The Spectator

School portraits | 14 March 2019

Merchant Taylors’ School, Lycée International Winston Churchill, Lewes Old Grammar school, Truro High School for Girls

School portraits | 14 March 2019
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Merchant Taylors’ School

One of the country’s ‘great nine’ schools, Merchant Taylors’ School, near Rickmansworth, was founded in 1561 by the Merchant Taylors’ Company. Catering for boys from the ages of three to 18, it is highly academic but also well known for its extracurricular provision and pastoral care. Activities range from Combined Cadet Force and the Duke of Edinburgh Award to Greek and Mythology Club. It has a tutorial system, with each boy assigned a tutor who looks after him throughout his time at the school. Merchant Taylors’ also has a campus of 285 acres of parkland, and there is easy access from the Metropolitan line. More recently the school has excelled in sport, becoming under-17s national cricket champions in 2017. This year, design and technology students reached the national finals of the Jaguar Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Competition. The facilities are superb and give every boy the opportunity to find several things at which he can excel.

Lycée International

Winston Churchill

Built on the site of the former Brent town hall, the co-educational, bilingual Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill (founded by the French Education Charitable Trust) was opened in 2015 by the then French president François Hollande. Half of the primary curriculum is taught in English, and secondary students can choose to study either the English International Programme (EIP) or the French baccalauréat. The Lycée has 40 different nationalities of students, aged five to 18. In June last year the first intake of pupils graduated; 92 per cent chose to continue their education in the UK got places at a Russell Group university. There are after-school activities ranging from skateboarding to coding. The catering has won awards, and at lunchtime there’s a French, vegetarian and international option, as well as a cheeseboard and soup of the day. Fricassée de poulet à l’ancienne, anyone?

 Lewes Old Grammar school

Tracing its origins back to Henry VIII’s reign, Lewes Old Grammar School is an integral part of the arty, intellectual town. This historic establishment (from four to 18) has a creative emphasis and has produced many talented musicians, singers and performers. When the school marked its 500th birthday a few years ago, as part of the celebrations there was a showcase of talent at Glyndebourne. While the classes are small and the teachers passionate, the admissions policy is inclusive. On top of regular school trips abroad, some part--funded, the school runs an annual free reward trip to Holland for the pupils who have made the most effort (at everything from lessons and charity fundraising to sports and drama). The school has access to the town’s excellent sports clubs and facilities (including Lewes FC, whose coaches also train the pupils), and there are clubs as diverse as wakeboarding and equestrian team.

Truro High School for Girls

Truro High started in 1880 with just 14 pupils; now the school educates more than 300 girls from the ages of four to 18. Set in the heart of Cornwall’s cathedral city of Truro, the school is close to the beach, and makes the most of its location. As well as the usual extra-curricular offerings, Truro High girls can also attain lifeguard training qualifications. The school has been racing in the Greenpower F24 and F24+ (for which pupils must design, build and then race their own cars) for seven years, and this year it made automotive history by becoming the first school in the country to have a motorsport club which is officially recognised by Motorsport UK. There is a school dog, Issey the cockapoo, a certified learning support dog whose presence can assist pupils with attention deficit problems, as well as generally being a calming influence. In academic terms, Truro High regularly tops Cornwall’s league tables, and there’s a focus on STEM subjects.