Curriculum

Everything we do is about teaching and learning, giving boys opportunities to test themselves, to see challenges and solutions from a range of perspectives, and know the exhilaration of success. We offer an education, in the broader sense. We equip boys not merely for entry to higher education but for a successful and rewarding life, by breeding good work skills and positive attitudes.

Merchant Taylors’ curriculum is tailored to individual needs. It embraces not only everything that contributes directly to the boys’ learning and examination success, but also all the sports, activities and creative enterprises that promote the moral, physical, social and spiritual development of the boys, as well as their intellectual development. Boys value tremendously the importance we place on according recognition to their wider sporting, cultural and community support achievements at every stage of school life from the day they join the school. This is in line with the importance attached to all-round achievement, which has served the school well for over 450 years.

Boys need swift, positive, personal feedback on their written work that sets them clear targets for improvement. Marked work is returned promptly and regularly. The consistent completion of homework is vital to success. It cultivates habits of independent study, self-discipline and intellectual self-sufficiency. Progress is carefully monitored. Grades go home every half term. There are two written reports to parents each year, including at least one full individual report on each pupil written by the Head Master. Parents evenings conferences are held for every year group.

Curriculum Subjects

A level subjects include:

Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Design Technology, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, German, Government and Politics, Greek, History, Latin, Mathematics + Further Mathematics, Music, Physics, Physical Education, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish, Theatre Studies, and the Extended Project Qualification.

GCSE & IGCSE subjects offered include:

English, English Literature, Mathematics, three Sciences (compulsory for all); and choices between French, Latin, Greek, German, Spanish, Design Technology (Resistant Materials and Electronics), Art and Design, History, Geography, Music, Religious Studies, Computing, Drama, Physical Education. 

 
Lessons in RE, PSHCE and PE are also compulsory.

Teaching

Boys love subjects, but boys remember teachers. And they remember those who celebrate quirkiness, originality, inspiration, and intuition. Teachers who have the invention, innovation, creativity and courage that inspire boys to think beyond the obvious, expand their horizons, and see the possibilities that lie within them. Active learning is not new to Merchant Taylors’. Its origin can be traced back to the school’s foundation, when its first High Master, Richard Mulcaster wrote: “The best waye to learn anye thing well, which must afterward be done when it is learned, is to be a-doing, while we be a-learning”.

The Good Schools Guide comments: ‘Teaching is clearly a major strength, with teachers going the extra mile for those who are struggling and for those who need stretching’. The 2014 Inspection reported that, “Teaching is highly effective in supporting the school’s aims to be a place to learn which fosters a sense of awe and wonder and within which pupils can achieve high academic standards. Teaching benefits from very high levels of subject knowledge and a real passion for the subject”. 

Class Sizes

Class sizes are deliberately kept small, allowing our teachers to concentrate on bringing out the best in individual pupils much more sensitively. The emphasis is on discussion, self-motivated study and independent thinking.

The premium we set on diversity gives every boy a real chance to shine. A boy who feels that his talents are recognized tries his very best even in those areas that don’t come naturally and by doing so he learns the value of hard work and perseverance. He becomes self-aware, recognizing his own strengths as well as his weaknesses. He comes to have high levels of self-esteem. Self-confidence is our most powerful weapon in developing individual achievement and our collective values: a boy who values himself, value others.

Library

The Library & Information Centre is central to the academic life of both pupils and teachers; occupying an enviable location at the heart of the school spanning two floors overlooking the grounds, it was described as a "jewel" in the last inspection of the school.

The open plan ground floor has a south facing aspect and provides study space for 45 students in addition to housing our extensive non-fiction and reference collections. The first floor provides further study space for 25 students in the junior fiction library, 13 networked PC's in our multi-media suite, and a comprehensive collection of classic and contemporary fiction and English Literature resources.  

The stock of over 20,000 items has been carefully selected by our qualified and experienced Librarians. We aim to ensure that we meet both the academic and recreational needs of the wider school community, and provide all pupils with the opportunity to explore knowledge and culture beyond the classroom.  In addition to a library skills programme integrated into the curriculum pupils are actively encouraged to make voluntary use of the library from their first day at Merchant Taylors’.

Learning Support

Merchant Taylors' School is a selective academic school catering for boys with high ability.  Entrance is via an internally set and administered entrance exam, followed by an interview.  While applications from boys with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) or a Special Educational Need (SEN) are welcomed, we are not a specialist SEN provider.

Where there is an existing Educational Psychologist’s report or medical report, we ask that a copy of this is submitted at the time of application so that we can make the necessary access arrangements for the entrance exams. Where there is an identified need but an Educational Psychology assessment has not been undertaken, please contact the school. At this stage, it is not necessary to arrange a new assessment.

Our Learning Support Department supports the boys through assessment and identification, referral to external agencies, study skills, targeted, short-term help, and in-class support, if appropriate Learning Support information is disseminated by the Learning Support Co-ordinator and a Specialist Teacher.  In effect, every member of staff is a member of the Department, as we regard Learning Support as a whole school issue and the classroom as the point of intervention.