Senior Boys News

MTBS History Teacher Discusses the Partition of India on BBC Radio Asian Network

This year, the BBC has been marking 70 years since the Partition of British India, through a series of documentaries, debates and interviews, intended to evaluate the impact of this incredible event in British, Indian, and Pakistani history. On the 18th August 2017, Mr D. O’Malley, a history teacher of Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, was pleased to be invited to participate in an exciting debate discussing the teaching of Partition, together with fellow teachers Hasnain Naqvi from India, and Fatima Sajjad from Pakistan. To listen to the full BBC Radio Asian Network debate please click here

Below is Mr O’Malley’s account of the experience:

“As a teacher at Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School (MTBS), it was exciting to discuss how Partition, and other historical events, are taught in different countries, and how the curriculum here in the UK is shifting to take account of our shared imperial history. During the course of the debate, we discussed the various focuses of teaching history today, whether such a powerful topic as Partition still holds any relevance to pupils, and how we can best approach such contentious topics. All in all, it was an incredible opportunity to discuss the experiences of colleagues from India and Pakistan, and inspirational to hear how they approach such an event with their pupils. It was also interesting to hear the strong views of members of the public, who rang in to contribute to the debate. Listening to the recording of the debate below, and the rather spirited discussion which took place, I’m sure you will agree too!

Perhaps at this point, it’s important for us to take a step back, and reflect on what Partition was, and what it involved. In very simple terms, Partition came about in 1947, as Britain saw its empire fracture after the events of the Second World War. Controlling large parts of India for over 200 years, through a mixture of conquest, the manipulation of Princely States, and direct rule, Britain faced an overwhelming demand for its withdrawal from India. Figures such as Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah, were leading the way in this drive for independence, and the British Government was reluctantly forced to accept that Britain could no longer hold on to control.

The decision that India would be divided when Britain withdrew (into the independent states of Pakistan and India), was founded in the idea of majority rule by specific groups. Pakistan would be established with a Muslim majority, and India would gain independence with a predominantly Hindu majority. However, the fact that most communities across India contained a vibrant mix of different ethnic and religious groups, was not recognised in the final borders drawn up by Cyril Radcliffe. This meant that, when the transfer of power was eventually announced, over 10 million people suddenly found themselves on the “wrong” side of the new borders. As a result, many people were forced, or felt compelled, to migrate across the sub-continent. During this migration, which was the largest in human history, over 1 million people were tragically killed in riots and violence, perpetrated by both sides. The impact of Partition is still felt today, by individuals, families, and nations alike.

At this point, some may argue that such a challenging and contentious issue as Partition is simply too overwhelming, both in scope and content, for young men to consider. While such an approach may be chosen by some, in our debate, we all found that such an approach may neglect many incredible opportunities for us to learn from history, and the experiences of our parents and ancestors. As we have seen on the BBC this year, many historians and celebrities are finding that a wealth of first-hand accounts of Partition are emerging from within their own families. Many pupils at MTBS will have had parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who were caught up, or even killed in the chaos of partition. Some survived, only to find that their families, homes, or even their whole community, had been destroyed, leaving them to seek a life far away from where they were born. We all agreed that one of the best ways we can develop a love of history in our students, is to encourage them to discuss such topics with relatives, to ask them about their experiences, and see what they think about key topics. We want them to realise that History is a living subject, made up of people “just like us”. Living as we do today, in a multicultural, vibrant, and diverse country, it is therefore incumbent on us all to learn lessons from the past, while teaching pupils the importance of inclusion and mutual respect. By doing so, we can also develop a real love of historical study, and also develop the great analytical and debating skills, which leave those with history qualifications in such consistently high-demand from employers.

We continue to explore challenging issues when teaching History at MTBS, as indeed we do in many other subjects across the school. Over the past few years, the History Department has worked incredibly hard on devising our Year 7-9 textbooks, which reflect an incredible range of historical periods, and which reflect our shared passion for the topic. Furthermore, in GTX this term, pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 are currently analysing the film “Viceroy’s House”, directed by the renowned filmmaker Gurinder Chadha. Released this year, the film explores the events leading up to Partition, through an engaging and thought-provoking portrayal of the actions of Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. This film depicts many of the tragic events of this period, including the deaths of thousands forced from their homes, or killed in the violence. It has already been fascinating to see pupils from all backgrounds use this film to discuss their views on Partition, what they might have done differently, and how Partition still affects the world in which we live today.

As I mentioned during this fascinating debate back in August, historians of any age or background have a duty to approach such issues with objectivity, and maturity. At MTBS, we firmly believe in the importance of debating, analysing, and facing up to a range of dramatic events like those of Partition, so that we can prepare pupils for the challenges of an increasingly globalised world. It was a delight to discuss this fascinating topic with my colleagues from India and Pakistan. I look forward to continuing similarly spirited discussions with pupils, and colleagues, in the weeks and months to come!”



Mountbatten 4 August 1947

Mental Toughness Week

Over the next few weeks leading up to half term the Schools have dedicated two weeks to assemblies, activities, lunchtime meetings and visitor presentations for pupils, staff and parents that address issues relating to Mental Toughness. For example, yesterday’s assembly at MTGS focused on pupils who achieve to a high standard in an activity. They were all asked to meet an even bigger challenge with being interviewed by the Headmistress in front of their peers to share ‘the secret of their success’ along with the highs and lows of their chosen disciplines – how mental toughness has helped them succeed.

Pictured top row left to right: Rachel Burnett (talented Musician); Abby Jones (National standard Swimmer); Mia Carragher (Dancer/actor); Emily Woodier (Regional standard Hockey Player); Angelina Dorlin-Barlow (talented Musician and Singer); Headmistress Mrs Louise Robinson.
Bottom row left to right: Pippa Bailey (National standard Sailing); Elizabeth Wake (National Biathlon); Sophie Gilbanks (National standard Rowing); Eira Murphy (Foyle Young Poet); Rebecca Southwart (National standard British Dressage); Saule Luneviciute (International Ice Dancer); Maisie Lavelle (National standard Tennis Player).


This Thursday, we are also very pleased to welcome Steve Oakes, Director of Education at AQR International, where he leads the work on mental toughness in education. He will be delivering a Mental Toughness Awareness presentation to the students and a training session to staff, as the school moves to embedding the “7 C’s” of Care, Courtesy, Consideration, Commitment, Challenge, Control and Confidence. Alongside this, we are welcoming parents between 7-8pm to hear Steve talk about how (as parents) you can help your children to develop the resilience, optimism and determination necessary to enable them to make great progress.

Mental Toughness Fortnight – Parental Talk, Centenary Hall MTGS – Thursday 12th October 7-8pm

Steve Oakes is the Director of Education at AQR International, where he leads the work on mental toughness in education. Steve has 17 years teaching experience, prior to which, he spent six years in the Armed Forces. He successfully completed the Royal Marines Commando and the Parachute Regiment selection courses. He received the GSM and US Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding work in Northern Iraq.

Steve worked with the Independent Schools Council for their recent research project, relating to the development of soft skills and mental toughness. The research (in which Merchant Taylors’ participated) found that “Pupils in independent schools are controlled, committed, confident and like a challenge”. The quantitative research shows pupils at ISC independent schools have good attainment, wellbeing and behaviour and are more resilient, better at dealing with setbacks and more open to learning as a result.

Using a mental toughness model called MTQ48, the study – An Analysis of Mental Toughness at UK Independent Schools – included 9,000 pupils of all ages from 58 schools in England and Scotland.

The test defines mental toughness as the ‘mindset that every person adopts in everything they do’.

In this fortnight of Mental Toughness across MTGS and MTPS, we are delighted to welcome Steve to our school. He will be delivering a training session to staff, as the school moves to embedding the “7 C’s” of Care, Courtesy, Consideration, Commitment, Challenge, Control and Confidence, with all our students.

Parents are invited to join us to hear Steve talk about how (as parents) you can help your children to develop the grit and determination necessary to enable them to make great progress.

Old Boy elected Master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company

Old Boy Peter Magill has recently been elected as the Master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in Threadneedle Street, London.

It was Crosby sheep farmer John Harrison who first went to London and joined the Company as an apprentice to learn the tailoring trade. His son, also called John, continued in the trade and subsequently bequeathed a sum of money in his will to found a school in Crosby. Although John Junior had never visited the area, he had heard his father talk of the need for a school. So, in 1620, Merchant Taylors’ School Crosby was founded.

Peter joined the school in 1956, entering the ‘Prep School’ in what would now be Year Five. By his own admission Peter had a singularly unspectacular school career by Merchants’ standards, and left in 1966 to attend the City University in London. Here a chance meeting with the then Master of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers led to an introduction and subsequent Apprenticeship with the Merchant Taylors’ Company. Some seven years later Peter was made a Freeman of the Company and of the City of London and, in 1989, was admitted as a Liveryman of the Company.

Now living in Birmingham, Peter was asked to represent the Company as its nominated School Governor in 2005, and served on the Board of Governors up until July 2017. In 2009 Peter was elected to the Court of the Company and after serving on various committees – including two terms acting as one of the four Wardens of the Company – he was elected as its six hundred and ninety first Master in July of this year. While the earliest records are unclear it is thought that Peter is the first ‘boy’ from the Crosby school to hold this position.

Today the Company maintains close links with all its schools and also has a very active charity function, administering various trust funds created over the centuries.

“It is a great privilege and honour to be elected Master of this ancient Company” says Peter. “It will be a busy but very enjoyable year. There are already over two hundred meetings, appointments and functions to attend, not least of which will be two visits to Liverpool for the Girls’ School Prize Giving and the Boys’ Speech Day.”

“We are also busy with the preparations for the Company’s next joint schools concert, after the success of the first at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in March 2016. I am hoping to see a strong contingent of musicians, parents and visitors from Crosby for the afternoon of 11th November 2018 at Symphony Hall in Birmingham.”


Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School shows support for Sri Lankan Charity

It is thanks to a Merchant Taylors’ Old Boy, Mark Edwards, that rural school cricket in Sri Lanka is getting a boost of much needed equipment.

Tragically Mark recently lost his life following a short illness and, in his honour, Merchant Taylors’ School and its pupils is putting its full support and energy behind collecting as much cricket kit as possible to send to Sri Lanka and its rural schools. Mark’s old firm, Allport Cargo Services, is also supporting Mark’s initiative and will be transporting the cargo at no cost.

Mark, who attended Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School between from 1984 to 1991, was passionate about school cricket and, after a successful career in the 1st XI team and Junior County squad, carried on playing as an adult for the Northern Cricket Club.

When Mark and his family moved to Hong Kong, he became an active member of the Hong Kong Cricket Club. “At the centre of his life at the Club was his cricket and the venues he visited and played in would have made any international cricketer proud. He represented the Hong Kong Cricket Club at the MCG in Melbourne and, during one of his proudest moments, played the MCC at Lords” remembered a friend.

It was on a work trip to Sri Lanka that Mark saw for himself how school children had to exchange kit in the middle of the ground to enable the next player to go in to bat. That particular school, about 3 hours from Colombo, had 2 bats, 2 sets of pads and 1 helmet to share between all of its players.

It was at that point that Mark decided to do something about it and, with the help of his colleague and good friend, Sujan Malawana, linked up with the charity “Foundation of Goodness”. Their purpose – to transport unwanted kit from the UK to school children in this cricket loving nation.

Mark Edwards

Mark’s wife, Anna, is delighted that both the school and Allport are supporting Mark’s work. “Mark was passionate about cricket, and that passion started at school. He wants as many school children as possible to have the chance to play the game.”

2017 has been the most successful cricket season in the history of the Merchant Taylors’, where the game has been played competitively since 1890. The 1st XI won 14 matches and finished the season unbeaten in the North West Merit League, and also defeated the MCC, whilst the Under 15 XI had an even better season, becoming the joint National T20 champions, runners-up in the National ESCA 40 over cup, and County and North of England champions in both formats of the game.

Simon Sutcliffe, Head of Cricket at the school, commented that “these achievements have raised the standard of cricket here to unprecedented levels, and next on the horizon for these boys is the opportunity to test themselves in a different country and climate as they embark on a 12 day tour to Sri Lanka at half term. This will also give them the opportunity to see the important work this charity and Mark’s project is doing”.

If you have any cricket items – clothes or equipment – that you would like to donate, please contact between now and Friday 27th October to organise the handover. Please support this extremely worthwhile cause – and have a clear out at the same time!

Head Boys 2017-18

We are proud to introduce our new Head Boy Team 2017-18. Welcome Thomas Barker-Weinberger (Head Boy), Matthew Johnson (Deputy Head Boy), Michael O’Sullivan (Deputy Head Boy), Harry Maitland (Senior Monitor), James Redpath (Senior Monitor), Vyas Burra (Senior Monitor). We wish you all the luck in your new roles!

Head Boys 2017-2018 (Left to right): Matthew Johnson (Deputy Head Boy), Vyas Burra (Senior Monitor), Michael O’Sullivan (Deputy Head Boy), Harry Maitland (Senior Monitor) James Redpath (Senior Monitor), Thomas Barker-Weinberger (Head Boy).

Merchant Taylors’ Speaker Series welcomes the Co-Founders of the RAP Project

The Schools were delighted to welcome Deana Puccio and Allison Havey, Co-Founders of the RAP Project, to talk to boys from years 9 – Upper Sixth, girls from year 10, staff and parents in a number of bespoke presentations on Tuesday 12th September.

The RAP Project (Raising Awareness and Prevention Project) was set up by Deana and Allison to provide a variety of programmes to pre-teens, teenagers, young adults, teachers and parents to raise awareness about personal safety issues on and off line.   These age appropriate presentations included Body Image (Years 9 and 10), Social Skills for Life (Years 11 and 12) and ‘The Big Leap to University’ for our Upper Sixth Form.  Our teenagers seemed visibly relieved to discuss these somewhat ‘taboo’ issues and share back what makes them feel vulnerable and anxious.  Amanda and Allison then worked this feedback into their presentations, along with the latest statistics, their own surveys and quotes from other students.   Please follow these links for information sheets and useful contacts:

Presentation on Body Image to Years 9 & 10:             

Presentation on Social Skills to Years 11&12:             

Presentation on ‘the Big Leap to University to Year 13:

Left to right: Sarah Maitland (Speaker Series Co-ordinator), Allison Havey, Deiniol Williams (Headmaster), Deana Puccio

Lancashire Table Tennis Association Junior (U/18) & Cadet (U/15) Trials Garstang – September 9th-10th 2017

All five of the school’s competitive Table Tennis Players (Max & Rhys Davies, Nick & Chris Moustaka and Harry Griffiths) were nominated by the Southport Table Tennis League to compete in the Lancashire County Trials held recently in Garstang.

All five played in the U/18 category against the best players in Lancashire and Cumbria with the objective of being selected to represent Lancashire in the County Championships. Lancashire have two Junior Teams competing in the Premier Division for the top eight counties with the 2nd team competing in Division 2! There would be up to seven places for boys’ and five for the girls’ to fight for. The contestants play in a series of round robin matches which then result in a county ranking from 1 to 30!

Top seed Rhys got off to a good start by winning his original group (including a win against Harry) to ensure that he remained in the battle to rank the top twelve. Only the top two in each of the six groups make this phase while all the 3rd, 4th and 5th placed players play off for places 13-30. Unfortunately, and despite some good wins, the four other players did not make the top twelve.

The second phase saw three groups of four play to reach the final part of the selection process. The three group winners would play off for positions 1-3, the runner’s-up for places 4-6 and so on. The draw had produced a particularly tough group for Rhys with all four players having previously represented Lancashire. Despite this he continued to excel, winning all three matches without dropping a set to make it through to the top group, where he continued to dominate and winning 3-1 & 3-0 to top the rankings.

This means that Rhys will represent Lancashire for the 3nd year in a row at U/18 level and this time he will lead the 1st team in the premier division against Sussex, Nottinghamshire, Kent, Middlesex, Yorkshire, Hampshire & Glamorgan.

Harry returned the next day to start the process again in the U/15s with Rhys automatically selected and ranked at No.1 due to his high national ranking. Harry gained valuable experience and notched up his 1st win at this level which augurs well for the coming season.

Merchant Taylors’ U15 Cricket    

Merchant Taylors’ U15 cricket team rounded off a spectacularly successful season last Sunday by becoming joint national T20 champions. Having won through to Finals Day by beating Cheadle Hulme and Sedbergh in the North of England finals in June they joined Oakham, Whitgift and Wellington College at the famous Arundel Castle ground to play off for the prestigious national trophy.

In the semi-final game against Oakham Merchants batted first and after a good opening partnership between Robert Rankin and Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe Harvey Rankin joined his brother to put together a match winning stand. Robert’s 51 and Harvey’s undefeated 46, together with 30 from George Politis, enabled Merchants to score 149 for 3. The Oakham innings started well but good bowling from all the Merchants boys ensured that the run rate remained just too high for their opponents to overcome. With Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe, Sam Regan, Josh Carberry and Robert Rankin all taking important wickets and George Hopwood bowling a tight spell, Oakham fell 6 runs short on 143 for 6.

Steady rain throughout the second semi-final made conditions very difficult, and although the final against Whitgift was started another heavy downpour meant that no further play was possible and the trophy was shared. This was a particularly impressive performance considering that Merchants were missing Oliver Green through injury and both Alex barker and Jay Singh due to other holiday commitments.

Earlier this season Merchants Under 15’s also got through to the final of the ESCA national 40 over cup, losing eventually to Bede’s School from Sussex. Nevertheless, Merchant Taylors’ was the only school in England and Wales to get through to the finals of both formats of the game. This is a testament to the ability and commitment of the boys themselves and the efforts of their coaches at the school, Will Miles and Head of Cricket Simon Sutcliffe, who commented – “This group of boys have become county and regional champions in both T20 and 40 over cricket, and national finalists in both, sharing the national T20 trophy with Whitgift. They have played some exciting and aggressive cricket throughout the season and thoroughly deserve all the accolades which have come their way.”

Next on the horizon for the Merchants players is a major tour to Sri Lanka in October where the boys will face the challenge of playing in a different environment entirely. If they can maintain their recent form they should acquit themselves very well.


“E Safety for Parents” Deana Puccio and Allison Havey: Tuesday 12th September 2017

Come and join us for our E Safety for Parents talk on the 12th September. Deana and Allison co-founded the Raising Awareness and Prevention (RAP) Project to raise awareness to pre-teens, teenagers, young adults, teachers and parents about personal safety issues on and off line. This E-Safety presentation helps parents to understand what their kids are doing online. It will focus on the dangers of careless use of the internet, sexting, cyber bullying, grooming, indiscretion, and how one’s reputation on the internet cannot be ‘deleted’. Most importantly, Deana and Allison work on how to try and control what your child is exposed to and how to influence what they choose to expose themselves to.

Allison and Deana will be signing copies of their new book after their presentation which will be available to buy for £10 (rrp £12.99). This book acknowledges that it is simply not possible to monitor every aspect of a teenager’s online world, and insight into what they might be looking at, advice on how to talk to teens about social media to help keep them safe and the warning signs to look out for.

To book your complimentary places, please email or use the online booking link at

Click here for further information.