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Mark Rutherford School host a regional Vex-Robotics competition for Bedfordís future innovators, thinkers and problem solving leaders!

Students from Mark Rutherford School in Bedford, Longsands Academy in St Neots, Sir Harry Smith Academy in Peterborough and St Ivo School in St Ives, Cambridgeshire all collaborated to engage Year 10 students in an extra-curricular Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) project. The teams competed to bring STEAM skills to life by designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. The Vex-Robotic competition is one of the many exciting enrichment activities that broaden the students’ education at Mark Rutherford School.

The competition was organised by The Smallpeice Trust and supported by Villiers Park Educational Trust with funding from ARM in Cambridge, as part of the 2020 STEM scholarship programme. Mr Millard, Headteacher at Mark Rutherford School said” We are proud to host an event which will enrich the learning opportunities for other schools in our local communities. Our aim is to give young people everything they need to think big and dare to imagine; nurturing high-calibre engineering-minded students.”

In recent years Mark Rutherford School has enriched the curriculum offer with many exciting STEAM opportunities becoming the first school in Europe to own a portable planetarium, thanks to a grant from the Harpur Trust. Our aim is to provide the best possible education for each child within the context of a caring and safe community. School life centres on the students and every effort is made to provide them with opportunities and experiences to further their development and be successful both socially and academically.


Meet the STEAM team!

The 2017-2018 school year started with a small group of staff and one of our year 13 STEM scholars forming a new STEAM working party- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. With the inclusion of Art, STEAM is going from strength to strength with our biggest project to date, a cross curricular programme with the whole of the year 7 cohort, to design and build rocket fuelled cars that will be raced on 13th March across the A block playground at up to 70 miles an hour! Each year group at Mark Rutherford School benefits from our STEAM programme through extra-curricular clubs and activities, STEM days or research based projects.


Villiers Park Educational Trust - part of the 2020 ARM STEM scholarship programme

Following the success of our very own Leo Buttice as the first student in the whole of the UK to earn the brand new platinum INVOLVE award from Villiers Park Educational Trust, our liaison with Villiers Park goes from strength to strength. This year see's our latest group of 6th form STEM scholars embarking on new INVOLVE awards, bringing STEAM activities to our local feeder primary schools, running a new science club; the SMARTIES club for years 7 and 8 and working with year 9 students from Goldington Academy on CREST projects. The selection process for the scholars was very tough this year as the focus must lend itself towards supporting disadvantaged students, but following an interview and scholars conference in Foxton, Cambridge in November, we have an amazing group of talented young people to work with.


Whipworm genome Project

The brand new IRIS (Institute for Research in Schools) project, the Whipworm Genome Project, is now very much underway at Mark Rutherford School and recent press from IRIS suggests that this is fast becoming their flagship project and gaining huge interest from the scientific community. Students in years 10 to 13 are taking part in actual research that will feed into a science database and ultimately be used to improve lives of people affected by the deadly whipworm parasite in poorer regions of the world.


Vex Robotics

In October our year 11 robotics club took their VEX clawbots to competition level at Longsands Academy in St Neots. Although we did not win overall, our girls team took 2nd place and the boys team were highly commended for their presentation skills which was part of the competition process.


Faraday Engineering Challenge

On December 13th we hosted a Faraday Engineering event in activities with 2 teams of year 8 students competing against students from Alban Academy in a national competition. I am excited to reveal that a group of year 8 students from Mark Rutherford School won overall on the day.


Arkwright Engineering Scholarships

This year has seen four year 11 students apply for the prestigious Arkwright Engineering Scholarship. Our would be future Engineers, two boys and two girls, are now anxiously awaiting the results of a recent exam to see if they will be placed in the top 2% of students in the country and reap the rewards the scholarship will bring in their 6th form studies next year. We are proud to currently have two Arkwright scholars in year 13, who have had access to work experience, mentors and a bursary to help them through their A level studies.



Smarties club, led by our 6th form STEM scholars, runs every Tuesday night after school and younger students can work towards their bronze CREST award from the British Science association. We are really excited to announce that our 6th form team were awarded a Kick start grant which will allow them to run a family evening in March to showcase the talented work of our SMARTIES club attendees.


Spaceflight club

Our latest club is the brand new 'Spaceflight' club run by three year 11 students and involving 8 year 10 students. The club runs every Monday evening after school and the students are working with STEM ambassadors from Airbus to design and build a weather balloon to take a payload into the stratosphere. The launch date is aimed for July to coincide with our sports day.


The planetarium has landed!

A STEAM update would not be complete without the mention of our very own planetarium ‚Äď we are the first school in the UK to own one- which we were able to buy using the generous donation made by the Harpur Trust. Following a lot of press and publicity on the launch date in January, we are now planning for its use cross curricular and will offer it on loan to local interested schools. Please speak to Mr Betts if you would like any information on this amazing opportunity.


March dates for your diary:

8th March- We are holding our Engineering Skills network evening from 6.30 to 8pm in activities. As well as local Engineering companies, our 6th form STEM scholars and Spaceflight team will be running activities stalls.

10th March- It's the Bedpop festival and as usual, our intrepid team of 6th form scholars will be working alongside Network rail in a challenge held at the Cecil Higgins Museum. The planetarium is also going to be part of the festival so please come along and support our students!

14th March- as part of science week we are hosting another Primary Science day. Three of our feeder schools have been invited, Renhold, Ravensden and Great Barford for a fun-filled day of activities run by the 6th form STEM scholars. The event will include a trip to the planetarium where they will find out just what it is really like inside a cell!

14th March- Its race day for the Dendrite cars! Year 7 students have been busily designing, building and testing their Dendrite race cars which will be fuelled by rockets and shot across the A block playground at up to 70mph!

27th March- Our 6th form STEM scholars are running an event for the parents and family of the 'SMARTIES' club students in years 7 and 8. Families will participate in some fun filled activities to get to know just what their students are really learning and doing here at school.

28th March- It's the first of our big STEM days this year, this one is aimed at year 8 students who will take part in an Engineering challenge as part of Tomorrows Engineers Energy Quest


Schools students celebrate National Science Week together with a bang!

Three Year 12 students from Mark Rutherford School planned and led a series of Science experiments for 30 Year 4 pupils from Great Barford and Ravensden Lower Schools as part of the National Science Week celebrations. Leonardo Buttice, Marco Guarino and Celina Nielsen are Scholars on the Villiers Park Educational Trust 2020 STEM Programme and undertook leadership of the event in order to gain a Villiers Park INVOLVE Award. Sessions included extracting DNA from a banana, fruit batteries and pH testing of various liquids. The younger pupils were really excited to be able to ‘do science in a real science lab’ and their teachers were impressed by the high standard of delivery and are now hoping to come back for a similar event later in the year. Tracy Jakins, Second in Science at Mark Rutherford said, “This was a first for us – we’ve never held an event like this before where lower schools have come to us and the sixth form have been so active in taking the lead. It was brilliant”.


STEM Success

Yesterday a group of Year 7 and Year 8 students took part in a STEM day focussing on Engineering. The day builds on the work that the school has been doing over the past two years to encourage students to think about careers in Engineering. An exciting day was had by all as students were challenged to build a structure for a wind turbine. Below are the winners and the runners up in this competition. Thanks to Lauren from EDT for hosting this amazing day. Lauren commented that this was one of the best groups she had ever worked with.

Arkwright Awards Ceremony

Arkwright Awards October 2015
Omar Choudhry and Richard Lilley from Mark Rutherford School were awarded a sought-after Arkwright Engineering Scholarship recently at a ceremony.

In London, supported by the Institution of Engineering & Technology and the Rail Industry, led by Network Rail, Carillion and Colas Rail, Omar Choudhry and Richard Lilley were presented with their Arkwright Scholarship by Principal Guest Naomi Climer, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015/16. Omar and Richard also met the organisations that are sponsoring their Scholarship for the next two years- Bourn Engineering (Omar) and Northrop Gunman (Richard)
The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships support young people from across the UK who have the potential to be industry's future leaders in engineering. During their sixth-form studies, Scholars receive £600 to support their technical courses and have access to a range of exciting opportunities to learn more about engineering, such as mentoring and company visits. Schools receive £400 per Scholarship awarded to their students.
Scholars are selected following a rigorous selection process comprising a detailed application form supported by a teacher's reference, a two-hour aptitude exam and an interview hosted at a top engineering university. From a pool of 30,000 eligible students, this year teachers endorsed the applications of 1559 students. 397 Scholarships were eventually awarded.
Dr Martin Thomas, Chief Executive of the Arkwright Scholarships Trust said: "I have been hugely impressed by the creativity, technical skills and leadership prowess of the young men and women receiving their Scholarships this year. The country needs 100,000s of new engineers to take the economy and society forward. But some of these newly-trained people need to also act as outstanding leadership beacons within industry and academia. The Arkwright Engineering Scholarships are the first step on that road to achieving such a vital position within the UK engineering profession. Congratulations to Omar Choudhry, Richard Lilley and all of our new Scholars!"

Arkwright Scholarships awarded to MRS students

Omar Choudhry and Richard Lilley (year 12) have been awarded the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship. A highly prestigious award that places them in the top 2% of students in the country, both boys will receive funding to help with their studies and personal mentors in the Engineering sector. Omar is being sponsored by Bourns Limited, Bedford and Richard by Northrop Grumman.


Mark Rutherford School
Wentworth Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire Mk41 8PX
Telephone 01234 290200 : Fax 01234 290236 : Email: