Student Services

The House System

In September 2006 Mark Rutherford School introduced Vertical Tutoring. It was a major change to the way the tutor groups were to be organised and it was a move away from the established year groups. Students were to have a very different experience and were to mix with students from all the years within their tutor group. This would be a clear horizontal grouping.

From September 2010 the tutor groups were divided into 13 per house. Ten tutor groups have Years 7 to 11 in and 3 have 6th Form tutor groups, making a total of 56. We will no longer have Heads of Year, this will be replaced by Heads of House, having responsibility for all Year groups within their respective houses. This arrangement allows for a smaller more family environment allowing students to learn from their older peers and receive guidance. It also allows tutors more time to spend discussing academic and social progress with the individuals in their care. 

Houses are given the initials of the original Heads of House: B, T, N and W and the colours blue, yellow purple and green respectively were selected.
Houses and vertical tutor groups are there to provide many additional and important elements of school life. They help and support us in trying to meet the objectives of’ Every Child Matters’.

  1. being healthy
  2. staying safe
  3. enjoying and achieving
  4. making a positive contribution
  5. economic well-being and provide pastoral care.

These can be achieved by charity fundraising, inter-house sports, attendance incentives, rewards and praise assemblies, celebrating success, and school council. Each house has a Captain and Vice Captain. Assemblies are delivered through the House System and take place each fortnight.
In October 2007 students and staff selected the names of the Houses. There were some constraints placed upon their choice as they were to represent the Arts and reflect the schools application for Specialist Arts College status. (A more challenging constraint was that they had to be the existing initials as administrative systems were already in place).
School rose to the challenge and the names of Blake, Turner, Novello and Woolf were chosen. The houses are now becoming firmly established and we have polo shirts with the School logo in houses colours and house ties as part of our uniform.


William Blake is one of Britain’s greatest poets. He was born in London in 1757.He started writing poems as a boy, many of them inspired by religious visions. Apprenticed to an engraver as a young man, Blake learned skills that allowed him to put his poems and drawings together on etchings, and he began to publish his own work. Throughout his life he survived on small commissions, never gaining much attention from the London art world. His paintings were rejected by the public (he was called a "lunatic" for his imaginative work), but he had a profound influence on Romanticism as a literary movement. He is best known as a Mystic English Poet. He died in 1827.




Novello House is named after the well known Welsh impresario Ivor Novello.  Novello was born in Cardiff in 1893 and won a place at Magdalen College School in Oxford due to his musical abilities.  He first became well known during WW1 when he composed ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’.  After the war he turned to acting, including roles in early Hitchcock movies and in Hollywood.  After this he turned to writing musical plays.  Novello died suddenly in 1951.  The Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting, are awarded each year by the record industry to songwriters and arrangers as well as the performing artistes.



Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London in 1776 and is probably one of Britain’s greatest artists. He showed artistic talents from an early age and when he was in his teens he was creating great paintings, which his father exhibited in his shop window. In 1789 Turner entered the Royal Academy. He exhibited his first watercolour a year later and his first oil in 1796.He was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1799, and to full Academicianship in 1802 and exhibited his work yearly at the Royal Academy until the year before his death in 1851. He died on 19 December 1851. He was buried in Saint Paul's Cathedral, London. His art works can be seen in some of the most famous galleries of the world. The Tate gallery London is traditionally where most of his work can be found.



Woolf House is named after Virginia Woolf 1882-1941. She was born Adeline Virginia Stephen in London .From an early age she was determined to be a writer but was encouraged to paint. She never went to school, but was educated at home. She was married to Leonard Woolf in 1912 She became a prolific writer and journalist and was highly respected by her peers. Sadly she suffered from bouts of severe depression and died in 1942. She committed suicide by drowning. By the time of her death she had gained a prominent and enduring place in English letters, as a great novelist and essayist, feminist and modernist.



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