Welcome to the Lower School
Lower School (Years 7 to 9) is very much a ‘school within a school’. We appreciate that the move from primary school to secondary school can be a bit daunting so we make sure our Lower School retains a small, friendly feel to it where every boy is known – right from the outset.
There are around 75 boys in each year and our Lower School has its own character, environment and atmosphere. There are three form classes in each year group and the boys see their form tutor every day, so our tutors get to know every boy in their care very quickly and are always there for any questions or queries they may have. The boys will spend most academic lessons with their form class so they get to know each other quickly.
At MTBS, staff work hard to create a friendly and collegiate environment where boys can thrive and excel in a number of ways. This is due, in no small part, to the quality of the relationships between staff and boys. We are confident that both sons and parents will find the school a friendly place and that boys will go on to make lifelong friends.
Our full Induction day is organised for boys joining the Year 7 before the start of term in September, giving them the chance to explore the campus, meet some of their new teachers, and start developing new friendships.
To further help the settling in process, there are a group of sixth formers appointed to be Peer Supporters who organise activities for Year 7 in PSHE sessions. These older pupils are ideally placed to provide the boys with any help they need as they get to know the school.
Boys join the Lower School in the Year 7 and carry on through to the end of Year 9 when they have started their GCSE studies. Boys are split into four houses and each boy also has a Housemaster. There is great inter-house camaraderie as boys take part in various inter-house competitions ranging from: football, cricket, quizzes, debating, through to chess and athletics on Sports Day.
We do our best to encourage all of our boys to seize the numerous opportunities available to them at MTBS and to develop in many ways: self-confidence, co-curricular activities and a zest for life beyond school.
Our advice is this: work hard; take risks, don’t be afraid to try new things, seize opportunities, treat others as you would have them treat you, and, if you need help – ask!
If you have any queries about Lower School or would like to know more, please contact Neill Hunt [email protected]
Mr Neill Hunt, Head of Lower School
Year 7 @ MTBS
Head of Year 7 – Mr O’Brien
You can view some of our current Year 7 pupils’ thoughts on MTBS HERE
This is a phrase that we use to describe the sort of person that we would like you to be while you are a pupil at Merchant Taylors’. Of course, we expect you to work hard and to get involved with the extra curricular activities which we have on offer. However, being a Merchant’ Man is about much more than this. It’s about your character and, perhaps most importantly, it is about how you interact with other people.
I hope that the following guidelines are helpful to you in understanding what it means to be a Merchants’ Man.
Merchants’ Men are respectful – of other people and their property
Merchants’ Men are kind and go out of their way to help others
Merchants’ Men are polite, think about what they say and do not use bad language (this includes when online or using messaging apps)
Merchants’ Men are honest
Merchants’ Men are empathic – they can imagine how others might be thinking or feeling
Merchants’ Men may not always be successful, but they always try to be the best that they can be
Merchants’ Men know what it means to be part of the Merchant Taylors’ family
Head Boy Team – James O’Sullivan (Head Boy), Marcus Baldwin (Deputy) & Edward Pope (Deputy)
My name is James O’Sullivan and I’m delighted to have been appointed as the Head Boy for next year. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all and I hope we can return to normal school life as soon as possible.
I’m aware that most of you may be a bit nervous about what to expect when you join the senior school next year but the main piece of advice that I would give you would be to say yes more than you say no. This school offers such a wide range of activities and when you join the school you won’t know what you like and what you’re good at unless you give it a try. This will not only push you out of your comfort zone, but you will be able to pick up little bits of knowledge from all the activities which will be an enormous help as you grow up, not to mention all the friends you will make along the way! And lastly, I’d say whatever you find yourself doing here at Merchants, give it your all, because you don’t want to have any regrets when you look back at your time here.
When you start school in September, if you need any advice or help, please don’t hesitate to ask me or one of the other prefects – that’s what we’re here for!
Head of School Council – Oliver Bigley
A video made by Joe in Year 7
Pastoral care is something which we take very seriously. We want boys to be happy during their time with us as happy boys are productive boys – in all aspects of their life. Effective pastoral care is all about knowing boys well and having honest, trusting relationships between staff, boys and parents.
The aim of the pastoral team is to support boys throughout their School journey so that they can emerge as confident, responsible, resilient and compassionate Merchants’ Men.
All members of the teaching staff have pastoral input to the boys in their care. However, there are some key Pastoral staff who have particular responsibility for boys during their time at School.
First and foremost is the Form Tutor. Boys see their Form Tutors twice a day for registration and three times a week for Form Periods or PSHE. They quickly get to know each other and can support and advise boys on all aspects of their lives, from academic organization through friendships and other relationships to subject and career choices. We have specialist Form Tutors in Year 7 who are experienced in inducting new pupils and guiding them through their first year as a Merchant Taylors’ pupil. As they get older, boys stay with their Form Tutor for a longer time – boys have the same Form Tutor for the two years of their GCSE studies and again, will remain with a specialist Form Tutor for the two years of their Sixth Form career.
Form Tutors are the first point of contact between School and home as well as being the person to whom a boy should go if he needs advice or support. Form Tutors are experienced in discussing any difficulties that a boy might have. They are also really enjoy being able to celebrate success with members of their Form.
We divide the School into three sections – Lower School (7, 8 & 9), Middle School (10, 11) and the Sixth Form. Overseeing and advising in each of these sections we have a Group Tutor. These are experienced pastoral leaders with specific training in safeguarding, who are able to monitor and steer the pastoral work which is carried out by the members of their team.
Deputy Head Pastoral – Mr D Williams
Academic @ MTBS
Academic life at Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School
Boys in Year 7 study the following subjects as part of their timetable:
Latin & Classical Civilisation
The School’s curriculum is completed by classes in PSHE, a weekly Games session and Tendo – MTBS’ activities programme which takes place every other week on a Friday afternoon.
Boys in Year 7 will, typically, have three homework tasks of 20 minutes each per evening. All homework will be set via Firefly – and boys might submit or publish their work using Firefly too. You can find out a little more about how we use Firefly at Merchants but navigating to the adjacent page.
Assessments happen throughout the year to help the boys to understand their progress and to make improvements in their performance. Longer summer assessments takes place in May to help boys consolidate all the work covered in Year 7. Not all subjects will set a longer ‘summer exam’ – this year the boys took papers in six subjects. Performance in class assessments is noted in half-termly grade cards and reports. An evaluation of the boys’ attitudes to learning are also communicated in these documents.
The following video provides an indication of what the online Firefly platform is and how we use Firefly to support the boys’ learning. This video is an extract of a training resource we use with the Year 7 boys as they join the school. All new Year 7 boys will receive Firefly training during the induction day in September.
Learning support is an integral part of learning at Merchant Taylors’ with over 100 boys accessing our department.
Support and intervention are offered to boys in the following ways;
• Reasonable adjustments and in class support where needed;
• Small group intervention for study skills, core subject practice and reinforcement;
• Weekly or fortnightly 1-1 lessons for boys needing support, such as organisation, developing writing skills, revision and exam strategies and study skills.
The majority of pupils follow the full curriculum. In certain circumstances, some boys are offered timetabled learning support that allows them to focus on their core subjects and still enjoy a full and challenging curriculum.
Where the need arises for a boy to require a formal assessment to fully understand their learning needs, Mrs Blease will carry out a suitable assessment or we will arrange for an Education Psychologist to assess him in school*. Again, Mrs Blease is able to assess all boys for the evidence needed to apply for access arrangements for external exams*.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions [email protected]
*There is an additional charge for formal assessments
Head of Learning Supports – Mrs Edwards
Co-curricular @ MTBS
We believe that every Merchant Taylors’ boy should have the opportunity to receive an education that is uniquely and distinctively enriching. By promoting and satisfying their intellectual curiosity, we aim to develop young men who are independent lifelong learners, as well as helping them to acquire the knowledge and skills that will enable them to lead happy, healthy and successful lives when they leave school.
A key element of the enrichment provision at Merchant Taylors’ is the wide range of events and activities that regularly take place outside the classroom, usually during lunchtime, after school or at weekends.
All boys are able to choose from a wide variety of sports offered by the PE Department, including traditional team sports of rugby, football, hockey and cricket to sports such as swimming, rowing, cross country and orienteering. A full programme of fixtures provides competitive opportunities for boys of all abilities, while support is provided to those who have reached elite level in a particular sport. We offer a wide range of opportunities including from the regular Saturday fixtures to a thriving House competition.
Another important element of the co-curricular programme is the Duke of Edinburgh participations and also the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) which takes place every Thursday after school, both developing discipline as well as valuable teamwork skills. In addition, an extraordinary number of clubs and societies meet every week. These range from the Badminton Club to Jigsaw Club to the School Council, Board Games Club and Debating Society. Pupils are encouraged to launch new initiatives particularly in the sixth form, and many of them develop important leadership and organisational skills by running the societies themselves.
Sport is a strength at Merchant Taylors’. With expert coaching and excellent facilities, boys thrive on the opportunities to compete and develop their talents in team and individual sports. We enjoy a national reputation for cricket and our football goes from strength to strength. A number of the cricket teams have won county competitions whilst we have had success at national level with our current senior boys.
In the autumn term rugby and hockey are the main team sports, with football taking over after Christmas. Summer sports include cricket, athletics and tennis. There are other sports that regularly train and compete in both local and regional competitions. Being a good sportsman, in every sense, is the philosophy that underpins our games. Not all boys are naturally good at sport but we cater for everyone, which ensures that all boys can take part and feel a sense of achievement.
The Music Department is an active department housed in its own, purpose-built Music School. There is one large room which doubles as a big rehearsal studio, concert hall and the main teaching room. It is equipped with digital recording equipment. A second teaching room is equipped with electric keyboards and computers running Sibelius – the state-of-the-art music software. There are six small practice rooms used for Instrumental Tuition and a store room for instruments.
Outside the classroom, Music is very much a part of School life, with many boys taking Instrumental Tuition in School (as well as numerous others learning an instrument privately). There are several visiting music teachers who, between them, teach the whole range of orchestral and band instruments, as well as piano, organ, guitar and singing.
In addition there are various ensembles catering for different standards of playing, most notable at the highest level being the Concert Band, Swing Band and Strings Plus. There are now four established singing group- ranging from the MicroTones for Year5/6 boys, the Overtones (Year 7), the SemiTones for Year 8 -10 and a group of Senior Singers: The Tones who sang in Liverpool Cathedral before Christmas to an audience of 2,000 people. There is a senior saxophone quartet, plus several other woodwind groups, and a MegaWind ensemble, a brass group, and various other groups formed ad hoc to give boys the chance to play together. In addition there is a String Group, senior woodwind quintet, 5 other woodwind groups, 3 brass groups, and other groups formed ad hoc to give boys the chance of playing together.
From time to time a large choral society joins forces with local adult choirs and performs large scale works in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. There are a number of concerts each year in School, and boys also regularly perform out of School. The Tones have performed at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London, and three boys from the SemiTones took part in a BBC Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
There are many opportunities for the boys to get involved with extra-curricular drama. Many of the productions that take place are joint and the Boys’ and Girls’ Schools alternate hosting their major musical production each year.
A strong tradition of excellence in Drama has been built up over many years. Shakespeare, political drama, farce, comedies and musicals have been produced to high standards. Recent major joint school productions have included ‘Grease’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Fame’. A number of our students have gone on to become professional actors having begun their careers at Merchants.
Many of the productions have involved large casts of forty or more students and play to capacity houses of five hundred in the Williams Hall over a four night run; the levels of excitement and enjoyment on show nights are quite special.
We are very fortunate to have the co-operation and expertise of the Music department, whose musical skills and professionalism have supported our productions.
Duke of Edinburgh:
Taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a popular activity for boys from Year 9 upwards and the group is flourishing. Each year about sixty boys undertake the Bronze Award and a large number continue to the Silver level. Smaller numbers of boys go on to take the Gold Award in the Sixth Form, with the four-day qualifying expedition in the summer holiday.
The Award gives boys the opportunity
-To give sustained service to the community in which they live
-To develop new talents, to take exercise beyond the bounds of school P.E and Games.
-To accept the challenge of completing a journey across the countryside, camping out and carrying everything they need
-Finding their own way in unfamiliar territory and learning to rely on themselves lead to an increased sense of achievement.
For the Bronze award training is given for expeditions once a week through the TENDO Friday afternoon programme, culminating in an Expedition in late June. Support and advice is available for all sections of the award in preparation for the higher levels of the award. Each year there will be a number of expeditions during the months of April to October.
Combined Cadet Force (CCF):
Merchant Taylors’ is proud to have the largest voluntary cadet contingency in the North West, comprising more than 270 girls and boys.
Boys can choose to join the CCF from Year 9, growing and learning together across Army, Navy and Royal Air Force sections.
CCF training encapsulates the life skills that young people need in order to prosper in the modern workplace by giving them first-hand experience of teamwork, resilience, problem-solving and leadership. The CCF meets on a Thursday evening between 4.10 and 6.00pm. The CCF culminates in an Annual Inspection early in the Summer Term where cadets display a range of skills they have learnt over the year.
In addition to this weekly training, the cadets have the opportunity of attending a variety of camps and courses, both in Great Britain and overseas. Mountaineering, camping, sailing, flying and shooting are just some of the activities in which they can get involved.
The CCF is run largely by the older and more senior cadets, under the guidance of the adult staff. The CCF belongs to its cadets, and it is to their credit that it is so large, so busy and so successful. Indeed, our Old Boys and Old Girls often speak of the enduring legacy of the CCF throughout their careers, recalling the opportunities for leadership, camaraderie and equality that comes from working alongside male and female peers.
TENDO (‘to stretch, aim and extend’) – Friday afternoon activity programme:
At Merchants’, we aim to develop well-educated, well-rounded and caring young men who will play a significant role in society. They will become good men, good husbands and good fathers; they will be good team members as well as leaders; above all, they will seek to be a positive influence wherever they find themselves. Our young men are all academically able and we seek to nurture in them a spirit of inquiry and curiosity which will see them explore their chosen interests, whatever these might be.
To this end, the activities programme will sit at the core of the curriculum within the new timetable structure. It aims to cultivate intellectual curiosity, engagement and strong learning attributes. There will be opportunities for student leadership and for boys of all ages to work together. The programme is designed to complement the academic and co-curricular activities which are available to students, but also to offer a range of opportunities that may lead them into new fields which may become lifelong passions. The activities will represent a substantial part of the learning experience at Merchants’.
The programme will run on Friday afternoons during periods 4 and 5 (from 1.40 to 4.00pm) every other week.
In the Lower School we want to foster curiosity and creativity through a broad programme of activities which students will rotate around. In years 7 and 8 the activities will range from skill based courses such as cooking and music ensemble, discussion based courses such as debating and information literacy, to sports such as badminton and orienteering. Year 9 boys will follow a skills based programme linked to the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. There will also be the opportunity to enrol onto the scheme and work towards the different levels of the award.
In the Middle School the focus is to extend students to develop in a variety of fields, for example some may lead to gaining qualifications or serving our local community. Whilst in the Sixth Form we aim to enrich the students further, with added opportunities to take a leading role in the delivery of activities for others. Boys in Year 10 to sixth form will be able to follow a bespoke programme by opting into a wide variety of activities working in vertical groups. Boys may choose to do something for one term or engage in an activity which lasts for the whole year.
View the TENDO booklet HERE