique to Beaufort that emblemise the dedication and house spirit intrinsic in our blue family that we were so lucky to be a part of. The ability to continue classic Beaufort traditions, such as the Steve chant and the head official ice bucket challenge, enabled Beaufort’s house spirit to grow stronger than ever and we could not be more grateful and proud to have been leaders of this house. (Susie Hedderman and Harry Mason – Head officials)

Head officials Gloucester: Our time as House officials has had its fair share of ups and downs, from the lows of filling in signup forms and data sheets to the extreme highs of seeing our house music come together on the final night (still think we were robbed). But overall its been a great experience that’s helped us to develop our skills and enjoy ourselves. Hopefully you guys had a little fun too! (James Clark – Head Official)

Head officials Pembroke: Over this past year, being part of Pembroke and leading the house as house officials has been such an amazing opportunity that has given me so many unforgettable memories and experiences. With many of us being the first students in Pembroke it has truly felt as if we have grown up with the house and it has been such a privilege to be part of Pembroke. I think if you told any of us that we would be able to finish our time in Pembroke by winning house drama, art and music as well as winning Pembroke’s first house cup I don’t think any of us would have believed you! 

Over the years, Pembroke has given me so many amazing memories that will stick with me long after I have left Pate’s which I think is testament to the House system.

A massive thank you to my fellow house officials for making this year such a rewarding experience, Mrs Shelmerdine for your amazing support – we couldn’t have done it without you, and finally everybody in Pembroke for making our time as house officials the most amazing and rewarding experience. (John Li – Head official)

This year has been a wonderful opportunity to experience the house system from an angle I couldn’t possibly have imagined in lower school. A humongous thank you to Mrs Shelmerdine, for the unwavering support and feather boas, my fellow house officials, for their dedication, every member of Pembroke, for their belief in the house, and the other houses, for their friendly rivalry making us up our game. Good luck to next years house officials! Enjoy! (Mara Geracitano – Head Official)

Head officials Richmond: It’s been a real honour to lead Richmond this past year. Everyone in the house has been so enthusiastic and we really appreciate everyone’s effort. Highlights of the year include winning Sports Day and House Dance, and despite the outcome, House Drama. It was so rewarding to see our ideas and hard work come to life on stage and we have loved working with such a talented house. We wish the new officials the best of luck next year and can’t wait to come back to see the next House Drama! (Tosca Knight and Edward Banbury – Head officials)

Head officials York: Taking on the role of York head officials for 2022/23 has been amazing and we can both agree that it was the highlight of our Pates experience! House Drama was probably our most enjoyable event, getting to see the hard work of the team and the younger years pay off was so rewarding. Additionally, our victory in House Bake off was of course a great moment! Being part of this year’s house official team has been such a privilege and we are so proud of what the incredible Yorkies have achieved this year! #Do it for Dodds <3  (Meg Ellicott and Hardy Burwell – Head officials)


Public Speaking Results

Lower School House Public Speaking 2023 was open to Y7, 8 & 9, and there were polished performances from all the teams.  All had been well-prepared by their House Officials, who were there supporting them.  There was a great atmosphere, with competitors delivering engaging speeches, thoughtful questions and calm and professional chairmanship.  All showed superb levels of mental agility and composure, well beyond their years, as they responded to one another’s points.  CONGRATULATIONS to overall winners – PEMBROKE!  Very well done indeed to the following individuals: Best Chair – Charlton Cooper (7P), Best Speaker – Mahin Premkumar (8P), and Best Questioner – Seren Ingram-Cooke (8B).