School House is situated in the oldest part of the School and was the original House when Rugby School moved to its present site from the centre of the town around 1750. The current buildings were designed and built by the architect Henry Hakewill between 1809 and 1815. These include Old Hall, the vaulted study block that looks onto the Close and the dormitories. The Old Quad, OBS and other classrooms around the quad were also built at this time.
School House was extended throughout the 19th century, when further studies and another large dormitory (now the Assistant Housemaster’s accommodation) were added. It was during this time that Thomas Hughes (author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays) was a boy in the House under the great Dr Arnold; many of the places mentioned in that book still exist today.
The House underwent a major refurbishment in the late 1960s, when the current dining room was created out of an internal quadrangle and a wooden spiral staircase that went up through the House was replaced by a series of concrete flights. Between 1993 and 1995 the House was, once again, extensively refurbished and today provides accommodation for up to 54 boys.
For the first couple of years the boys occupy dormitories of five or six and from the GCSE year upwards they have their own study bedroom. In addition there is a House Library, three large common rooms, a snooker room and a number of kitchenettes around the House. The Close provides plenty of space for recreation and in the summer months the boys can enjoy the peace and quiet of the School House garden.
Andrew Smith became Housemaster of School House in 2021, having joined Rugby in 2015, first as a tutor in Whitelaw and then as Deputy Housemaster of Michell. Educated at The Perse School, Cambridge, Andrew spent his gap year teaching in Kenya before going to Trinity College, Oxford to earn his degree (MA English Language and Literature) and dabble in college rowing, drama, and journalism. After graduation Andrew moved to London, meandering through film production and publishing companies until, via an e-learning start-up, he returned to teaching. Andrew earned his PGCE at the UCL Institute of Education, and, while working at Rugby, completed his Master of Teaching degree, which he loves to talk about if you ask.
Outside the English classroom, Andrew has coached rugby, hockey, athletics and tennis, and his competitive nature emerges on the squash court and in the annual Crick Run. Past responsibilities include Debating and Landor Society, and he is currently Coordinator for the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Andrew loves a school trip, and as well as taking groups to the theatre, he has enjoyed taking Rugbeians on expeditions to Madagascar (2017) and to Namibia, Botswana and Zambia (2019).
Helen McPherson has had an eclectic career path on her way to Rugby School. After a degree in Management Science at Loughborough she went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Her career as a logistics officer was very varied including operational tours, a combined force exercise in USA, trekking in the Himalayas and commanding Ghurkas. Helen’s final role in the Army was in IT service delivery, coordinating the global defence logistic IT infrastructure. She gained her MSc in logistics from Cranfield.
After retiring from the Army Helen worked for herself for a few years as a coach and therapist before pursuing her real interest of developing people and she gained her PGCE at Canterbury. She joined Rugby in 2019, teaching Economics and Business and tutoring in Tudor. She coaches Hockey and Netball and is a member of the CCF.
Helen’s interests include her Labradors and supporting Northampton Saints; she is a voracious reader and enjoys sea swimming and restoring furniture. Helen is joined in School House by her logistician husband Ian and their son Finlay, a pupil in Town. Her motto is, “Never be bored.”
Mandi Reynolds joined School House in 2022 having previously worked as non-resident matron at Whitelaw House for three years, and as a bank matron before that. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mandi also had the unique responsibility of acting matron of New House.
Mandi aims to create a comfortable environment for the boys to live in, offering them support and care whenever they need it and ensuring their utmost welfare and safety. All whilst simultaneously accomplishing the smooth running of the House.
Her three children were Rugby School students and they are now completing their higher education.
Outside School, Mandi likes going for long walks around Rugby and its surrounding areas and enjoys supporting and volunteering at the local theatre. She also the students in the beekeeping society learning to care for the School’s hives.