Taken from an article written by the Head Master.
The future is bright at Merchant Taylors’ School. The pandemic imposed challenges upon us. However, those challenges were a spur to innovate. We became more flexible, more resilient, more brave and yet more determined to provide the best outcome for every pupil.
I have found the last year to be one of the most energising and exciting of my career. We have had to rethink almost all of our work in school. Rather than complain that we could not do what we had done before, we have had to find new ideas and new pathways.
So what does the future hold for the school? We have exciting plans for new buildings. The Biology Department has been completely renovated, with the addition of two new labs. An elite level indoor cricket centre, and exceptional indoor sports areas will follow shortly. In the longer term, a theatre remains a clear aspiration.
Even better, we will take what we learned during the pandemic and develop the teaching that will go on in those buildings. The dramatic improvement in our use of technology, occasioned by the highly successful transition to online learning, will be retained and enhanced. Every class in each subject will remain integrated by technology. This technology is also useful beyond the classroom. Teachers and pupils are connected in a variety of different groups, allowing virtual participation in every aspect of school life. Similarly, each games team is linked: allowing for communication of team selection, training regimes and details of fixtures. Co-curricular activities are similarly supported and have become even more diverse as a consequence.
Every member of staff has been equipped with a surface pro tablet to permit efficient online working and teaching; next year, every pupil studying for a GCSE or A Level will be similarly equipped.
The use of video talks and events as well as pupil conferences has been revelatory, and will form a significant part of our future. The presentation of music and drama performances by livestreaming or through YouTube has allowed a hugely greater involvement than before. Audiences which would have been in the hundreds are now numbered in the thousands.
The school has had an amazing year, in the teeth of the once-in-a-century pandemic. And now we can look forward to the opportunity to return to a life that is closer to normality. That will be joyful. But we will not forget these last 18 months. We will seize the opportunity to go back to the best of the school that we remember, but we will also bring the best of the innovations of the last 18 months. Fired by innovation, the school looks forward to a future that is stronger, better and happier.