Darlington School of Mathematics and Science took a leaf out of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books by splitting their students and staffinto four houses.
The houses - Ruby Rattlesnakes, Sapphire Sharks, Emerald Eagles and Topaz Tigers - are made up of seven tutor groups, each containing nomore 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 staffas part of the peer tutoring initiative.
The tutor groups meet for 20 minutes a day and the houses compete through a points system to win an annual cup. The scheme was launched at the beginning of the academic year.
Headteacher Calvin Kipling hailed it as a success. 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 canmaximise their opportunities."
Parent Sam Towle said: "There were some reservations at first, but everyone is really enjoying the system."
Her son, Tom, added: "It means we can make friends from different year groups, not just our own."
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