Calling parents with son(s) in St Alban or Merchant Taylor?

(5 Posts)

My children are at State school but my neighbour's boys are educated privately.
Her eldest is at MTS, and her youngest will follow this September so I put your questions to her.

"1 - What are the key things you like most about St Alban / MTS as a parent? What sort of child will shine, progress best in the school setting?
I have one son who is in 5ths at MTS and another who will be starting there in September in year 9. At first it seemed a big leap from a small prep school to a larger campus but the boys are made to feel welcome and supported not only by staff but by other pupils. It only takes them a few weeks to learn where everything is and there is a lot of help and encouragement at this time. When we were first looking, I remember asking someone the difference between Habs ( Haberdasher Aske) boys and MTS boys and was told – Habs boys are ambitious and out of the box thinkers; MTS boys are nice boys and do well with a little structure. All of the MTS the boys I’ve met are polite, friendly and well spoken. MYS’ treat each boy as an individual and there are so many activitieson offer that your son can find what he enjoys whether that be sports, drama, music or many other things ( you don’t have to be sporty to succeed here.) They challenge the boys academically but are very supportive at the same time.

2 - pastoral care - what is the scope of pastoral care and who delivers it? We are looking for a consistent structure of service delivery so we know what to expect. St Albans seem to teach some study skills, Merchant Taylor has an additional tutor that track with your kid and a dozen others throughout the 7 years. MTS also seem to have a career office. I know less about pastoral care in St Alban, any info to share?
Each boy has a form tutor who always knows the big picture of how your son is doing in all of his classes and activities. As a parent you can always email the tutor and arrange a time to meet or talk about your son. They also touch base with you on parents evening and are proactive to reach out to you if they have any concerns. They meet in form group on a regular basis and the groups are made up of students from various years so they have a wider support network and can learn from older boys and help younger boys. MTS has a new head of careers this year who is very proactive and there to help boys start thinking about their areas of interest. They bring in outside speakers from different industries, offer psychometric testing, have careers fairs and even offer things like interview advice for those going onto medical degrees after sixth form.

3 - G7/8 - what extra 'care' and considerations are given to the younger kids in the secondary schools? Bonding? Taught mostly in the form? Skills workshop?

I think being a part of the form group helps with this.

4 - academic setting - how does it work? what subjects are setted? from when? Mine only started in year 9 but where put into sets then.

5 - co-ed 6th form - any experience on this? Is this a bit of a distraction for boys at that age? There are opportunities to mix with girls ( St. Helen’s) in music groups, plays and musicals, CCF and other activities. Sixth form will be next year for us so no experience yet, although I do think studies show boys do better in single sex education.

6 - music, sports - is MTS in general stronger? They seem to have professional rugby coaches, a full music block and a new D&T block.
They are very strong in sports – lots of opportunities in Rugby, Hockey and Cricket. Also Basketball, sailing (on their lake). They don’t play football as one of their main sports so you might miss that. They’ve had professional teams train there, coaches come and work with them, etc.
The music program is equally strong – there are several choirs and singing groups as well as orchestras, music ensembles, etc. The Summer Serenade in June is a lovely time to sample all of these. There are so many different activities that kids can get involved in (you may have seen them at the open day.)
Parents join support groups of the different interests and it’s a great way to meet other parents at the school as well as hold social events to raise money for extras. For example I belong to the Footlighters which is the drama support group. We sell refreshments at eh show and run other social evenings (coming up A Night in the Tropic: Caribbean themed BBQ and steel drum band and Murder Mystery evening.) My son is involved backstage in production doing the lighting so drama encompasses a lot of different possibilities for the boys not just acting. The new DT block is going to be cutting edge so if your son has an interest in that, it is going to offer a great experience. The other great thing about MTS is their old boy network –OMTs regularly contribute their talents to the school and they provide a great network for your son in the future.

It has been the right school for our oldest son and I’m happy our youngest will be going there too. Good luck"

HTH

TheBeautifulVisit Tue 25-Feb-14 01:04:57

The form sizes at St Albans are quite large. You might want to compare.

TheBeautifulVisit Tue 25-Feb-14 01:03:15

St Albans School provides excellent pastoral care. I would say it's the school's strong suit. Boys are guided through the lower school with great care. They have careers advisers and boys sit Morrisby tests and get careers advice prior to choosing their A level subjects (to ensure they can go on to do what they want to do). This year (2014) St Albans are holding 20 Oxbridge offers. Their leavers' destinations for 2013 are on the website as are their full GCSE and A level results (MTS only have results up to 2012). St Albans probably has posher boys, MTS has a more Norf Landun vibe somehow. They are both lovely schools.

The headmaster, Andrew Grant, is leaving at the end of the year which may herald change.

Monstef Fri 21-Feb-14 10:52:17

Following

Kungfumama Tue 26-Feb-13 13:14:47

The 11+ results are out. We have a number of choices and have shortlisted St Alban and Merchant Taylor, with a scholarship place with the former. Although we have visited both schools and ploughed through their websites and ISI reports, we still quite cannot decide! It's an important decision. Help please :-)

With the deadline to commit dawning on us, we would like current parents in St. Albans or Merchant Taylors to help give us a glimpse of the following:

1 - What are the key things you like most about St Alban / MTS as a parent? What sort of child will shine, progress best in the school setting?

2 - pastoral care - what is the scope of pastoral care and who delivers it? We are looking for a consistent structure of service delivery so we know what to expect. St Albans seem to teach some study skills, Merchant Taylor has an additional tutor that track with your kid and a dozen others throughout the 7 years. MTS also seem to have a career office. I know less about pastoral care in St Alban, any info to share?

3 - G7/8 - what extra 'care' and considerations are given to the younger kids in the secondary schools? Bonding? Taught mostly in the form? Skills workshop?

4 - academic setting - how does it work? what subjects are setted? from when?

5 - co-ed 6th form - any experience on this? Is this a bit of a distraction for boys at that age?

6 - music, sports - is MTS in general stronger? They seem to have professional rugby coaches, a full music block and a new D&T block.

Any parental feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

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