Our House System

At OIS, we want to develop the leadership potential of our students and to foster a friendly spirit of challenge and competition. House competitions give students an opportunity for both leadership (Captains and Vice-captains) and a way to challenge other students in an organized environment.

On joining OIS, all families are assigned to one of our four Houses – Kingfisher, Phantom, João Baptista or Vulpes. During the school year, there are numerous House competitions in which students gain points for their Houses. We offer a mixture of sporting, artistic, academic and many other competitions. At the end of the year, the highly-prized House Trophy is awarded.

Which House will you be in?

One team members gives advice.


Named of course after the bird that lives on the river here at our school. Seeing a kingfisher is a moment of magic, as a blur of azure and orange flashes by. They are rarely seen nowadays as the river has changed, but occasionally the observant individual will be rewarded. Kingfisher students, on the other hand, are everywhere in our House competitions!


Fantastic Mr Fox, wearing red and always with a clever plan. Our beautiful wooded valley is a natural home for one of nature’s more cunning animals, alongside his favourite food, rabbits. To see either of them now you must silently camp through the dawn or dusk, and even then luck may not be on your side. Mr Fox knows you’re watching! Vulpes means fox in Portuguese, and vulpes students are just as quick and bright as their namesake.

João Baptista

Who?? Good question! A man of some mystery and power. We know that João Baptista Sinel de Cordes came to Portugal from Flanders during the reign of Filipe III. Some say he was a tax collector, some say he was a pirate, some say they’re both the same thing anyway! The emblem for the House is a caravela, the ship of the golden age, and you have to wonder how many tax collectors needed one. Pirates on the other hand… Regardless of João Baptista’s profession, those in the yellow shirts firmly believe we are all in their house (the Palace) and that they are the boss!


Much as you would wish to see a kingfisher, you wouldn’t want to see a phantom! The heart of our school is the 17th century palace, home of João Baptista from Flanders. Any building of this age carries a mantle of history, of lives and loves lived and lost, and our palace is no exception. Quite whom the phantom is has been lost over time. We don’t even know if this phantom is a knight or a lady, but we do know they are rumored to roam the Palace on dark nights, as though searching for something that is long gone! OIS Phantoms wear white and are definitely not prone to gliding noiselessly around.