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Harry Potter Inspired Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet

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(Image: Jakob and Anna from Pavlov House)

Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet (IEGS) in Stockholm, Sweden, turned to Harry Potter for inspiration two years ago as it sort to maintain its small-school feel as it grew from 200 students to 700.

Now the day before Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet celebrates its 10th Anniversary (May 7, 2010), students in each House are pulling together to prepare the celebrations.

"Just as Harry, Ron and Hermione got a wonderful sense of community belonging to Griffindor House in the famous children's stories by J K Rowling, we wanted to create a stronger sense of community in our school as we grew," explains Dr Margret Benedikz, principal of IEGS.

"We were transitioning from premises in Enskede to Teaterhögskolan's old building on Allhelgonagatan and increasing our intake. I decided to introduce four Houses because with a bigger school it's important to get a sense of belonging," says Dr Benedikz.

The four Houses are called: King, Pavlov, Currie and Russell after the four Nobel Prize Winners Martin Luther King, Bertand Russell, Ivan Pavlov and Marie Currie.

"We wanted names that had a strong Swedish connection but were also outstanding international academics," explains Dr Benedikz.

Each student and member of staff belongs to a House.

"Throughout the school year we have inter-House competitions," says Dr Benedikz. "The inter-House competition was amazingly successful. We've also had inter-House chess, ping-pong, debate, battle-of-the-bands, cross-country running and football competitions."

"The students are extremely proud of their House," says Mr Arlo Knox, Pavlov's Housemaster. "This week we had an official House photograph and all the House came to school in the House tie. It was brilliant."

Mr Knox attended a British public school he knows all about the House-system. "This is completely new for Swedish students," he says. "They've only heard of Houses through Harry Potter but from the way they've embraced their school tie and House competitions I can see they love it. "

With the 10th Anniversary Celebrations on Friday, May 7, each House is pulling together to make sure the day goes with a bang.

"We've got bands performing, a drama performances, photo exhibition, art auction and disco," says Phil Spires, IEGS vice-principal. "It's so exciting to see a big school pulling together to make the day a success."

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