Four rivers running through Oxfordshire are uniting pup- ils at a secondary school.

Gosford Hill School, in Kidlington, has brought in a house system to bring students from different years together and foster team spirit.

Staff, pupils and governors have all been allocated a house, from Cherwell, Evenlode, Thames and Windrush. Each house is made up of pupils from all seven year groups, aged 11 to 18.

Assistant headteacher Richard Belmont said previously only pupils from the same year group were in forms together.

He said: "The new system has really given the school an extra dimension. It creates a family feel. Each house has a nominated charity, for example.

"Students can also gain house points by taking part in extra-curricular activities or house sports. At the end of the year, we'll add all the points up and award a house cup."

Mr Belmont said the house system was still at an embryonic stage and students would help decide future developments.

Year 10 and 11 pupils said the new system, with some adjustment, had brought together pupils from different years.

Cherwell member Millie Herbert, 15, said: "Initially I didn't like it — I preferred it the way it was before.

"But I think it's been really good for the younger pupils.

"When you come to school for the first time, you don't know anyone. It can be very scary."

Evenlode member Lucy Briggs, 15, said: "It gets us to communicate with more people. Before you would only communicate with people in your own year."

Thames member Sam Long, 15, said: "It got a mixed reception from some Year 11 pupils, but I've definitely noticed Year Seven pupils are more confident."

Windrush member Jamie Drummond, 15, said: "At first I didn't really think it would go well at all. I thought maybe it would fall apart and there would be little groups within the forms.

"But it's working well now, better than I thought it would."

Cherwell head and drama teacher Ellen Woodrow added: "The atmosphere in the school has changed. The corridors are much calmer and the children are working together."