There is a strong family spirit at Merchant Taylors’, embodied in our unique tutorial system.
All pupils have an individual tutor who looks after them throughout their school career in small House tutor groups. They are encouraged to cultivate activities at which they can excel, to have confidence in their abilities and to gain self-knowledge as well as knowledge. The academic achievements of the school are first-rate and are achieved in an humane, civilised and unpressured atmosphere. We place a great emphasis on encouraging boys to organise many activities themselves and to take responsibility for others.
Each boy, on admission, is assigned a personal tutor from the teaching faculty. This tutor oversees his entire passage through the school, helping him to choose a rich, rewarding life outside the classroom, and taking a particular interest in all he does.
Boys enjoy form rooms as bases for quality social time with their friends. We teach the Lower School mainly in forms, so the boys quickly bond as a group. Friendships are created that last a lifetime; the boys value these informal moments enormously. They have the best of both worlds: an informal space for developing close-knit friendships and a formal registration where they won’t get lost in the crowd.
There are typically no more than a dozen or so boys in a tutor group and their ages range from 11 to 18. Tutor groups are compiled so that there are at least two pupils from any single year in a tutor group, so that your son will always have a friend his own age by his side during registration. You know that your son will have someone who is there for him on any given morning: a teacher who knows and understands him as an individual.
This system leads to the development of close relationships between the tutor, the boy, and you as parents. Successes are celebrated immediately; problems nipped in the bud swiftly. Your son always has someone to turn to. You feel secure in the knowledge that the daily well-being of each pupil is at the heart of our concerns.
Tutors operate within a House system and Heads of House provide a further source of support and advice for you, your parents and the teachers.
There are many prestigious inter-House competitions, such as House Music, House Drama and also House Hockey, House Cricket and House Swimming. There are also many smaller competitions for games like chess as well as more academic contests such as House Debating - always a popular way to hone one's debating skills. These offer an opportunity to all boys - regardless of whether they already represent the school in any way - to take a full part in life at Sandy Lodge.
House Assemblies take place on Wednesdays and allow boys to present on all kinds of subjects to their peers and also take care of House administration. Several of the eight Houses are all named after famous Old Boys of Merchant Taylors':
- Andrewes (Lancelot Andrewes, translator of the King James bible)
- Hilles (Sir Richard Hilles: the driving force behind the foundation of the School; a Humanist and Protestant exile under Queen Mary, he came to collaborate closely with Catholic Merchant Taylor Thomas White to create the school in 1561)
- Mulcaster (Sir Richard Mulcaster, the school's first Head Master)
- Raphael (John Raphael - Captain of the British Lions rugby tour to Argentina in 1910 and Surrey county cricketer)
- Spenser (Edmund Spenser – the poet laureate of Queen Elizabeth I, whose Faerie Queene is a classic of world literature)
- The Manor of the Rose - (the name of the school's original building in Suffolk Lane: “The Rose, within the parish St Lawrence Poultney” [Shakespeare, Henry VIII])
- Walter (John Walter - the founder of the Universal Register, that become The Times newspaper)
- White (Sir Thomas White, Lord Mayor of London, founder of St John’s College, Oxford, and co-founder of the school)