What it’s like
Founded in 1888, it is suburban and single-site in the centre of Crosby which is on the coast, 10 miles from Liverpool and 12 from Southport. Its well-designed and pleasant buildings lie in gardens, with playing fields nearby. The junior school is nearby and has recently been extended. It is a non-denominational school and has strong traditional links with Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, especially in cultural activities. It is a well-run school with high academic standards and very good examination results. The music department is extremely strong; theatre studies are offered to A-level. There is a good range of extra-curricular activities and sports, where high standards are achieved. In the sixth form there is a very substantial commitment to local community services and 80 girls are members of the joint CCF.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 4–18; 920 day pupils (860 girls, 60 boys). Senior department 11–18, 615 girls.
Entrance: Main entry ages 4, 11 and 16. Own entrance exam used. No special religious requirements; music and sports skills looked for. State school entry, 75% main senior intake plus several to sixth form. Own junior department provides approx 40% of senior intake (enquiries/application to Merchant Taylors’ Junior School, Stanfield, Liverpool Road, Crosby, Liverpool L23 5TH).
Scholarships, bursaries & extras School assisted places and bursaries available. Parents not expected to buy textbooks; dinner and music extra.
Head & staff
Headmistress: Miss Julie Brandreth, appointed 2004. Educated at Stockport High and Priestnall High School, and at Manchester University (English), Manchester Polytechnic (education) and Leicester University. Previously Deputy Headteacher at Hodgson High School Specialist Technology College, Head of Communications at Palatine High School (Blackpool) and taught at Kirkham Grammar, Grange School and Offerton High School.
Teaching staff: 50 full time, 20 part time. Annual turnover 3%. Average age 40+.
GCSE: In 2003, 96 pupils in upper fifth: all gained at least grade C in 9+ subjects with an average score of 63 (62 over 5 years).
A-levels: 75 in upper sixth: 99% passed in 4+ subjects. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 432.
University & college entrance 90% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on to a degree course (5% after a gap year), 10% to Oxbridge. 10% took courses in medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 10% in science & engineering, 10% in law, 48% in humanities & social sciences, 4% in art & design, 18% in other subjects eg pharmacy, psychology, business, accountancy. Others typically go on to non-degree courses eg art foundation or resit A-levels.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 23 AS and A-level subjects (including theatre studies).
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; in addition all take AS and A-level general studies. 40% take science A-levels; 40% arts/humanities; 20% both. Some discrete key skills teaching but flagged up through sixth-form courses.
Vocational: Work experience available.
Special provision: A preliminary screening test for dyslexia is available and examination concessions arranged; all-round awareness of the condition though no specific dyslexia unit.
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE, AS and A-level. Work experience links for sixth formers through Lingua programme.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (2 lessons a week) and across the curriculum, eg project work and presentations. 80 computers for pupil use (8 hours a day), all networked and with email and internet access. GSCE, AS and A-level ICT offered.
Music: Over 30% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Some 8 musical groups: 5 choirs, 2 orchestras, 2 bands. Pupils regularly in National Youth Choir, National Youth Orchestra and National Children’s Orchestra; several girls in regional youth orchestra; choir took part in Classic FM Christmas concert.
Drama: Drama offered, GCSE drama, A-level theatre studies, ESB exams may be taken. Majority of pupils are involved in school productions and all in form/other productions.
Art & design: On average, 25 take GCSE, 6 A-level. Design, pottery, textiles, graphics also offered.
Sport & activities
Sport: Hockey, netball, athletics, tennis, swimming, dance, gymnastics, cross-country compulsory. Optional: leisure sports eg rowing, sailing, squash, badminton, step aerobics. County and regional representatives in hockey, cross-country, athletics; several national swimmers, English Schools athletics finalists, cross-country and badminton champions and modern dance national finalist.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. CCF optional for 4–5 years at age 14+ (80 girls are members of joint CCF). Community service optional for sixth form (140 girls participate). Up to 15 clubs, eg chess, dance, drama, debating etc, some joint with the boys’ school.
Uniform: School uniform worn, modified in sixth form.
Houses & prefects: No house system or prefects – school affairs run by sixth-form committees. Head girl and 2 deputies, elected by staff and seniors, confirmed by Headmistress. School Council.
Religion: Compulsory, non-denominational morning assembly.
Social: Work closely with brother school. Regular trips abroad. Pupils allowed to bring own car/bike/motorbike to school (but not use car park). Meals self-service. Tuck facilities at break. No tobacco or alcohol allowed.
Discipline Those involved in serious breaches of rules (eg caught smoking on the premises) might expect immediate suspension until facts were verified; those with drugs may be expelled.
Alumni association is run by Mrs S Duncan, Fairhaven, Serpentine South, Blundellsands, Liverpool L23 6UQ.
Former pupils Dame Beryl Bainbridge; Prof Janet Finch (Vice-Chancellor, Keele University); Jane Garvey (BBC presenter).