Marcus Cox (2012-2017) My Merchant Taylors’ School Story

‘My path would have been very different if I hadn’t come to Merchant Taylors’. Would I be where I am now: an undergraduate degree, a masters at Cambridge and then Teacher training? Probably not.’ – Marcus Cox, February 2023.

Marcus CoxThe hardship bursary I received was the only way for me to remain at the school and it made all the difference to my life. The school nurtured and developed my nascent interest in music; my teachers steered me in the right direction and made me realise that music is what I wanted to take forward into my future career.

Many of my enduring memories of my time in school revolve around music. I remember the various choirs and instrumental groups that I was part of and the concerts we put on and the trips. A highlight was being part of the production of Guys and Dolls when I was in the Lower Sixth.

The academic side of school life was really fulfilling. The ability to have five lessons a day where you feel you are learning and being listened to, and you can talk to your teachers and get feedback is great. I filled my lunchtimes with choir rehearsals, and worked on school productions in the evenings. It’s a full experience.

Thinking of my mentors and inspirations, I must mention John Coleman, with whom I worked on many productions together, and then of course the Music Department who directed and nurtured me, Joan Stubbs, Simon Couldridge and Huw Jones, the former Director of Music who was at the school until the end of my Lower Sixth year.

Apart from developing my love of music and steering me into my future career, the school shaped me in other ways too. I remember very clearly the focus on behaviour and kindness to others, which are key elements of the school ethos. It was very much about preparing us to be members of society. The vertical tutor system worked really well because it mixed up the years, so I have friends from different year groups. It also meant you had support from older boys when you were in the earlier years and then as you progressed through the school you gave back by supporting the younger ones.

That supportive and encouraging environment that Merchant Taylors’ provided me with is something I am so grateful for: my teachers provided so much guidance and direction which got me to where I am today. As a way of saying thank you for that, I started giving back to the school. I really want to help those boys who are leaning toward music. The gifts I am making might mean singing lessons for those who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity, the rent of a violin or the tuning of a piano. Just something that makes a difference for the department and the boys.

I think without the bursary I received, and my time at Merchant Taylors’, my path would have been very different. Would I be where I am now: an undergraduate degree, a Masters at Cambridge, and then teacher training? Probably not.

So, to those who are giving to bursaries, please keep supporting them! You are making a huge difference by making a generation for the future who want to go out into the world and make a change.

Help to transform the lives of young men like Marcus by supporting the Bursary Fund