GTX: Gifted & Talented Extension

Standing for Gifted, Talented and eXtension, GTX is Merchant Taylors’ Friday afternoon enrichment programme, replacing the ‘conventional’ school timetable for Year 7-9 boys and offering ‘vertical grouping’ to enable students in all three years into work collaboratively and outside the restrictive confines of traditional academic assessment. Many leading schools are investing time and resources in enrichment activities and Merchant Taylors’ is no exception – GTX is designed to stretch our students beyond the confines of exam specifications and it evolves into World Tomorrow Today in Year 10 and Year 11, where boys embark on a series of six week modules on life skills, for example First Aid or Cooking, and cognitive development, including Debating and an introduction to the World of the Arts.

Whilst we will continue to focus well over 90% of precious curriculum time on the core business of examination preparation, we believe there are huge potential gains in offering a portfolio of activities which can develop skills like problem-solving and creativity, especially when it comes to UCAS applications to top courses and Russell Group universities. We have used the work of Harvard Professor Howard Gardner, a leading authority on thinking skills, for example, when designing the World Tomorrow Today courses.

Students typically opt into three 10-week GTX sessions a year, ranging from activities as diverse as beekeeping and robotics. They will learn new skills and hopefully unlock latent talents which might otherwise remain dormant in more traditional settings. Crucially, we hope that many will develop transferable learning skills such as resilience and resourcefulness, which will trickle down into the academic curriculum. Sixth formers, if their timetable allows, can opt into any GTX course, often helping members of staff to lead the activities effectively, most recently, for example, a full course on ICT applications entitled Apple Byte Rather like being a monitor or peer supporter therefore, it is a chance to develop leadership skills and, more importantly, it is meant to be a fun way to finish on a Friday!