Construction of our new Sixth Form boarding house continues briskly, and we are delighted with the progress that has been made since the groundbreaking ceremony on 11 January 2017. The topping out ceremony took place on 11 October, and the planned completion date is May 2018, with the first year group due to take up residence in September. 
This new house will be similar in style to the existing Mary Ward Courtyard.  There will be:
  • 5 houses, each with 12 or 13 bedrooms, making a total of 64 bedrooms
  • En suite facilities in all bedrooms
  • Large kitchen and dining areas in each house
  • Three residential staff houses
In addition there will be a pastoral centre which will be light and spacious and will consist of an amphitheatre-style lecture theatre, a multi-use space for modern dance, yoga and entertaining, a quiet room, a kitchen, and a series of rooms for meditation, prayer and reading, with clear views across the field and open space beyond. The pastoral centre is designed to create a peaceful, calm atmosphere which will be welcoming and inviting for the Upper Sixth pupils.
Our architect for this project, Angus Neil, has worked with us on many projects before, including the Orchard Centre, the Rose Theatre, the refectory and the senior library.
The development of this new boarding house will not lead to an expansion of the number of pupils in the school.  We know that the school is already the perfect size, which allows every girl to be known and valued by all, while maintaining a Sixth Form strong enough to attract and retain the very best teachers, and offer the full range of academic A levels. That means holding to the current system, with forty boarders arriving in Year 7, joined by a further twenty in Year 9, our aim being that they all stay on for the Sixth Form. 380 pupils is also the maximum number that can fit into Chapel – a very important consideration for a community which meets every morning for prayer.
Once our new boarding house is open, the current Mary Ward Courtyard will become the House for the Lower Sixth.  Year 11 will move into single rooms in the wing of the school currently occupied by the Lower Sixth. In this way, the new boarding house will benefit not only the Upper Sixth, but the whole of the school, by freeing up space in the now rather cramped main building.
It is the essence of what we are that makes us unique and special. Our intention is to be faithful to that essence, so that we can remain unique and special for generations to come.
  1. Mary Ward 2 aerial view
  2. Mary Ward 2 courtyard view