MTGS Year 6 to 7 Transition
We look forward to welcoming you to Merchant Taylor’s Girls’ School in September 2022.
Below we have collated some useful information for both parents and pupils ahead of the beginning of the new school year. We have tried to include as much information as possible, but if you do have any further questions please contact our Admissions Team who will be happy to help. We are here to support you and your child’s transition to Year 7.
When you arrive in Year 7 at MTGS you will join the Lower School Section. We have Heads of Houses who will give you day to day support and lead your house.
Mrs Houghton – Head of Gaia
Mrs Mee – Head of Thalia
Mrs Angwin – Head of Minvera
What is Vertical Tutoring?
Tutor groups are arranged into groups made up of students of different ages. A vertical tutor group would contain some students (approximately four to five) from each year group 7-13.
Is Vertical Tutoring a new concept?
No. Vertical Tutoring is well established in schools nationally. Indeed, several members of the teaching staff were pupils in schools which had a vertical tutoring system. The school’s Senior Management Team has considered this system for some time and believes that there are significant advantages to be had. We also discussed it with parents at the Parents’ Pastoral Forum in the Sprint term of 2020 and with MTGS staff over a number of terms. Furthermore, we have received professional advice on the concept and spoken to schools that have adopted vertical tutoring. We are now informing the wider school community and providing more detail to all the key stakeholders.
Why does MTGS wish to change?
We believe that the role of the tutor is central to developing successful relationships for learning. Despite our best intentions, there are too many ‘invisible’ pupils, many of whom go through the system doing the right things, day in and day out, and not having at least one adult in the school who knows them well. Learning relationships between people (pupil, parents and tutors) are the basis for successful outcomes. Tutors are the key to learning as a whole school process and vertical tutoring will provide the time and structure to achieve this.
Schools where vertical tutoring is in place report the following benefits of the approach:
• Extended family: with mixed-age tutor groups we aim to create an extended family approach to the care we provide for students, with a greater sense of students looking after each other.
• Developing student leadership: Mixed-age tutor groups increase the opportunities for students to learn Leadership skills, especially the older students in the tutor group, who will mentor the younger students. This should help to embed leadership into the structure of school life.
• Better support for each student: a mixed-age tutor group, allows the tutor to provide a greater level of support to each individual student. At key times throughout the year each age group will require a greater level of support (Year 9 when they are choosing their GCSE options, Year 12 when they are applying for University and are writing their Personal Statements). By having only 4/5 students from each year group, the tutor can offer more personalised support at these key times in the year. Our current system means that the tutor has to provide support for 22-24 students at a time; you cannot support this number of students as effectively as only supporting 4-5 students at a time. Throughout the year each student will have one or two, 20-minute mentor meetings. Within mentor meetings, pupils will have the opportunity to focus on their personal and academic progress, highlighting areas for further development. By focussing on only 4-5 pupils from each year group at a time, the mentor meetings can be strategically placed to benefit the pupils the most. By having the tutor as the main focus point within Vertical Tutoring, this should maximise the impact of mentoring-mentor meetings will be sharply focussed, informed by the most up to date data about progress, attendance etc, and they should truly cater for each individual pupil’s needs.
• On-going monitoring by the Tutor: By creating a time to mentor the pupils each term, quality time can be used to set clear targets for pupils to improve. Once the initial targets have been set, the tutor can then monitor the progress through further discussions as they will be seeing pupils and interacting with them on a daily basis.
• Every pupil well-known: the tutor will know each tutee well and this will enable the tutor to provide a greater level of personalised support and guidance. This level of support from the tutor does not happen within our current system of ‘horizontal’ tutoring.
• Better communication with parents: better communication between the tutor and the parent is a key feature of Vertical Tutoring. The outcomes of the mentor meetings should be shared between the tutor, tutee and parents, but they will also be available for all staff to access, through the Vertical Tutoring database we are developing on the school intranet.
This should lead to support from the tutor for tutees as they work on their development targets, support from parents, support from other staff and from other pupils within the tutor group. It is important that the tutor is aware of all conversations between parents and teachers to ensure they are fully up to date with their tutee’s development/progress. To ensure this happens, the tutor will be the first point of contact for parents, and the tutor should be copied in to any communication with parents by the teacher.
• Better progress, higher attainment: pupil’s progress should be enhanced through regular focussed mentoring, more effective communication between school and home and better support from other pupils within the ‘family’ tutor group. This should lead to better progress and higher attainment.
How will Vertical Tutoring manage existing friendships?
When the new tutor groups are compiled, we will take pupils’ friendships, personalities and interests into account in order to create balanced groups and to avoid isolating anyone. Pupils will meet in their tutor groups each morning for registration and then there are two slots on a Tuesday and Friday for the tutor group to meet for PSHE, house related activities and to prepare for various next stages of their education. Pupils may then see their friends in lessons and are free to mix with whomever they please during break and lunchtime.
Will younger pupils be influenced negatively by older pupils?
Research suggests that the opposite is true. An in-group loyalty develops as pupils get to know each other and grow in confidence. Tutors will have responsibility for making sure that any unacceptable behaviour is addressed and that the tutor group bond remains strong.
How many pupils will be in a tutor group?
Each House will have 6-7 tutor groups and each tutor group will have approximately 18-20 pupils made up of clusters of pupils from each age group. The pupils will remain in the same tutor group for their whole school career. We aim also to utilise some our non-teaching staff as co-tutors so that targeted pupils are better supported.
Will pupils be taught lessons in these mixed age groups?
Standard subject lessons will not be mixed-age. Pupils will be in their vertical group for morning registration and for tutor time or assembly. However once a week we intend to deliver a 20-minute Personal Development lesson in tutor time which will be in peer groups.
Why can the tutor offer better support under this system?
The Vertical Tutoring structure enables staff to get to know pupils, to recognise their achievements and address their concerns more effectively. Tutors can focus on small clusters of pupils as they approach significant points in their school life. When Year 9 pupils are applying for GCSE options, the tutor will generally only have to offer guidance to 4-5 pupils at a key point in the year instead of to 22-24 pupils as is presently the case.
How do pupils of different ages work together and support each other?
In a Vertical Tutoring structure, we believe that pupils can learn a lot from each other. When new Year 7 pupils join our community, the transition from primary school will be made easier with a warm welcome by older pupils. When Year 9 pupils are about to choose GCSE subjects, they might discuss with in Year 10/11 what the subject content entails. In addition, we expect pupils to listen to and respect the perspective of others.
What other benefits are offered to the school community?
The structure will offer further opportunities to extend our House competitions in sport, performing arts, quizzes etc. Recognition and sanctions will be operated through the houses, fostering a sense of loyalty and responsibility to others in the house. In this way, we expect that vertical tutoring will develop positive values and a stronger community ethos.
Who decides which tutor group pupils will be placed in?
Heads of House, Head of Year Coordinators, tutors, teaching staff (including Year 6 teachers from Stanfield, Merchant Taylors’) and members of the Senior Management Team will contribute to the process. More vulnerable pupils will be matched with appropriate tutors and in some cases the tutor may remain as it is now to ensure consistency.
The Top 25 Transition Questions asked of our Head of Lower School
Over the years we have been asked many questions when talking to Year 6 girls who are looking forward to joining us at Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School. You may have already asked some of the questions below or they may not have crossed your mind yet but, hopefully, the information below will help!
If there is anything else that you would like to know, please do not hesitate to ask when you see us next or you could always email our Head of Admissions, Mrs Roberts via [email protected]
1. How should I get into school in the mornings and where should I go?
When you arrive in School whether you have caught the school bus, travelled in by car or walked from home, you will enter School by the main door, drop off your mobile phone and then go straight to your form room ready for registration. You will be shown where your form room is during your two Induction Days in September. For the first few weeks, I will be there to great you each day anyway and I will help you with any worries you may have at the start of the day. Senior girls will also be there to help you too.
2. What time do I start and end the day?
All girls should be in school by 8.30am at the latest and registration is at 8.40am, although you can arrive any time after 8.00am. We finish lessons at 4.00pm and at this time you return to your form room to collect your belongings and then you are free to go home unless you have any after school clubs to go to!
3. What if the bus is late or I get stuck in traffic?
If you arrive after 8.40am, then you must go straight to the Reception Desk in the school entrance and explain what has happened and you will be registered there.
4. When are lunch and break times?
Morning break is from 11.10am-11.30am, so there is plenty of time to have a drink, snack, have a chat with friends, visit the bathroom and get yourself ready for the next lesson. Lunchtime runs from 12.35pm until 1.40pm and each year is given a particular time slot to go to lunch.
5. Do I need to bring money in to school for lunch and breaks? Can I bring my own food to school?
You do not need to bring money for lunch as your parents have already paid for this. At break time, snacks are available to purchase from the Dining Room. They are usually £0.50-£1.00 or you can bring your own snack from home. All food must be eaten in the Dining Room or outside. You may not take food or drink into the classrooms. Our catering team are excellent and there is always a wide variety of hot and cold food to choose from. Your parents will have confirmed any dietary requirements to us and we will cater for them.
6. What can I do at lunch time?
Either before or after you have eaten lunch, there are all manner of different subject clinics, clubs and general training sessions for you to attend as part of our extensive extracurricular programme. Joining these clubs is a great way to make friends but if you want some free time, then that is fine too – we do want you to relax and make friends. However, we do encourage you to sign-up for at least two lunchtime activities a week.
7. Do I choose which form I am in and who will be in my class?
We will put you in forms so you do not have to worry and you will meet girls in your teaching group during the group online meetings in the Summer before meeting more during your 2-Day Induction Programme at the start of term. You will very quickly get to know the girls in your form, your teaching group, your year group and in your House and soon you will know a lot of people very well.
8. Will I always be with the girls in my form and how many girls are there in each form?
You will be with the girls in your form for only a short time during registration but you will also be with a different group of girls for your lessons and, in PE and your language lessons, the groups will be mixed again! This means that you will very quickly get to know lots of girls and make friends with quite a range of different people some from different year groups too. There will be about 20 girls in each form and also in each teaching group.
9. How many assemblies will I have? What will they be about?
There will be two assemblies each week sometimes as a school and sometimes as a year group or with your House. This means that you will share assemblies with smaller and larger groups of girls from different age groups and quickly feel part of our Merchants family. Mrs Tao will take some assemblies, different teachers or pupils may also enjoy taking assemblies for you and all of these will focus on lots of different themes and messages.
10. Are there lots of new subjects?
Yes, there are lots of new subjects and new teachers for you to meet. Some subjects you will be familiar with but there are also some exciting new ones. This is all part of the adventure.
11. How many languages will I learn? Can I choose which ones I study?
At the start of Year 7 you have the chance to experience all four of the languages we offer – French, Spanish, Mandarin and German. After these taster lessons we will ask you to choose either French or Spanish and either Mandarin or German as the two languages that you would like to continue having lessons in.
12. Will I have swimming lessons?
Yes, all Year 7 have a block of weekly swimming lessons. Every year we have girls of all abilities, so please do not worry. Whatever your ability you will be well taken care of and your swimming skills will improve.
13. Do I have my own timetable?
Yes, you will be given a timetable during your Induction Days and on your first day in September you will be spend time looking through this. You will also be given a homework timetable. For the first week Year 7 do not receive homework; we understand that there is a lot to take in when you start a new school.
14. Why do I have to walk to different classrooms?
Each subject has a specific teaching area in the school because it is where their specialist equipment and books dedicated to that subject are kept. You will find Science Laboratories, Art, Design Technology Suites, MFL rooms and Music, ICT and PE specialist areas – this means that you must move around the school to experience each of these state of the art facilities.
15. How will I know where to go?
Although MTGS is probably a lot bigger than your Primary School, it is not as huge as many other secondary schools and you will soon find your way around. Over the Summer you will get an electronic copy of our Year 7 Induction Booklet and in the hard copy that you will be given for your Induction Days in September, there is a map of the school and you will be able to practice using this map to find your way around the school. MTGS is a very friendly school and everyone here will be looking out for you – feel free to ask any member of staff or pupil for help if you need it.
16. Can I sit where I want in lessons?
For the first few weeks your teachers will sit you in alphabetical order until they get to know you. After that the teachers will put together a seating plan, so you may sit with different people and this may change lots throughout the year.
17. Am I allowed to visit the toilets when I want?
Girls are encouraged to have toilet breaks during the break or lunchtime to avoid missing lessons. However, the teachers understand that sometimes nature calls and you may need an extra visit during a lesson, just politely ask the teacher if you can be ‘excused’.
18. Do I carry all my books around with me during the day? How do I remember which books to take to different lessons?
You will soon get used to your timetable and new routine. Our teachers know that it takes time to get used to so many things at once, but you will soon get there! We will help you to use your locker to store your books during the day so that you only carry your books for your next lesson and then swap these over at break and lunchtime.
19. Do we have lockers? What do I use it for and do I need a lock?
Yes, you have your own locker that that is your space to keep your exercise and text books in during the day. You can also use your locker for storing other personal items so that you do not have to carry a heavy bag around with you during the day. You will also have an open cube space in the changing rooms for you to use to store your PE bag – this should be kept locked using a padlock so you will need a lock for this. Your lockers do have a key that you will be given at the start of the term and you must look after this key as you have to pay to replace it if you lose it! The school will have a spare key in case you do lose or forget it but keep it safe on your own keyring and hopefully this will avoid losing it!
20. Will I get a lot of homework? Can I do homework at lunchtime?
When you join us in Year 7, you will be given a homework timetable which will tell you what homework you can expect. Most nights this will be homework in just two or three subjects and you should allow for an hour of homework each night. We encourage homework to be done at home so that you can enjoy your lunchtimes and be involved in some of the enrichment activities we offer.
21. Are there non-uniform and dress-up days?
We do run, about once a term, a ‘mufti day’ when you are given the chance to come to school in your own clothes. These are often associated with a fund raising initiative for the many different charities that we support so you may be asked wear something associated with a particular charity and for a small donation for that charity.
22. Will I get House Points or Merits in Year 7?
If you do a great piece of work or a teacher thinks you have been really kind or helpful, they will give you a merit. These are recorded for you and also recorded as points for your House and if you get a certain number of merits, your name will be called out in assembly and you will get a certificate. All of the House points achieved by individual pupils in this way are added to those points won by the House in various competitions and the House Trophy is then awarded at the end of each term and finally at the end of the school year to the top House.
23. What happens if I do something wrong?
We will do our very best to try to help you not to do things wrong but these things do happen. If you have done something wrong, we will try to talk to you to find out why this has happened and then advise you on how to avoid getting into trouble again. We are understanding and aware that everyone makes mistakes, but if you do something serious you will be given a detention. We all make mistakes from time to time but it is how you deal with those mistakes and what you learn from them that is the most important and we are here to help you to overcome them and learn from them.
24. Can I bring a mobile phone to school?
You may bring your mobile phone into school but you must hand it in at reception before you go to registration where it will be kept secure until the end of the day for you to collect and take home.
25. How do I make friends?
Try to smile lots and be interested in other people. Just be yourself and take your time to get to know others. Try as many lunchtime and after school activities as possible and get involved in as much as you can. You will make friends very quickly by doing that and remember you are coming to a very friendly school. MTGS girls are full of fun and kind too so do not worry!
I have worked at Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School for fourteen years and this will be my second year in a new role as Head of Wellbeing. I am also the Pastoral Leader for Year 10. Wellbeing is more than health and happiness, and I work closely with the other members of the pastoral team to help to make a difference to our pupils, so that they meet their full potential academically, emotionally and socially. I have a Level 2 qualification in Counselling and have also completed Level 3 Safeguarding training.
Mrs N Houghton – Head of Wellbeing
Hello, my name is Lyndsey and I am your school counsellor at Merchant Taylors’.
Counselling offers students the opportunity to have a confidential space to discuss and explore any worries, fears, self confidence/esteem, relationships and who they think they are or want to be amongst many, many other reasons.
Students can be referred by teachers, by parents or can self-refer without seeking parental consent. However, if to be referred by a teacher or parent you must feel that counselling is something that you want to try because it will never be forced on you. It’s really very simple to access, all you need do is email me: [email protected] and I will send you a couple of forms to fill in so that we can then start sessions, which will run once a week, in the school day and will be rotated so that you do not miss the same class every week.
Lastly, the staff at Merchant Taylors’ are sincere in their efforts to support you as holistically as possible – academically, socially, emotionally and mentally and we welcome feedback with regards how best to do this.
I genuinely look forward to meeting and seeing you around school and hope that your transition is as joyful as can be.
• The school welcomes the co-operation of parents in seeing that the girls pay proper attention to their appearance and that they look after their uniform and wear it correctly.
• Hair-styles should be neat, simple and suitable for school. Long hair must be tied back.
• School uniform must be worn by girls on their way to and from school and when they are engaged in activities connected with the school, unless permission to the contrary has been given. A mixture of school uniform with articles of clothing not permitted in these regulations should never be worn either during term time or holidays.
• The PTA holds a nearly new uniform sale several times a year in school.
Winter Uniform for Year 7 to Year 11
Only items defined below are acceptable School Uniform. All Uniform must be obtained from the School Shop, except outdoor black/navy coats.
Blazer – (Compulsory) As supplied by school shop, this may be worn inside school in winter.
Coat – (optional) Navy or Black outer coat – plain in colour with no trimmings (Coat or Blazer must be worn to and from school.) (Coats are strongly recommended for those girls not travelling by car.)
Skirt – Y7-11 – Plain navy in the style supplied by the school shop; no more than 8cm above the knee, when kneeling. Always worn appropriately.
Trousers – Plain navy in style supplied by the school shop.
Shirt – Regulation long-sleeved shirt – tucked into waistband of skirt.
Jumper – Y7-9 – Regulation dark navy, V-necked, long-sleeved jumper with light blue stripes at neck and cuffs as supplied by school shop. Y10 – 11 may wear a plain navy V-necked jumper.
Socks /Tights – Plain dark navy knee-length socks or tights.
Shoes – Plain black shoes, flat heels only without motif or contrasting material. Open sided / sling back shoes or trainer style are not allowed.
Gloves – Navy/Black
Scarf – School regulation scarf or plain navy scarf.
Hairwear – Ribbons – Plain navy or blue. Slides/Elastic ties – plain blue/black, of simple design.
Jewellery – No jewellery is allowed except simple earrings, not jewels – maximum of one in each ear. A plain gold or silver chain with a religious symbol may be worn under the shirt.
Bags Bags should be black / navy and large enough to accommodate all necessary exercise / text books.
Summer Uniform for Year 7 to Year 11
Blazer – (Compulsory) School blazer obtainable from school shop. May be worn inside, as well as outside school.
Blouse – Short-sleeved, open-necked in school material. May be worn with winter skirt. Shirt must be worn tucked into waistband of skirt.
Jumper/Cardigan – Winter jumper or regulation navy cardigan as supplied by the school shop. Y10 and 11 may wear a plain navy cardigan of school uniform type.
Socks etc – Navy socks or navy blue tights.
Shoes – Plain black – as for winter. No sling-backs or similar fashion sandals. Flat heels only.
Hairwear – Elastic ties or ribbons – plain navy blue or black. Slides- plain blue or black and of simple design.
Jewellery – See notes for Winter uniform.
ALL ITEMS MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE GIRL’S NAME
Monkhouse Schoolwear Shop is an independent concern run by F R Monkhouse Ltd, specialist school suppliers, who operate in several other leading schools in the North of England.
The address for the shop is:
80 Coronation Road,
Liverpool L23 5RH
Opening hours during school holidays can be found at www.monkhouse.com
Note: Art Equipment
It would be helpful if all new entrants to Year 7 are supplied with the following items:
i) one set of pencils preferably B or 3B
ii) felt-tip pens in assorted colours
iii) one set of pencil crayons
iv) glue stick
v) old shirt to be used as an overall
All girls will need a calculator which is obtainable from school, pocket English and French dictionaries, an atlas and a computer memory stick.
Merchant Taylors’ School is pleased to announce that it has signed a partnership with Kukri Sports and Monkhouse to supply new PE and Games kit from September 2021 onwards.
This change has been made to ensure pupils are wearing lightweight, modern sports clothing that is suitable to the requirements of school sport. All of the Kukri clothing will be stocked at Monkhouse ready for the start of the new academic year. The image below shows the compulsory kit for the Girls’ School.
What changes have been made?
This kit replaces the current kit we have in school for PE and Games lessons. Year 7 entrants for September 2021 and any new pupils into school will be able to buy this kit. However, if your daughter is already in school, there is no need to replace their current kit until they outgrow a particular item. Pupils can continue to wear the current tracksuit bottoms, or buy the leggings on offer which will be available for all students to purchase if they would like to. Pupils do not then need to wear tracksuit bottoms on top of leggings. Athletics vests and shorts are now not a compulsory item of kit.
When will these changes take place?
From the end of May, the current sports kit will no longer be on sale at Monkhouse and the school will switch to the new products.
We are fully aware that some pupils will still have some of the ‘old’ sportswear and this can continue to be used until the time arises that new kit needs to be purchased.
If you have any questions about kit requirements, please contact Mrs Hollyoak [email protected]
We aim to provide a caring and supportive environment for our pupils who may have additional needs and believe each of our girls has the ability to succeed and achieve in all aspects of life.
It is our job to support you in your journey, by recognising your strengths and building independence and confidence, whilst promoting your well-being.
During your school day, I am here to ensure all teachers understand and provide support for you in the classroom and by providing Learning Support Lessons to help with any aspect of your learning. Most importantly, I am always available if you have any concerns or worries regarding your learning.
Mrs K Howard – Learning Support
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