Tatler Schools Guide

Deputy head, Chris Roseblade reports a ‘conspicuously successful’ year at Merchant Taylors’. 

It’s always hovering near the top of the league tables, and those A level results (68 per cent A* - A) and 15 Oxbridge places are hard to ignore. 

As is the pupil who was ranked in the top 25 UK chemists in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge; or the fleet of Arkwright design scholars; or the musicians in the National Youth or Duet Philharmonic orchestras. Mr Roseblade says, ‘We are interested in that distinctiveness that can lead to distinction in later life.’ They have 350 applicants for the 60 spaces up for grabs at 11+, and about half of those applying are from state primaries. 

Central London parents have also been eyeing up this art-deco beauty: there are coaches from St John’s Wood and Ealing and it’s just 45 minutes from Bond Street by Tube. 

The atmosphere on the 250-acre campus with its own lake and test-class cricket pitch, is less pressured than in town. A new design centre is ready and the sports facilities are being developed (cricket and hockey are the top choices). 

Parents and pupils love the vertical tutor groups that promote inter-year mingling. Boys are courteous but have a real sense of fun – they’re punctual too. There is no school bell, just ‘simple promptitude’ jokes head Simon Everson. 

Tatler Magazine 2015

Merchant Taylors’ is the “poster school” for London in the 2015 Tatler Schools Guide and it’s marvellous to see the very generous review that Tatler has accorded us. 

The boys had a fantastic morning working with Hugo Burnand, best known as the official photographer of Prince Charles and of the royal wedding between Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Hugo has always had a marvellous eye and an ability to combine a great sense of heritage with a sparkling sense of fun. To juxtapose the heritage of Taylors’ (the Inner Quad, the academic gowns, and Sixth Form croquet) with the joyous exuberance of youth, he chose to create an almost Alice-in-Wonderland image that captures the uniquely happy atmosphere of a Merchant Taylors’ education: the quirky independence of mind that we prize so highly, and the sheer ease and mutual respect between the academic faculty and the pupils that engenders creativity.

At once paying affectionate tribute to the very public school tradition it gently satirizes, the image reaffirms that at the heart of that tradition is a refusal to takes oneself too seriously. Hugo has distilled into a single image the spirit of a school in which tradition is not an encumbrance, but a living heritage that we place in the service of the future.

Tatler Magazine 2014

Both country and urban, a day school with boarding-school airs, Merchant Taylors’ offers 250 acres and art-deco grandeur only 45 minutes from Bond Street.  So it’s no wonder that heaps of London parents are heading for this all-boys haven, with its new coach routes from Hampstead and Highgate.  

It’s home to some razor-sharp minds and makes a regular appearance in the top 10 of most league tables.  Boys scored 95 per cent A* - B at A-level last year and had 18 Oxbridge offers too.  Most take the more testing IGCSEs in maths, English, science and languages and the school’s own diploma gives credit for everything else on the sporting, cultural, charitable and even entrepreneurial spectrums.  

Each boy has the same tutor throughout his time here, so no problem goes unsolved and no success uncelebrated.  Last year, a group won the national Wings of Hope Award for raising £30,000 for disadvantaged children in India, while another pupil came top in the Schools’ Brightest Business Brain competition.  

A recent performance of Joe Orton’s Loot was a huge success, but says deputy head Chris Roseblade, ‘if Taylors’ boys were cast in period dramas, they would mostly play the eligible bachelors’.  He adds that they are modest, conscientious and scholarly, but never owlish’.  Oh, stop it.  

Headmaster Stephen Wright retired last summer so Simon Everson is now in charge of all these Mr Darcys. 

Tatler Magazine 2013

Merchant Taylors' ethos is as old as the school itself: 'It is not a mind, not a body, that we have to cultivate, but a man, and we cannot divide him' (thus spake MTS's first headmaster, Richard Mulcaster, in 1561). Such holistic thinking can still be found today in this inspired environment, with each pupil having his own tutor right the way through the school and being part of a tutorial group consisting of no more than 12 students. Academically, Merchant Taylors' is seriously good: 18 pupils went to Oxbridge last year; 96 per cent scored A*-B at A-level; it won The Times Chance to be Chancellor competition (that's two years in a row); and came top in the Bank of England Target Two Point Zero challenge. There's a rigorously bespoke programme for scholars and good funding for bursaries. And then there's the MTS diploma for co-curricular accomplishments - in line with head Stephen Wright's assertion: 'We value breadth of achievement as much as success at the highest level.' Sporting facilities and results are superb: the impressive 250-acre estate incorporates a lake for kayaking and windsurfing, an assault course (used by the CCF, which is very strong), and the OMTs' (old boys') pavilion with its clubhouse and athletics track. Merchant Taylors' is a UK Centre of Excellence for handball and is, it would seem, pretty excellent at all the other stuff too.