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Merchant Taylors' School: a parents' guide to entry in Year 7 & 9

School guide
Merchant Taylors' School: a parents' guide to entry in Year 7 & 9

Contents

Merchant Taylors’ School (MTS) is a day school in Northwood, on the edge of Hertfordshire and Greater London, for boys aged 11 to 18. It was founded in 1561 by the Merchant Taylors’ Company – one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London – and is one of 25 schools owned by the Company. Merchant Taylors’ School is located a 30-minute tube journey from central London and occupies a 280-acre campus of lakes and countryside.

Boys at MTS learn in a “civilised and human atmosphere”. Pupils have deliberately small class sizes which are designed to stimulate discussion, self-motivated study and independent thinking, and there is a wide range of subjects to choose from as pupils move up through the school (20 at GCSE and 26 at A level). Pupils achieve excellent exam results – in 2022, 95% of A level grades were A*–B and 92.8% of GCSE grades were A*/A/9/8/7. Typically, over 85% of sixth form leavers secure their first choice university place, with popular destinations including Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.

While MTS sets “high, scholarly academic standards”, the school strongly believes in the importance of character-building through enjoyable activities, sports and charitable commitments. The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are popular with many students, alongside the school’s ongoing commitment to outdoor education with activities including skiing, water sports and mountain biking. Sport is central to an MTS education; boys have outstanding opportunities for an extensive range of sports among 200 acres of playing fields and dedicated sporting facilities. Activities in the arts includes 21 different musical ensembles and a packed calendar of major musical events, informal evening concerts and two major annual drama productions.

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Key information for Merchant Taylors' School

  • Head: Mr Simon Everson

  • Address: Sandy Lodge, Northwood, Hertfordshire, HA6 2HT

  • County: Hertfordshire

  • Admissions contact: Jonny Taylor – [email protected], 01923 845514

  • Age range and gender: 11–18, boys only

  • Number of pupils: 946

  • Open day date: Saturday 13th May 2023. Reserve a place on the school website

  • Overview of selection procedure: English, maths and general paper (11 plus and 13 plus entry), interview and school reference

  • Registration closes: End of October in Year 6 (11 plus entry), end of June in Year 5 (13 plus entry)

  • Assessment date: December in Year 6 (both 11 plus and 13 plus entry)

Merchant Taylors' School fees and financial assistance

The current fees at Merchant Taylors’ School are £23,600 per annum (paid in termly instalments of 40% in the autumn, and 30% in the spring and summer terms respectively). Lunch is included in the school fees.

Means-tested financial assistance (bursaries) are available to eligible 11 plus and 13 plus candidates to provide financial support with the school fees. Bursaries can cover up to 100% of the fees, with additional financial support available where appropriate to help with the costs of transport, school uniform and trips.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

Candidates applying for entry to MTS at 11 plus and 13 plus can also apply for a scholarship. These are awarded on merit, irrespective of financial means, but can be supplemented by a means-tested bursary if there is a proven need. The scholarships available at Merchant Taylors’ School are:

  • Academic scholarships: major academic scholarships of at least 10% of the school fee, and minor academic scholarships up to a maximum value of 10% of the school fee.

  • All-rounder scholarships: up to 10% of the school fee

  • Art scholarships: the value of a £200 department programme and associated materials

  • Drama scholarships: the value of a £200 department programme and associated materials

  • Drama, engineering & technology scholarships: the value of a £200 department programme and associated materials

  • Music scholarships: up to 25% of the school fee plus free instrumental and/or singing tuition on two instruments (or one instrument and voice)

  • Sports scholarships: the value of a £200 department programme and associated materials

Merchant Taylors' School term dates

The term dates at Merchant Taylors' School for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term: 6th September – 16th December 2022

  • Half term: 16th–30th October 2022

  • Spring term: 5th January – 24th March 2023

  • Half term: 12th–19th February 2023

  • Summer term: 17th April – 5th July 2023

  • Half term: 28th May – 4th June 2023

The term dates at Merchant Taylors' School for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 15th–29th October 2023

  • Spring term: 4th January – 28th March 2024

  • Half term: 18th–25th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 4th July 2024

  • Half term: 26th May – 2nd June 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 & 9 entry to Merchant Taylors' School

Boys attend Merchant Taylors’ School from across north London, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshir and Middlesex. Coach services are available from Ealing, Highgate, Radlett, Beaconsfield, Harpenden, Harrow, Mill Hill, Stanmore and St John’s Wood. Many pupils also commute to school on the Metropolitan tube or the Chiltern Line from central London, Hampstead, Highgate and Amersham.

Approximately 70 boys join Merchant Taylors’ School in Year 7, while there are about 80 places available for external candidates in Year 9 (joining 25 boys who move up from Merchant Taylors’ Prep).

1. Visit

If you are considering Merchant Taylors’ School for your son’s secondary education, it’s a good idea to visit for an individual tour and join one of the September or May open mornings. The next open morning is Saturday 13th May 2023 and is primarily for families considering 13 plus entry book a place via the school website. The next open event designed specifically for prospective Year 7 pupils will be in September 2023.

2. Registration

The formal admissions process begins when you register your son for entry to MTS. You will need to complete the online registration form and supply a copy of your son’s birth certificate and passport, in addition to a £100 non-refundable registration fee.

The school advises early registration. The deadline for Year 7 applicants is 31st October when your son is in Year 6, while Year 9 applicants need to be registered by the end of June when they are in Year 5.

If you think your child would be eligible for a bursary, and/or or you would like your child to be considered for a scholarship, you will need to register with the school first and then complete the relevant bursary and/or scholarship application form before 30th September in the year before entry.

3. Test / interviews

Year 7 entry

If your son is applying for entry to MTS in Year 7, you will be contacted towards the end of November in Year 6 to confirm that you would like your child to sit the exams. You will also receive a reference form, which you will need to pass to your child’s current school.

Year 7 candidates take three written tests in December of Year 6:

  • English: 1 hour. The first half of the paper is reading comprehension while the second half is a creative writing task.

  • Maths: 1 hour. Children will have typical mathematical questions assessing their knowledge of the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. Your son should show all working out on the paper.

  • MTS general paper: 1 hour. Children will be tested on a range of skills including thinking, problem-solving and creativity.

English and maths specimen papers are available on the Merchant Taylors’ School website. The school does not provide practice materials for the general paper.

Boys who perform well in the entrance exam will then be shortlisted for an interview at MTS in late January or early February. Interviews are on a one-to-one basis with a member of staff and take approximately 25 minutes. Children will be assessed on their communication, intellectual curiosity, reasoning and commitment to extracurricular activities.

Year 9 entry

If your son is applying for entry to MTS in Year 9, you will be contacted in July in Year 5 to confirm that your child’s name has been placed on the interview list.

All candidates will then be invited to an online interview, hosted by your child’s current school, in September or October of Year 6. Interviews are on a one-to-one basis with a member of staff and take approximately 25 minutes. Children will be assessed on their communication, intellectual curiosity, reasoning and commitment to extracurricular activities.

Boys who perform well in the interview will then be invited to take the qualifying examinations in December of Year 6. If you would like your child to continue with the application and take the examinations, you will need to pay a £50 administration fee by 30th November.

The qualifying examinations consist of three test papers:

  • English: 1 hour. The first half of the paper is reading comprehension while the second half is a creative writing task.

  • Maths: 1 hour. Children will have typical mathematical questions assessing their knowledge of the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. Your son should show all working out on the paper.

  • MTS general paper: 1 hour. Children will be tested on a range of skills including thinking, problem-solving and creativity.

English and maths specimen papers are available on the Merchant Taylors’ School website. The school does not provide practice materials for the general paper.

4. Scholarships

The process for applying for a scholarship for Year 7 entry and Year 9 entry is largely the same. For practical scholarships (non-academic and non-all-rounder), you will need to register for the specific scholarship after completing general registration, but before 30th September in the year before your child would be due to start at the school.

  • Academic scholarships: children will be awarded based on their performance in the entrance exams (no separate application is required).

  • All-rounder scholarships: children will be awarded based on their performance in the entrance exams (no separate application is required).

  • Art scholarships: shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an afternoon of art activities in January of Year 6 (for Year 7 candidates) or Year 8 (for Year 9 candidates). They will complete a range of tasks, have a tour of the art studios, and meet current art scholars.

  • Drama scholarships: shortlisted candidates will be invited to perform a 3-minute monologue for the head of drama in January in the year group before entry. They will need to discuss the piece, why they chose it and provide their interpretation.

  • Design, engineering & technology scholarships: shortlisted candidates will be assessed and interviewed during an afternoon of activities in January in Year 6 (Year 7 candidates) or Year 8 (Year 9 candidates). They will also be asked to bring evidence (e.g. images or practical work) of their interest in engineering.

  • Music scholarships: eligible candidates should be performing at Grade 5 for Year 7 entry, or Grade 6 for Year 9 entry. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an afternoon of activities and auditions in January in Year 6 (for 11 plus entry) or January in Year 8 (for 13 plus entry).

  • Sports scholarships: shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend a scholarship afternoon in January in the year group before entry. They will be asked to perform in one of the school’s major sports (rugby, hockey or cricket), to perform in appropriate fitness tests, and have lunch with members of the games department and watch some major sports.

5. Offers

In mid-February in Year 6, you will receive either a letter making your son an offer of a place, an offer of a place on the waiting list, or confirmation that the school is unable to make your child an offer.

If your child is applying for a place in Year 9 and has received an offer, this will be subject to remaining in the same school until the end of Year 8 and maintaining good academic and disciplinary records. If your child moves to a different school for Years 7 and 8, he will need to meet a minimum level of performance in the Year 8 setting exam.

All children who have accepted the offer of a place for Year 9 entry will take the ISEB Common Pre-Test in January of Year 8. This will be for setting purposes and to award academic scholarships to outstanding candidates. This carries an administration fee of £125.

How to prepare for entry to Merchant Taylors’ School

Children who successfully secure a place at Merchant Taylors’ School in either Year 7 or Year 9 demonstrate excellent potential in both written tests and one-to-one interviews.

Atom Learning is an all-in-one exam preparation platform which can help your child consolidate everything they need to know and prepare effectively for success in the Merchant Taylors' School admissions process.

Exam preparation with Atom Nucleus

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All candidates applying to Merchant Taylors' School for Year 7 entry (and shortlisted candidates for Year 9 entry) take written English, maths and general test papers.

Atom’s online learning platform Atom Nucleus will give your child access to over 90,000 interactive questions in English, maths, science and verbal and non-verbal reasoning, in addition to unlimited online practice papers that replicate common independent school entrance papers – including those set by MTS.

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Interview preparation with Atom Tuition

As well as academic tests, all successful 11 plus and 13 plus candidates applying for entry to Merchant Taylors' School will have an interview with a member of staff in Year 6. This is a common practice at independent schools, as it can provide a more holistic insight into your child’s abilities and interests. However, even informal interviews can still be daunting for many 10 and 11-year-olds!

Atom Tuition offers online mock interviews with experienced tutors who are specialists in the private school admissions process. A one-hour session consists of a 30-minute interview, a 10-minute break, 20 minutes of feedback and a follow-up report.

These mock interviews are an ideal opportunity for your child to:

  • Encounter typical private school interview questions

  • Learn and practice techniques that will serve them well in the real interview

  • Develop their conversational skills and storytelling style

  • Demystify the interview process and know what to expect

  • Reduce any anxiety and feel confident for the real interview

Book a mock interview today and give your child the benefits of expert guidance and a confidence-building experience.

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