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Our House System

When SGGS moved to a vertical tutoring system in 2011, it brought with it the opportunity for students to choose new names for Houses to mark the new way of things.  They chose constellations because they loved the idea that no matter how many miles or years separate the SGGS community, we are always under the same sky.

Cygnus, Orion, Phoenix and Ursa represent the four cornerstones of Stratford Girls’ Grammar School and are the mechanism by which our pastoral care is delivered.  They are a source of identity, an opportunity for merit and praise, an exposure to the qualities of leadership, and a chance to contribute to something bigger.  This, alongside the friendly rivalry for the termly House Cup, means that our House system is incredibly important to each student from the moment they join SGGS, and further cements her feeling of pride at being part of a community that dates back over half a century.

Whilst remaining consistent with the overarching values of the entire school, each House has a unique identity, motto and mascot. This is reinforced in Tutor Groups every day and through regular House assemblies, competitions and quizzes spanning every Year group.


  • House Colour:  Blue
  • House Mascot:  Swan
  • House Motto:  There is no ‘i’ in Cygnus, but there is an ‘Us’

Mr Flaherty, Head of Cygnus


  • House Colour:  Yellow
  • House Mascot:  Lion
  • House Motto:  Our resilience inspires others now.

Miss Dent, Head of Orion




  • House Colour:  Green
  • House Mascot:  Phoenix
  • House Motto:  Still We Rise


Mrs Henderson, Head of Phoenix


  • House Colour:  Red
  • House Mascot:  Ursula the Bear
  • House Motto:  Creativity, Teamwork, Resilience

Mr Giles, Head of Ursa

Every student, from arrival in Year 7 or Year 12, to graduation in Year 13, is assigned a House. Introducing younger and older students to each other and regularly connecting within each House helps to create a bond over a common purpose. This vertical system also allows Tutors to give individual students more attention when they need it, as well as creating further mentoring opportunities for students looking to gain leadership skills and confidence.

The student voice is essential.  Through House Councils, students are introduced to an organisational structure and authority beyond their relationships with their teachers and Tutors.  With a clear chain of representatives in the House Captains and Year 11 Prefects, students experience the responsibilities, achievements, setbacks and progression integral to continued growth and development.

The Brownhill Cup and House Shield

We believe in healthy competition and so do our students!  We actively encourage students to celebrate their own successes as well as the successes of others. 

Our Merits system sees students acquire points towards a House total, ensuring that recognition for hard work generates widespread acclaim amongst peers.

The Brownhill Cup is awarded at the end of each term to the House with the most Merits.

Our House competitions lead to the awarding of House points.  These might be awarded for  sports achievements, music and drama performances, art creations, academic effort, contribution to school life and much more. 

The House Shield is awarded every term for the House with the most House points.


Current Holder of the Brownhill Cup:  URSA

Current Holder of the House Shield:  CYGNUS


The Brownhill Trophy

At the end of every year, the Brownhill Trophy is awarded to the House with the largest overall score accumulated over three terms, combining the Brownhill Cup and House Shield.  It brings with it coveted bragging rights for the winners and contributes to the friendly rivalry over the following year.

Summer 2022 Holder of the Brownhill Trophy:  URSA


How are points added up?



Winners - 4 points

2nd - 3 points

3rd  - 2 points

4th - 1 point



Winners - 4 points

2nd - 3 points

3rd  - 2 points

4th - 1 point

end of summer term

The Brownhill Trophy is won by the House with the most overall points 

In event of a tie, the House with most overall Merits wins. 


Key contacts

Head of House House Email
Mr Nathan Flaherty Cygnus
Miss Emily Dent Orion
Mrs Natasha Henderson Phoenix
Mr Dom Giles Ursa
Dr Suzanne Griffiths