House System

The Elms Academy has a thriving ‘House System’. In their houses, students participate in a range of activities including competitions, sporting events and charity fundraising events. This is designed to encourage students to extend their learning in a range of curriculum areas including art, sport, drama and core subjects, too. Through the House system students develop their sense of community cohesion and responsibility. It provides the framework by which all students are challenged and supported to achieve their best and to help others.

The house system runs vertically (houses consist in pupils from all years in the academy) and is based on our vision for building strong community and character.

Each house has a staff member who is the designated Head of House, as well as a student leadership team for each house.  Each house shield and character quality can be seen below:

  • Named after Henry Thornton who was born in Clapham South in 1750 
  • He was one of the founders of the ’Clapham Sect’ of evangelical reformers and was a foremost campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade 
  • In 1782 Thornton was elected to Parliament for Southwark, a seat he held until the end of his life 
  • Thornton, who was noted for his personal integrity and for his abolitionist views, also donated most of his income to charitable causes 
  • He was committed to the betterment of others at time when most others in a similarly privileged were focused on personal gain 
  • A leading thinker in Economics, he is also credited as one of the founding fathers of the monetary concept of a Central Bank 
  • The current site for The Elms Academy and Lambeth College used to be called Henry Thornton Grammar School. 
  • He was highly respected for his independence, morals and integrity 
  • The Henry Thornton School once stood on the site that The Elms Academy was built. 
  • Named after John Archer who was born in Liverpool in 1863, but moved to Battersea as a young child with his parents 
  • In 1913 he was elected Mayor of Battersea, becoming the first black mayor in London 
  • Committed to improving Civil Rights, he was a notable Pan-Africanist and the founding president of the African Progress Union 
  • During his election campaign he overcame racism and xenophobia by changing the hearts and minds of the local people at the time 
  • He is recognised as ‘Great Briton’ on a stamp in 2013 
  • At his funeral an MP described him as; “one of the largest hearted men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His public spirit had no bounds, he was one who deserved well of the community, for he had served it well” 
  • He celebrated the value of education and became the governor of Battersea Polytechnical school as well as prominent roles in other local groups 
  • Named after Claudia Jones who was born in Port-a-Spain in Trinidad in 1915 but migrated to the USA. She was eventually deported to London because of her commitment to civil rights 
  • A local journalist, she created the Brixton based activism newspaper; ‘The West Indian Gazette’ 
  • Committed to the campaign for equal rights she argued that true freedom lay in the demolition of class, race, and gender oppression 
  • Jones was committed to local action and in 1958 she founded the concept of the Notting Hill Carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture 
  • She was a strong leader who defended and represented the oppressed of her time. She also had an ability to bring people from all walks of life together 
  • Jones was very resilient, she overcame a series of knock-backs including contracting tuberculosis at a young age, growing up in a very poor part of Harlem and being deported from the USA 
  • Celebrated the power of education through her commitment to journalism  
  • Named after Violette Szabo who was born in Paris in 1921 to a British soldier and French mother after WW1 but grew up in Stockwell from the age of 11 
  • She volunteered during WWII and was posted in various areas around the country, continuing to volunteer through her pregnancy and after the birth of her daughter 
  • During the war she was recruited as a field agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) 
  • On her third reconnaissance mission, she was captured in France, where she allegedly killed a Nazi soldier and officer before running out of ammunition 
  • She was interrogated, tortured and was then moved to a German concentration camp where she was executed 
  • For her bravery she was the first British woman to be awarded the George Cross posthumously in December 1946 
  • There is a permanent exhibition about her in Jersey and a mural painted to celebrate her in Stockwell 
  • Szabo was known for her bravery using her fluency in French and English to help others, and her resilience in facing the enemy threat