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Mark Rutherford School won the Education and Business Partnership Award 2015

Mark Rutherford is an 11-19 Independent State School. It converted to academy status in January 2013. They believe every child is unique and their aim is to provide broad, balanced, personalised learning experiences that will enable their students to enjoy, achieve, be successful and make a positive contribution to society. The school has introduced several commendable initiatives to help bridge the gap between education and business. These include:

The Mark Rutherford Business Partnership

Established in 2011, is a networking/support partnership comprising 160 local businesses and community organisations, including the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, FSB and Bedford Borough Council. Fulfilling a mutual desire to break down barriers between school and business, it now runs bi-monthly breakfast meetings that attract up to 50 partners, plus staff and students. Meetings are themed to address the needs of the local economic environment and the career interests of the pupils, e.g. local skills shortages, engineering, creative arts, business ownership. Partners are regularly integrated into the daily life of the school as they participate in many of the curricular and extra-curricular activities on offer.

The Mark Rutherford Business Mentor Programme

Mentors from the local business community (who could also be Partners) are paired with disengaged students and meet fortnightly-monthly to help them re-engage and to encourage aspirations and expected behaviours that will help them in the world of work.

The Engineering Mentor Programme/ Engineering Club

This targets STEM students interested in a career in engineering and pairs them with local professionals to give them a realistic view of the industry, training, work/project experience and the possibility of a training position or apprenticeship.

The Business Partnership and its subsidiary mentoring programmes are well-supported by the leadership team, and senior managers publicly recognise the value it brings to the life of the school. Links with businesses are forged at higher levels through the involvement of senior management.

This impressive range of activities and the commitment of the school and its staff to encourage effective links with the business community shone through for the judges, leaving Mark Rutherford School as extremely worthy winners.

Sam Baker, Head of Business & Education Partnerships at Mark Rutherford School said:

“Winning the award has rapidly raised awareness of the school’s innovative work in providing excellent careers education, both regionally and nationally. This has given the school greater credibility when sharing good practice with other education and training providers and also when attracting new businesses to become involved with the life of the school.

The award has helped staff both appreciate the value of the work they do in supporting young people in their career decisions and the importance of strong relationships with the business community. Simply having the recognition for a job well done has been its own reward!”