After our recent announcement, we extend our gratitude to the families who have diligently completed the questionnaires. Additionally, we appreciate those who have taken the time to share their valuable thoughts and questions via our email address, [email protected]. This feedback holds immense value and will be carefully considered during our upcoming parent meetings.

We strongly encourage families to participate in the meetings listed below and to complete the questionnaires. For families unable to attend these meetings, any questions raised, provided they have not already been addressed in the FAQ section, will be duly included in updates.

Year GroupDateTimeVenue
Year 6 Stanfield Pupils18/03/20244.00pmStanfield
Year 6 Pupils – external18/03/20245.00pmStanfield
Reception to Year 519/03/20244.00pmStanfield
Sixth Form19/03/20245.00pmHarrison Site – Sixth Form Centre
Year 7 – Year 11 Girls20/03/20244.15pm1620 Site (Girls’ School)
Year 7 – Year 11 Boys21/03/20244.15pmHarrison Site

Additional Questions

Why wasn’t there a consultation process?

The governors have taken a well-informed decision for the long term good of the school in the light of the world changing to preserve the educational and pastoral excellence that are associated with Merchant Taylors, while also ensuring that the School is ready for the future.

We appreciate the significance of the decision, but all Governors recognise it will ensure the long-term growth and prosperity of the School.

Are the surveys being used to appease parents?

While we recognise that we were not able to consult on the decision, the surveys are a genuine attempt to consult on implementation and take parents, pupils, and staff on this journey so that the transition is as smooth as possible.

Why has this plan been launched so soon after the previous plan?

We recognise the change from the previously published strategy but see this as the logical continuation rather than a total change of direction; with coeducation established at Stanfield and in the VI Form, in cocurricular activities, and so many aspects of School life, this actually represents less change than might first appear.

Since the previous strategy was published, there has been in the intervening period a number of unprecedented external challenges which have posed a threat to the independent schools’ sector as a whole, not least of which, to our School. These issues led the Governors to rethink our strategy so that the School can continue to thrive and that future generations of children can benefit from a much-valued Merchant Taylors’ education.

Are the Year 7 2024 group being used as guinea pigs?

Stanfield is fully coeducational and, therefore, this move preserves the organisational structure for the current Year 6 [and future year 7] with which the children are familiar; this move actually reduces change and unsettling the children, and ensures that we provide continuity of experience for the girls and boys.

Which site will the Year 7 2024 pupils attend?

In proposing to keep year 7 coeducation, we are looking at the use of the Girls’ School as the base for this year group during the transitional phase.

Will the School have suitable toilet facilities for girls/boys in 2024?

Yes, we have a schedule for building works with additional toilet facilities as a priority for September 2024.

Will class sizes remain small?

We do not envisage any significant change to current class sizes.

Will Sport still be taught single sex?

The programme for sports, games and physical activity will continue at the same high standard. Pupils will continue to be taught separately in major sports, but there will be opportunities in some areas for pupils to participate in more sports together. The move to coeducation allows us to expand our sport provision for both girls and boys. Our extensive fixtures programme will continue.

How will the School retain good teachers?

The School is committed to retaining and developing all staff so that our provision is of the highest quality. We are reviewing our staff development programme, and the proposed changes in leadership structure also provide a clear development pathway for individual staff aspiring to senior positions.

Will this move affect learning support for SEN children?

In preparation for moving towards becoming fully coeducational, we commissioned an external consultant to review our SEN provision across the Schools and to make recommendations on how we can consolidate the departments into one, whole-school department that delivers a consistent and equitable provision for any pupil who requires additional support. During the transition year, Learning Support provision will be available on both sites.

Will pupils be distracted by girls/boys during the puberty years?

96% of all schools in the UK are coeducational, and this does not present an issue in terms of outcomes, and research data do not show improved achievement as a result of single sex. This would suggest that coeducation does not result in an adverse effect owing to distraction.

It is possible that some will be distracted at some point but this is something young people need to learn to deal with, and this is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on outcomes.

How is the boys’ school going to made to feel like a school that welcomes girls?

From September 2025, both MTBS and MTGS will amalgamate into one school; by developing our leadership structures and internal organisation, with continuity from both schools, this is very much a development of a new school and not a take-over. With many staff remaining in post from both current schools, this will ensure all pupils are familiar with staff and organisation, which will focus on all.

Is the school considering transition to Academy status?

No, there is no intention or need for the School to move into the maintained sector or acquire academy status.

How long is it going to take to develop the Harrison site?

As our Estates plan will demonstrate, we have both long- and short-term plans for the development of the site, which will provide benefits to all pupils with immediate effect. Some of these projects are already underway [such as Hall Rd].

Inevitably, some developments will arrive in the future; all pupils have benefited from the contributions of those in the past who have supported developments from which they never benefited directly.

How will you ensure a fair mix of boys and girls for a balanced classroom?

Considering current numbers throughout the senior schools, we have an overall 52:48 gender split, and this is approximately reflected across all year groups. When coeducational classes are introduced, we will look to balance the numbers in each class.

Will the Harrison site be large enough for everyone?

Current space alongside developments planned to be completed by September 2025 will allow all senior pupils to be accommodated on the Harrison site, separate to future developments.

How will you ensure quieter children are not sidelined and ignored?

As part of our preparations, we are working with staff to develop teaching and deliberately looking at how staff work with all pupils in a class so that all participate fully: boys and girls; the quieter; the louder; the confident and, those less so.

What is the plan for School uniform?

New school uniform will be considered from September 2025 to coincide with the new single senior school, but this will be done to allow for a transitional uniform period in which existing uniform can be used [up].

Will children in Year 7 and Year 8 have their own playground to protect them from the older children?

We will allocate outdoor spaces for children at lunch and break so that they can play separately to older pupils.

Is the School being forced to be less selective for financial sustainability?

We maintain selective entry at 11+ and 16+ to ensure that all pupils can benefit from the School’s provision with a focus on developing value-added.

Will the funds raised from the sale of MTGS be used to indemnify parents for fee increases?

All organisations have been responding to significant changes since the 2008 financial crisis and especially, the challenges of the last three years. The Governors of Merchant Taylors’ are committed to securing the long-term financial health of the School while developing the quality of our offering through fiscal responsibility; agility and adaptability are at the heart of this.

Clearly, this move creates greater financial efficiencies but does not provide a guarantee against unforeseen or additional financial changes. It will, however, enable us to develop the quality of our offering and outreach.

How can you assure the financial viability of the School moving forward?

While the rational for this change is both educational and philosophical, there are obviously financial implications. One consideration was how one can maintain fee affordability while continuing to invest in and develop the education we offer to the standard you expect as parents and which your children deserve.

This is a timely decision designed to allow the School to respond now so that it is well-placed to face the future, to make provision better, and to enable the investment to create a school that compares strongly to others.

The financial viability of the School is regularly reviewed by external auditors, and confirmed each year in its published accounts. By taking this decision now, we are able to adapt and future proof the education we offer.

Will girls be allowed to stay in friendship groups for the new classes?

We anticipate that the School will largely see a balance of girls and boys in all year groups, and we will try to balance classes accordingly. As is already the case in both schools, classes are not designed based on friendship groups and there will be ample opportunity for pupils to catch up with one another outside the classroom.

What will the School policy on mobile phones be?

We have developed foundation-wide pastoral policies and are reviewing the approach to mobile phones in both senior schools so that there is a consistency of approach.