A SCHOOL has adopted a Hogwarts style house system to encourage productive alliances.

Darlington School of Mathematics and Science took a leaf out of JK Rowling’s book by splitting their students and staff into four houses.

The houses – Ruby Rattlesnakes, Sapphire Sharks, Emerald Eagles and Topaz Tigers – are made up of seven tutor groups, each containing no more than 16 students and two tutors.

Older students are being trained to be assistant teachers and house tutors have been chosen from a pool of academic and non-academic staff as part of the peer tutoring initiative, dubbed ‘vertical tutoring’.

The tutor groups meet for 20 minutes a day and the houses compete through a points system to win an annual cup. The scheme - which tries to balance the houses in terms of interests, academic ability and pastoral issues - was launched at the school at the beginning of the academic year.

Headteacher Calvin Kipling hailed it as a success, saying it offered children the chance to be responsible mentors and provided younger pupils with support and inspiration.

He said: “It allows tutors to develop sustained relationships with parents, prevents bullying and improves attendance and performance.

“If there are any issues that could be obstacles to learning they can be identified and dealt with very quickly ensuring all students can maximise their opportunities.”

Parent Sam Towle said: “There were some reservations at first but everyone is really enjoying the system, particularly the older students who are acting as mentors.”

Her son Tom added: “I like it because it means we can meet more people and make friends from different year groups not just our own.”