Russell Baker

Welcome to the Russell Baker House Website!

I am very excited to have joined the Russell Baker family and am thoroughly looking forward to working with a House that has already revealed itself to be friendly, enthusiastic, talented and, above all, kind.

Mrs Russell Baker was a formidable character who served as the Headmistress of St. Catherine’s from 1887 to 1925. I am told that the House today embodies some of her characteristics: resilience, tenacity and a lively sense of humour. On St. Catherine’s Day in November we honour her memory, as the House Captains lay flowers on her grave in Bramley cemetery. This tradition takes place after the Communion service and before the whistle blows for the beginning of House lacrosse competition; I am sure that Mrs Russell Baker would have approved of this reflective moment in a very busy and exciting day.

Russell Baker values, as do all the Houses, the many competitions which take place throughout the year.  Whether they are rehearsing for the House Drama in the autumn or signing up for Athletics in the summer, every girl has a role to play and we will encourage their active or supportive participation, whatever their level of skill. These events bring girls of all ages together in one team and help to integrate the Upper Three when they start in September. There is an activity for everyone.

I know that the girls also value the pastoral support offered by the tutor team and by the other girls; the Sixth Formers act as role models and mentors for the younger years. Our prefects are approachable, fair and encouraging.

I am sure all the girls at St Catherine’s say that theirs is the best House and Russell Baker is no exception. I am thrilled to have an excuse to add more light blue to my wardrobe, and I wear my RB colour with much pride.

Mrs Izzy Mclean - Russell Baker Housemistress

History of Russell Baker House

Russell Baker House - usually referred to as RB - was named after Mrs. Charlotte Russell Baker, Headmistress of St. Catherine's from 1887 to 1925. She replaced Miss S.M. Burnett, the first Headmistress, who left to undertake missionary work only two years after the school was founded. Mrs Russell Baker was a dominant figure who always wore a black silk dress and widow's cap and carried a silver-handled black cane. She was a firm believer in God and the chapel was built under her supervision. There is a striking portrait of her in the front porch.

Despite being 'the ultimate authority', she was sympathetic and had a lively sense of humour which the girls enjoyed until the day she stopped teaching. She retired at the age of 71 and died in 1938. She was buried in Bramley graveyard and before the inter-House Lacrosse on St. Catherine’s Day, the House Captains visit her grave where they place flowers.

In 1976 the house system as we know it was established and our house was named in honour of the impressive former Headmistress. Mrs Goodwin was the first Housemistress, but sadly she was killed the following year and consequently Mrs Bermingham took over until 1983. She was followed briefly by Mrs Wright until 1985, Mrs Allen-Smith until 1986 and Mrs Roberts took over in January 1987. She remained Housemistress until 2000 when Miss Vinen took over until her maternity leave. We were then fortunate that Mrs Bryn Thomas was appointed to the school and became the next Housemistress of Russell Baker. When she went on to become the Senior Administrator, Mrs Hall took over the role as Housemistress in January 2008. She retired at the end of the Summer Term 2016 and Mrs Mclean took over the role in September.


Russell Baker Staff & Officers

House Staff

  • Housemistress: Mrs Izzy Mclean 

  • Upper 4 Tutor: Miss Louise Chivers

  • Upper 3 and Lower 4 Tutor: Miss Tamsyn White

  • Assistant Tutors: Mrs Angelique Burns

House Officers 2018-2019

  • House Captains - Alex and Trinity
  • Vice House Captain - Amelia 
  • Sport - Lydia and Trudie
  • Drama - Joan and Darcie
  • Music - Genevieve and Natasha
  • Art - Christie and Izzy
  • New L6 - Lesley
  • New U3 - Issy and Lesley
  • Charities - Issy and Natasha
  • House Prefect - Barbara

Previous House Captains

  • 2017-2018 - Tash and Josie
  • 2016-2017 - Georgia and Annabel 
  • 2015-2016Phoebe  and Isabelle 
  • 2014-2015 - Emma and Lizzie 
  • 2013-2014 - Charlotte and Libby 
  • 2012-2013 - Lottie and Catherine 
  • 2011-2012 - Abigail and Helena 
  • 2010 -2011- Hannah and Claire 
  • 2009 -2010 - Emily and Jo