The House system was established at the outset to encourage involvement in a wide range of activities for large numbers of pupils. There were originally four Houses, each led by a Rector and a team of Tutors. A Tutor was responsible for a group of thirty pupils from all ages in order to create an interest by senior pupils in the younger ones.
The four Houses were named after people or families that were symbols of excellence: Fry, Huxley, John Miles and Windsor. At the time it was felt most important to emphasise the role of women, such as Elizabeth Fry, while the new Elizabethan Age had not long begun (Windsor). The Huxley family had provided notable authors and scientists, Elspeth and Thomas, while Julian was prominent in the 1950's.
John Miles, a former Headmaster of Bishopshalt School, was a much admired ‘grand old man’ of education in Uxbridge who agreed that his name be used, provided that it was never shortened to Miles! On his death John Miles bequeathed a sum of money to be used annually for awards at Bishopshalt and Vyners to pupils who had offered outstanding service to the school and community.
When the school expanded to five forms of entry in the 1970s, a fifth House was created and named after Group Captain G L Cheshire, responsible for setting up hundreds of homes throughout the world, while his wife, Sue Ryder, is the guiding spirit of the Ryder Foundation. In expanding to six forms of entry in 1996, a sixth House was named after Charlotte Gell, a local Ickenham philanthropist of the nineteenth century.