The future is bright at Merchant Taylors’ School. The pandemic imposed challenges from which we have learnt a great deal but we are now well past this, scanning a horizon which is luminous with opportunity.
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 and the Julian Hill Cricket Centre, a stunning indoor cricket facility, will open in early 2024. In the longer term, a new Music Block remains a clear aspiration.
At MTS we continue to develop our teaching practice, always guided by what inspires the boys. The dramatic improvement in our use of technology in recent years, occasioned by the highly successful transition to online learning, has been retained and enhanced. Every class in each subject is 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; every pupil currently studying for a GCSE or A Level is now similarly equipped. Soon every pupil will be.
As AI generates more attention we are already examining how best to harness its potential. Pupils are using Chat GPT to explore the strengths and weaknesses in exam responses. By using Teams Reading Progress they are exploiting AI to gain bespoke feedback on their pronunciation and accuracy in Modern Foreign Languages. In Fourth Form (Year 9) all students create simple chat bots, which introduces the idea they also use Generative algorithms for poetry generation – (involving a mix of a generative algorithm and the cut-up method of the Dadaists, Bowie etc) as well as looking at cellular automata and landscape generation.
Higher up the school, A-level Computer Science classes are creating pathfinding algorithms. The Head of Computing has introduced machine learning sessions with students and a number have done their A-level project involving machine learning. In Design, Engineering & Technology, staff have experimented by exploring design idea generation based on stimulus material to help students springboard their own design work.
As you can see we are driven by a desire to push the boundaries and take advantage of the latest developments. Fired by innovation, the school looks forward to a future that is stronger, better and happier.