Merseyside Chess Association – Junior Chess Championship at MTGS

The Merseyside Chess Junior Championships were held at Merchant Taylors’ Senior Girls’ School in Crosby on Saturday 14th October with new Merseyside Junior Champions being crowned for 2017.

Over 11 section winner, Luke Maher was crowned champion but he didn’t have it easy with 3 Liverpool Chess Club colleagues Frank Hudson (2nd), Bashar Rovezi (3rd) Alex Griffith (4th) also finishing on level points with him but Luke won on score-back having played the tougher players on route.

Under 11 section winner, Marek Korsinskij of Liverpool Chess Club, is Champion with 5 wins from 5 games. In second place is Southport’s Oliver Skidmore and 3rd Liverpool’s Edmund Erhardt.

Under 9 section winner and new champion Kelly Zheng from Southport Chess Club with Liverpool’s Alexandr Korsinskij and Lawrance Li in 3rd place.

The Player of the Tournament trophy was awarded to Laura Connolly for playing really well with great enthusiasm and attitude on the day.

The Merseyside Chess Association gave a “huge thank you to Merchant Taylors’ Senior Girls’ School for a fabulous venue and warm welcome. A special thank you to the catering staff for keeping everyone refreshed throughout the day.”

Well done to all the chess players taking part on the day. You all deserved your certificates and badges for playing brilliant chess with good professional attitude towards the game.

Primary Schools Christmas Art Competition


Supported by:

The Liverpool International Horse Show, in association with Merchant Taylors’ Schools.


Please click here for the Entry Form.

Entries to win the following (Infant and Junior Categories):






Closing date – Friday 1st December. Please send A4 entries to:

Mrs Anita Barry, Merchant Taylors’ Schools, Liverpool Road, Crosby L23 5SP Any questions please email

Prize winners and their guests will be invited to Merchant Taylors’ Schools to receive their prizes from Nina Barbour- President of The Liverpool International Horse Show.

Birchall Brothers visit Old School

The Schools were pleased to welcome back Old Boys Bill and Basil Birchall for the afternoon as they paid a visit to departing Headmaster David Cook.

The visit was a result of Bill attending our North American reunion dinner, where he was first introduced to David. The brothers returned at the School’s invitation to meet with the Headmaster before he departed for his new post at Repton School, Dubai over the summer. On their arrival they were given a tour of the site before sitting down for a small lunch with David in his office. They later stayed for the afternoon’s cricket match and were shown several archival materials from their time at the School.

A 1958 leaver, the visit was Bill’s first time returning to the site since leaving as a young man, having made his career as an accountant, first in London, and then in Canada. His younger brother Basil, a 1959 leaver, lives in Harrogate and worked at ICI for many years helping to produce speciality chemicals for use in industry. He was also Head Boy and first XI Cricket Captain during his time at MTS – his cricket portrait hangs in the IRSC Cricket ‘Hall of Fame’.

The brothers have longstanding links with the School and have supported the Bursary Fund generously for many years. Following the unexpected death of Basil’s twin brother Richard in 1992, the brothers set up and have funded the Birchall Bursary in his memory. During the visit, they also met with Louise Robinson, MTGS headmistress, as well as Mrs Beverley Bell CBE, Chair of Governors. They spoke warmly of their time at the School, not least their time spent as boarders in the now demolished Harrison House. They were pleased to see the School in such good health and impressed with how the site has developed since they left.

Our thanks go to Bill and Basil for their continued support.

Merchants’ Students on Cloud Nine with GCSE Results

New Government reforms at GCSE, designed to toughen up specifications and cut down on the number of students achieving A* grades, have reinforced Merchant Taylors’ position as the top performing school in the area. Over two thirds of all GCSE results are at the highest possible grades of A* A, 7, 8&9 (OFQUAL’s top grade band), a significant improvement on last year’s figures.

This year, students have been marked under the new system with grades one to nine for English Literature, English Language and Maths, whilst the rest of their subjects have been marked under A* to G grades. Nationally the number of students achieving the new level 9 (A** distinction equivalent), reserved for exceptional performance, is lower than students gaining the top marks in previous years but at Merchant Taylors’ an outstanding number of results were achieved at this new standard. Across the Schools twenty two students achieved the highest possible grades in every subject and forty seven students passed GCSE Further Maths, some having taken GCSE Maths a year early. Over three-quarters of them gained the very top marks. Success at Merchant Taylors’ Schools is much more than about exam attainment, the focus is very much on the whole person, and one such example is Amber Cook who has just celebrated her achievement of the top grade in every subject whilst out in Uganda on a voluntary programme to help orphaned children in the war torn area. Headmistress of the Girls’ School, Mrs Louise Robinson said ‘I am delighted with this year’s results and proud of all the girls’ achievements. Amber is a great example of many of our girls who manage to balance their academic work with a wide range of extra-curricular activities and personal interests. Our focus at Merchant Taylors’ Schools is on the rounded individual and the development of personal character.’

Headmaster, Mr Deiniol Williams commented ‘Our boys have done well across the board and many have achieved the highest possible grades under the new system. The exam reforms have presented their challenges but our students and staff have stepped up to the plate and demonstrated their excellence in both knowledge and commitment. On behalf of both Schools I would also like to thank all our parents for their support, we must not forget that this is a memorable day for them too.’

Results have been achieved in 24 different subjects ranging from the core subjects to Art and Computer Science. Whilst the Schools set a demanding curriculum and high standards, offering the most rigorous choices that top employers and universities value, the focus on pastoral care and a varied extra-curricular programme are paramount and just as important as academic success. This aspect was recognised as outstanding in recent Inspections.

School Council gives support to Sefton Sea Cadets

The Boys’ School was pleased to welcome back Old Boy Philip Cave on behalf of Seaforth Sea Cadets Corps to accept a donation from the School Council of £1,100.

A 2010 leaver, Philip is currently a senior 2nd officer and navigator for Princess Cruises, having gained sponsorship from the company for his officer training upon completing his A-Levels. He gives generously of his time to the Sea Cadets, often using up to a third of his leave to take disadvantaged boys on week-long tours along the coast, which this donation will help to fund. Many of the boys involved come from deprived areas, and have often never left Liverpool before, nor do they have access to the types of facility which would provide them with the skills and opportunities these tours do. In several cases, the skills and experiences provided by these tours has later formed the basis of the boys’ curriculum vitae, and led to them finding their first paid employment, either with the Merchant Navy or in other fields.

Following the donation, Philip sent this message, explaining the importance of the work of the Sea Cadets Corps in the local community:

During my time with Merchant Taylors’, one of the many opportunities I capitalised on was working with the Voluntary Service Unit (VSU). It gave students the chance to get out of their comfort zone, gain some life experience and make a difference in the community. The various placements I carried out were incredibly rewarding and one in particular was and still is life changing.

As I wanted to work at sea as a Navigator, taking up a voluntary position as an instructor with the Sea Cadet Corps in Litherland seemed like an ideal placement. Seven years later I am serving at sea and still volunteering with the Sea Cadets during my leave, and I have no plans to stop. The Corps supports young people around the country, often in deprived areas. The Sea Cadet Corps in Litherland is a prime example of this, many of the young cadets come from the poorest areas of Liverpool and struggle even to pay their weekly subs, let alone take advantage of the various courses the Corps offers on a National Level. Two years ago, Mrs Claire Byrne offered to sponsor the Sea Cadets in the school’s local charity initiative and the money raised, far in excess of what I expected, made an unimaginable difference to the Cadets at the unit. We were able to send many boys on a week’s trip to sea, and considering more than half of them had never actually left the North West this was a life changing experience for them.

Yet again this year, MTS has come together and raised a huge amount for the unit, again providing experiences that many of them can only dream of; from the bottom of my heart I cannot thank the boys and staff enough for their generosity.

I would encourage anyone at MTS to take advantage of the VSU. In addition to volunteering at the local unit, I spend time on the Corps training ships sailing with my Merchant Navy qualifications, and am just stepping up to be a relief Captain. This is an opportunity I would never have had without the VSU. It is, in my opinion, one of the most worthwhile extra-curricular activities the school offers.

Merchant Taylors’ offers pupils “the best education for life”. Through the school’s generosity, this has been extended to the teenagers of Litherland as “the best chance in life”. Thank you again.

For further details on the School Council’s fundraising, please contact Claire Byrne. For more information on the Sea Cadets Sefton, please visit:

Chair of Governors awarded CBE

The Schools were delighted to receive news that the Chair of the Governors, Beverley Bell, has been awarded a CBE for her services to Road Safety and the Freight Industry.

Beverley is an Old Girl of MTS (1971 – 1978) and has served as the Chair of the Governors since July 2016. Her award comes in recognition of her years of service in the transport industry, having been an independent regulator of the commercial vehicle industry for 17 years. Having graduated from the University of Liverpool in Law, she qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and opened her own practice in 1990 specialising in criminal and transport law. She was appointed as North-West Traffic Commissioner in 2000 at that time being the youngest the first female to hold the role. She was later appointed as Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain in 2011, and she retired from both roles on 31st May 2017.

Speaking about receiving the award, Beverley said:

“I am surprised and delighted in equal measure. But this award is not just about my contribution but about the Traffic Commissioners and all they do to promote and champion the transport industry. The industry sometimes has a poor reputation which it doesn’t deserve and I have always been keen to promote the industry which literally keeps Great Britain moving”.

The Department for Transport also released the following statement, acknowledging Beverley’s commitment and dedication to the industry she has made her profession:

“We want to add our congratulations to Beverley Bell on this award following her retirement as Traffic Commissioner for the North West of England and latterly as Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain. She continues to champion the transport industries and will see this as a reflection of their importance to Great Britain. HGV and PSV operators make a major contribution to our economy, provide significant employment opportunities and strive to ensure the safety of our roads. It is right that this is recognised. We are delighted for all those working in the field of transport who have been recognised by the Queen this year and in particular to Beverley after 17 years of public service”.

Old Boy awarded OBE

We are proud to announce that Old Boy Richard Greenwood has been awarded the OBE for his services to national and international rugby. Speaking to the School about the award, Richard had this to say:

It is a source of great joy, pride and fulfilment that I have been recognised by this award.

Rugby has been my lifelong passion. It is a great team game, so I am above all a team player, and my debt is to all my team-mates who have supported me through the years. I dedicate this award to all of them, who have made it possible for me.

Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby; Cambridge University, who helped launch my international career; my England team-mates in the late 1960s; most of all, my Lancashire pals from 1961 to 1971, who gave me such a wonderful platform; my colleagues at the Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby; and now the great team I am working with at Rhyl Rugby.

The best team of all is my family – the Greenwoods, the Maziaks, the Stewarts and the Bradford-Nutters – all of whom have given me wonderful support, encouragement, and occasionally a well-merited kick up the backside.

“Primus inter pares” is my daughter Emma, who took the initiative in putting me forward for this award. I offer a huge thank you to all those who have contributed to Emma’s application – an overwhelming tide of support, indeed.

Then there are the rugby clubs I have played for – Waterloo, Rome, Blackburn and Preston Grasshoppers – great places for a rugby bloke to have plied his trade, and now Rhyl, to put the icing on my rugby cake.

My warmest thanks and appreciation to all concerned.

Richard Greenwood

Mr Greenwood is currently chairman for Rhyl RFC, and represented England both as a player and coach. His son Will also represented his country as a player, and posted the following message to social media:

Congratulations Richard!

Carnegie Lunch 2017

The Carnegie Lunch 2017 – Library MTBS

Over 50 pupils from Holy Family Catholic High School, St Mary’s College, Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, and Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, gathered in the library for the annual Carnegie lunch, to hear the announcement of the winner of the Carnegie Medal. 2017 is a special year for this award, named after the famous American philanthropist, whose wealth founded many libraries on both sides of the Atlantic. It is 80 years since the first winner, Arthur Ransome was awarded the medal for Pigeon Post. The parents, grandparents and even great grandparents of today’s readers, could have read the winners from earlier years.

Today, modern technology makes possible the Carnegie shadowing scheme, enabling pupils to post reviews of the shortlisted books on a dedicated website, for other children, and even the authors to read. We were able to watch the announcement, live from London, that Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, was the latest winner. In her acceptance speech the author said that history always records the names of the villains, but never the names of the victims. She wanted to redress this in her moving and vivid novel based on the 1945 sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the largest maritime disaster in history, with the loss of over 9,000 lives. It is a disaster that was kept secret at the time and for many years after the war, in spite of the huge loss of life. The winner here in the library was voted Railhead by Philip Reeve, a work of science fiction set in a parallel universe. However the second favourite was Salt to the Sea.

The winner of the raffle was Caleb Pleavin, from Holy Family, and the winner of the best review was Oliver Bigley, from MTBS.


Former MTGS Pupil receives Damehood

The Schools were delighted to receive news that former MTGS pupil, Professor Caroline Watkins, was to receive the DBE in the New Years Honours list for her services to stroke care nursing. Caroline is the only Nursing and Stroke Care Professor in the UK, and has received recognition throughout the field for her dedication and commitment to improving stroke care for patients.

A nurse for nearly 40 years, Caroline has held a position as Professor at UCLan for the last 15 years. In that time she has spearheaded numerous initiatives to improve stroke care, which has seen her research incorporated into the National Clinical Guideline for Stroke, the Joint Royal College Ambulance Liaison Committees Guidelines, and the National Stroke Strategy. She co-leads HeadPost, the UK arm of an international study into acute stroke care which is one of the largest nursing care trials in the world and last year received a ‘Special Recognition Life After Stroke Award’ from the Stroke Association for her contribution to improving the lives of stroke survivors. Her work has also produced the Stroke-Specific Education Framework (SSEF), a free digital service which allows care-providers to easily self-assess their knowledge and skills, and generates bespoke educational resources for the individual’s needs. The application won the Guardian University’s Digital Innovation Award for 2017 and is used by medical institutions throughout the UK.

On the day, Caroline was the first to receive an award, and said the whole experience ‘felt like a dream’. She recalled: “I don’t think I’ve been quite so nervous recently! However, I needn’t have been because the Buckingham Palace staff are just amazingly supportive and the whole day was organised to the nth degree. The Palace is very splendid and it was so humbling to see the other 87 people and their families queuing to go up to receive their awards for all the amazing things they have been doing”.

Caroline attended the event with her family – husband Kevin, son and current MTBS pupil Josh, and her 96 year-old mother, Ivy Emily Pope. The day was one of surprises, not least because Caroline found herself sat next to former Kinks frontman Ray Davies, there himself to receive a knighthood for services to the arts. “Ray Davies was just lovely – very modest and unassuming. He too was pleased to think of his mum being so proud of him having the knighthood. It was so lovely of him to congratulate me and it was so cool to meet him”.

While extremely grateful to have received the award, Caroline was keen to stress that none of these things happen in a vacuum, and that the award represented the work of many people in unison. “I always feel a bit of a fraud because research is not a sole pursuit. I have whole teams of fantastic staff that work alongside me, and senior colleagues and peers who are truly supportive on a day to day basis. I am also very lucky to have made contact with, and work amongst lots of incredible researchers and people in all walks of life that we collaborate with on projects and programmes.  Not least the people who themselves have had a stroke, or their partners and relatives. They give their time so freely to contribute to improving care and research – not for their own benefit but for others. So I think the award is for all of them too”.

We would like to congratulate Caroline on her success and wish her well for future. For more information on Stroke Care please visit: For more information on the SSEF, please visit:

Easter Duke of Edinburgh Expedition

Easter Monday saw 18 Year 11 girls set off on their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition to North Wales.  Spring may have sprung but they endured all four seasons in three days.  Day One was a long slog through the rain through Llandegla Forest, over the Horseshoe Pass and down the valley to Llangollen.  Skies cleared just in time to pitch tents beneath the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran.  Day Two was a scorcher by comparison, rouging many cheeks.  Teams bestrode Thomas Telford’s mighty Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, 120 feet above the River Dee, forging onward by way of Chirk Castle.  Clear skies meant near-zero overnight temperatures, yet battle was cheerfully resumed on Day Three for the final gallop along Offa’s Dyke to Oswestry.  All manner of privations were endured: trench foot, Trangia cooking and even the attentions of an over-familiar ram, yet as always the spirit of BEFL prevailed.  Well done, girls – you were an absolute credit to yourselves.  Bring on the Eden Valley in July!