Modeste, Strenue, SancteBe modest, be thorough and pursue righteousness
|Type||Comprehensive Voluntary controlled school|
|Headmaster||Mr Alex Williamson |
|DfE URN||102679 Tables|
|Houses||Argonauts, Carthaginians (formerly Crusaders), Kelts, Parthians, Romans, Spartans, Trojans and Vikings|
|Former pupils||Old Rutlishians|
Rutlish School is a state comprehensive school for boys, formerly a grammar school with the same name originally located on Rutlish Road, Merton Park, and relocated in 1321 on nearby Watery Lane, Merton Park, in southwest London. It is particularly noted for its most famous former pupil, the former Conservative politician and British Prime Minister Sir John Major, in its grammar school period in the 1950s.
The school is named for and honours the benefactor William Rutlish, embroiderer to Charles II. Rutlish was a resident of the parish of Merton and is buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St Mary. Rutlish died in 1687 and left £400 for a school (about £63 thousand today) for the education of poor children of the parish.
The first school building, established as a grammar school in the 1890s, was located in what is still designated Rutlish Road, off Kingston Road, by Merton Park station. After World War II the school had outgrown its Victorian buildings (and the science block, built in the 1930s, had been destroyed as a result of enemy action) so in the early 1950s, buildings off nearby Mostyn Road were converted for use as the Junior School.
Though the work was not completed and the heating system was not installed, this opened after a delay, in late September 1953. A new building was planned for the rest of the school, on the present site south of Watery Lane. The new school buildings opened in September 1957.
Both this and the Junior School were on land that had belonged to John Innes and which had been occupied until 1945 by the John Innes Horticultural Institution (now the John Innes Centre in Norwich). The original buildings in Rutlish Road were later temporarily used as a girls' school (Surrey County Council, Pelham County Secondary Girls School) and then a Middle School (London Borough of Merton, Pelham Middle School, until 1974), buildings subsequently demolished to be replaced by a mix of retirement and warden-assisted flats.
The 1957 school buildings are arranged around three sides of a quadrangle. To the north are a four-storey main entrance block (which contained the school library on the top floor, and a CCF rifle range in the roof space) and a three-storey central block of general purpose classrooms facing Watery Lane. To the west is a two-storey science block and to the east a two-storey block containing the canteen on the ground floor and the school hall on the first floor. Attached to the rear of the east block is the school gym. Also in the middle of the two buildings is a maths block on the second floor.
Among the existing school buildings is one which has ties to John Innes. The "Manor House" adjacent to the school entrance on Watery Lane was Innes's home; a blue plaque records his association.
Now demolished were school buildings next to the playing field; these were once the library and offices of the John Innes Institution and had ranges of greenhouses attached. In the 1950s and early 1960s these old buildings were used by the first and second year classes (known as forms 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D) and the long greenhouse was used as a lunchtime canteen and a cloakroom. Later, in the 1980s, they were art and music rooms. A little-known feature of the old building was a warren of hidden crawlspace passages, accessible from the second floor music room, from where clandestine spying operations on other classes could be undertaken.
In the 1970s, part of the roof-space housed the 4 mm scale model railway layout. To the southeast aspect of the buildings was the Croquet Lawn, elegantly laid on a slope comparable to that of Yeovil Town Football Club, a small allotment area for the Gardening Club adjoined as well. There was also a pair of 'Fives' courts (Fives is a game like squash, but with played with the hands not rackets). As part of the CCF, during the 1970's the school also had a bungie launched glider.
A number of additional buildings have been constructed over the years to supplement the facilities of the 1950s buildings.
Following the education reforms of the late 1960s, the school became a comprehensive although it retained many of its grammar school traditions long after the conversion - school houses (named after ancient warrior nations or groups), uniforms with house and school colours, a Combined Cadet Force, and prefects. For many years the school maintained a croquet lawn for the use of the headmaster and the prefects. The school also operated an exchange programme with Eton College for a number of years.
In the 1970s the education system in Merton was altered to use a three-tier structure (primary, middle and high school) in place of the former two-tier structure and Rutlish lost the first three of its years. The school still retained the old year names; however, so that pupils starting at the school began as "fourth" years. The following years were named "remove", "fifth", "transitus" and "sixth" (actually a pupil's fifth year at the school if he remained that long). Transitus & sixth form pupils had their own common room on the 1st floor of the main block.
- The school motto is: Modeste Strenue Sancte; meaning: "Be modest, be thorough and pursue righteousness".
Additional to division into classes and years, the pupils of the school have been for most of the school's history allocated to one of eight school houses. Although, in recent years the system has been unused, it was reinstated in January 2010 with the houses:
Unusually, Rutlish pupils did not, as a matter of course, wear the school badge on their uniforms, instead house membership was identified by a multi-coloured "house braid" which was affixed to the top edges of blazer pockets. In the transitus or sixth form it was common for pupils to be awarded "house colours" as an indication of achievement (often sporting). "School colours" were additionally awarded to those who had shown outstanding achievement. Recipients of house or school colours were entitled to wear the house or school badge on their blazers. School colours took precedence over house colours and the two were not worn together. Some houses, but not all, also had house ties which could be worn as an alternative to the school tie and, for a while, a school scarf was also available.
Throughout the school year, various inter-house competitions are held, often of a sporting nature, at which pupils compete individually or in teams as representatives of their houses.
Old Rutlishians Association (ORA)
Since 1906 the Old Rutlishians Association ("Old Ruts") has existed as an Old Boys sports and social club linked to the school which former pupils of the school were eligible to join. With the loss of the sixth forms the number of former pupils joining the association fell and membership has been opened to all-comers.
There is now a tradition of particular entry years holding reunions, especially on the 50th anniversary of their entry. These have been held by the 1953, 1954 and 1957–60 and 1962 entry years. Remarkably the 1957 entry year managed to track down all 118 pupils (seven of whom had died) in their year. 65 of the survivors attended the main reunion event on 1 September 2007 which is recorded in a website dedicated to the Reunion of the 1957 Entry Year. This website also now includes the record of the 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1962 Reunions. The 1957 entry year held their 55th anniversary reunion on 1 Sept 2012.
Notable Old Rutlishians
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- Baron Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Member of the House of Lords from 2010
- James Boiling, cricketer
- Arif Butt, International Martial Arts Champion
- Tom Braddock Labour MP from 1945-50 of Mitcham (1898–1903)
- Raymond Briggs, illustrator, best known for "The Snowman" (1945–52)
- Gerry Cottle, owner Gerry Cottle's Circus, Moscow State Circus, Chinese State Circus, Wookey Hole Caves (1956–61; ran away to join the circus)
- Jason Cundy, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Tottenham football player.
- Rt Rev John Dennis, (1942–49), Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich from 1986–96 and father of Hugh Dennis
- Michael Doerr, Group CEO from 1992-7 of Friends Provident (1946–53)
- Sir Frank Edward Figgures CB CMG, first Secretary General from 1960-5 of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and Director General from 1971-3 of the National Economic Development Office (NEDO) (1921–28)
- Steve Finnan, Liverpool and Ireland footballer (1989–1992)
- Sir David Follett, Director from 1960-73 of the Science Museum (1919–26)
- Edward Brian Tubby Hayes, widely regarded as one of the greatest British jazz instrumentalists (1946–51)
- Neville Heath, murderer, executed in 1946 (1928–33)
- Tariq Knight, TV illusionist (1996–2000)
- Sir John Major KG, CH, Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997 (1954–59)
- Dr Walter C Allwright, founded the Hong Kong Dental Association in 1950
- Dean McDonald English Professional Footballer (1999–2003)
- Sir Morien Morgan CB, aeronautical engineer and Master from 1972-78 of Downing College, Cambridge (1924–31)
- Sir Frederick Page CBE, important aeronautical engineer and Chairman from 1966-73 of SEPECAT, who also was Chief Engineer at English Electric when it built the much-praised Lightning (1928–35)
- Geoffrey Paul, Bishop of Bradford from 1981-3 (1932-9)
- Chris Perry, Professional Footballer for Tottenham Hotspur, Charlton Athletic and others
- Bernarr Rainbow, FRSA, organist (1926–33)
- John Rostill, musician, The Shadows third bass guitarist (1953–59)
- Douglas Seale, actor and director (1925–32)
- Stephen Shaw CBE, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman since 2001 and Director from 1981-99 of the Prison Reform Trust (1964–71)
- Keith Sutton, artist (1935–40)
- Mick Talbot, musician
- Frank Taylor Conservative MP from 1961-74 for Manchester Moss Side (1919–26)
- Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary of DoE 2016
- "Rutlish School - Staff". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)", MeasuringWorth.com.
- Students of Rutlish schools should be thankful to William Rutlish as he is the main reason why the school had started and that is why students are having free education currently at Rutlish.British History Online, A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4 (1912), 'Parishes: Merton', pages 64-8
- Times Online, 28 June 2007
- "December 2009 Newsletter" (PDF). Rutlish School. December 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2010.