‘Concordia Parvae Res Crescunt’
Small things grow in harmony
Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School is an independent, day school for girls aged 11-18. Based in Crosby, Liverpool: it is one of the leading girls’ schools in the North West.
When you visit Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School you will feel the extraordinary warmth which comes from the good relationships that dedicated staff and motivated girls have with each other. We are a single-sex environment which encourages girls to express themselves, to seek help when they need it, to practise leadership roles and to reach for the top. Our achievements in external examinations indicate the highest academic standards, and we give our girls the encouragement they need to develop essential life skills: independent learning, teamwork, determination, flexibility and problem solving.
We strive to balance tried and tested principles with current trends in educational thinking. Marrying the needs of tomorrow’s workplace with today’s educational provision creates a school ready and able to embrace the changes of a technological, global village – and helping our girls find their successful place in it.
The Merchant Taylors’ School for Girls came about in 1888, having inherited the buildings from the boys’ school that had moved ‘up the road’ in 1874. The then governing body was dilatory in providing for the ‘new’ school and it was due to the insistence of James Fenning, the Master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, that the girls’ school was started. At the School’s opening all of the female staff were graduates, a fact that is very impressive considering that at the time only four universities were granting degrees to women! In June 1888 twelve pupils attended the school, by the 1920s this figure had grown to 300 and now has more than doubled to around 600. The continuing increase in pupil numbers enabled the purchase in 1911 of the adjoining house, ‘The Mulberries’ which doubled the existing space and still adds to the charm of the school. The jewel of the buildings, the now grade II listed 1620’s building (currently housing the library), has always dominated the surrounding area and new buildings. Two generous donations from a former headmistress ensured further development of facilities forming the basis of the network of buildings we now possess.
The prefect system from the early days was abolished in 1972 and the more democratic system of Sixth Form committees that replaced it, still flourishes today. Only in 2008 was the House System reintroduced and the four houses are now: Minerva, Thalia, Gaia and Selene. The houses will compete in the same way that they have done since 1917 in points, academia, and sports.
The first curriculum was based on a limited version of the boys’, with little Mathematics or Latin in case it taxed the female brain, and plenty of ‘feminine’ subjects such as singing and needlework to placate worries of producing only ‘bluestockings’ and thus almost guaranteed spinsterhood! The curriculum today, offering so much opportunity and variety, would have been hugely envied by the early girls. Sport has always flourished ranging from hockey, played in long skirts, through hill rambling in the 1930s, to rowing and sailing and ‘self defence’ today.
Links with the local community have always been important. In 1911 the school adopted a ‘waif’ from the local children’s home and formed a link which continued beyond the 1940s. A huge war effort was also undertanken during WW2, making camouflage netting, scrubbing floors at local hospitals and raising money for ‘Warships Week’. Today’s Sixth Formers continue this tradition by helping local schools, charity shops and nursing homes.
Merchant Taylors' Company
Merchant Taylors’ Company
Merchant Taylors’ Company is one of the “Great Twelve” Livery Companies of the City of London, and dates from mediaeval times. The 108 Livery Companies trace their roots back to the guilds which developed around the different trades active in the City.
Whilst many of the ancient companies now have only vague links with their original trade, new Livery Companies continue to be formed to this day and serve as ‘guilds’ in the traditional sense. The most recently formed is the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, which became a Livery Company in February 2008.
Merchant Taylors’ was originally a religious and social fraternity, founded before the beginning of the 14th Century by an association of tailors and ‘linen armourers’ (the latter made the padded tunics or ‘gambesons’ worn under suits of armour.) By virtue of a series of Royal Charters granted from 1327 onwards, the functions of the ‘Gild’ were extended and by the end of the 15th Century it controlled the tailoring trade.
However, the membership ceased over time to be composed of craftsmen, and became dominated by merchants trading with other parts of the world. The nature of the organisation therefore changed to the extent that, by the 17th Century, it had become what it is today – a social and philanthropic association devoting its energy to educational and charitable works, forming part of the fabric of the City of London.
Today’s Company plays a role in three key areas of activity: education, social housing, and charitable grant-making. These, together with investments and social activities (serviced by its world-class catering subsidiary, which is available for private hire), are run by a governing body called the Court, composed of people from industries including finance, law, construction and engineering, with the support of a small professional staff.
Senior members of the Company known as the Livery assist the Court in many of the Company’s activities. One such ‘Liveryman’ was John Harrison, founder of Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby.
Applications for Membership of the Company are open to all. Young people often apply to join the Company as an ‘apprentice’ between the ages of 14-26, which involves attending Company events and meeting regularly with an existing member of the Company who acts as a mentor. After a period of time, successful apprentices may be admitted to the Company as “Freemen”, at which time they are also eligible to apply for the Freedom of the City of London.
For more information about the Company and its activities, please visit our website: www.merchant-taylors.co.uk
Historical past, Vibrant future
Established over a century ago on a foundation which has provided for education in the area since 1620 the school has for generations fostered individual talent while offering a broad curriculum to all. From Classics to Chemistry, subjects taught combine the best of the traditional with the most recent developments in Information Technology. The school enters the 21st Century with confidence based on a history of distinguished academic excellence and a proven ability to respond to change.
The language of progress
Pupils enter the main school with eager anticipation of new horizons opening out. They are not disappointed. Experienced tutors guide the girls as they learn to manage a timetable covering an exciting range of subjects, taught in specialist rooms by highly qualified staff. Expert support is provided as the girls learn to manage their time and balance the demands of schoolwork with recreational activities and life at home.
Learning by experience
A successful school draws from its past and builds for its future. ln every aspect of school life, experience is the key to learning; the experience of a committed staff dedicated to unlocking the potential of their pupils, and the experience gained by the girls as they avail themselves of the wide range of opportunities offered.
Discovering true potential
One of the strengths of the school is that it draws its pupils from a wide variety of backgrounds. Individual support through a strong pastoral system is regarded as important. In a disciplined yet friendly environment we aim for every girl to grow academically, morally and spiritually.
- To educate the pupil in the fullest sense so that she begins to realise her academic and personal potential.
- To create a happy and caring environment within which pupils can develop a sense of their personal worth.
- To develop a clear understanding of what is right and wrong and a respect for others, to enable each pupil to make a worthwhile contribution to the community.
- To develop their initiative, confidence, independence and self-discipline in order to meet the challenges of life.
These aims can be achieved only if girls maintain a basic code of conduct. Every girl is expected to co-operate in this respect; the good name of the school depends largely on the behaviour of individual members at all times and not only when they are directly under its jurisdiction. The Headmistress is confident that parents will wish to work together with the school to further this end.
The Vitreum Arts Centre is an exciting resource for the students and school community. Dance, poetry and music performances by outside practitioners as well as our own students at lunchtimes and after school help us to enjoy and experience cultural and creative events on a regular basis.
The gallery showcases the work of local and national artists with an exhibition programme which complements the curriculum. Artists hold workshops and talks to further extend the students’ learning.
Mr Gill, Director of Art, said: “The studio gallery provides a unique opportunity for our students to be inspired by the work of contemporary artists, across a range of media including 2D painting, sculpture, installations or video performance.”
Capital of Culture artist Ben Johnson is Patron of the Vitreum. Ben visited the school in 2007 and captivated the audience with a talk about his life and work. He says:
A society without creativity is not a civilised society. Creativity is a gift we should nurture. It is the basis for our spiritual and material wellbeing. Our schools should provide the foundations and environment to develop the natural instinct of all civilised people which is to make and not destroy. There is no aspect of life that is not enriched by a sensitive soul and the beauty of the Arts is that they are accessible to all people and the spirit behind each work of art should inspire and uplift all who encounter it. The encouragement and fostering of creativity is a blessing. The future of society is in the hands of today’s young people.