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.
School 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).
After reading Physics at the University of Nottingham, Ashley Ellis completed his PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, where he is currently studying part-time for an MA. His teaching career originated from founding a private tuition business upon leaving sixth-form which he continued until the end of his university degree.
Outside of the classroom, Ashley is passionate about travelling with hopes of ticking his final Eastern European country, Russia, before the year is out. He also plans to travel around as many of the Scandinavian countries by kayak as possible, an interest which arose from a camping trip to Sweden last summer. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming and playing football, sharing his love of the game with the U16As as their coach.
Off the sports field, Ashley manages the Physics Olympiad and the accompanying experimental project, with hopes of setting up an inter-school physics competition in the future.
Kate McAlister joined School House as Matron in January 2019 and has followed a varied and interesting career path. She worked for the Foreign Office many moons ago, serving in Pakistan for two years where she enjoyed travelling to India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Kate also ran her own restaurant for 10 years during which time she also brought up her two children Josephine and Thomas. She then took herself off to university as a mature student and subsequently became a teacher of Design and Technology. She has taught for 18 years with the last eight years in a British school in Dubai.
Kate enjoys travelling, absolutely anything arty but especially fine art and music. She also enjoys walking, reading and cooking.
Her main priority now is to provide a real home from home for the boys in School House. It has always been the pastoral and caring side of working with teenagers that she has particularly enjoyed and looks forward to getting to know the boys well and making their time at School as happy as possible.
Hm: A N Smith
Lawrence Sheriff Street, Rugby, CV22 5EH
Tel: 556 170