An important element of student life at Blackfriars is the House System which provides welfare and support within the context of a progressive student development model.
Upon arrival at Blackfriars, boys are allocated to a House – one of four in the Primary School; one of eight in the Secondary School. The Blackfriars House System is rich in tradition, with boys aligned to the same house as their brothers and their fathers where there is a prior connection. In their Houses, boys are encouraged to meet and interact with those from other year levels and become involved in intra- and inter-House activities that promote friendly competition and cooperation.
Students arriving at Blackfriars in the earliest years of the school belonged to one of the three original houses: Candler (Red), Dowling (Blue) and Spence (Gold). These houses were named for men who played a prominent part in the early life of the Catholic Church and the establishment of the Dominican order in Australia. As the school grew, a fourth house, Cussen (White), was added in 1961, following the same naming tradition already established.
These four houses live on in the Primary School today and their original flags are on display in the O’Rorke Building, home to the Primary School administration.
Each of the Primary School Houses comprises student representation from Reception to Year 6. As well as providing a basis for Pastoral Care activities across year levels, the Primary School Houses form an important part of the annual Primary Sports Day and Swimming Carnival. The St Dominic Spirit Shield is awarded to the Primary School House that displays a positive attitude toward enhancing learning throughout the year.
During 1986-87, the current vertical house system was introduced in the Senior School, with the creation of the eight houses we have today. This unique system places approximately 20 students from across all senior year levels (7 to 12) into a single Home Group, allowing students from higher year levels to mix with younger students acting as ‘buddies’ or role models. Three or four Home Groups are linked to form a House, which is the basis for the Senior School Pastoral Care program. Boys remain in their same Home Group throughout their time in the Secondary School, enabling the Home Group Teacher to monitor a student’s individual progress across the years and provide a sense of security and continuity.
The Senior School Houses are named for prominent Dominican men from throughout the history of the order whose life works were deemed as having a particular resonance for young men living in contemporary society. Their flags and colours are linked to the man for whom they are named.
Secondary Houses are regularly involved in a variety of Pastoral Care activities, liturgies and community outreach programs as well as competing at the annual Athletics and Swimming carnivals and for Academic shields.