Computing

In Years 7 to 9 all girls have timetabled lessons in Computing.

The syllabus offers a mixture of Computer Science, ICT and Digital Literacy. The girls are taught important ICT skills such as spreadsheet modelling, data analysis and graphing, which are important in supporting teaching and learning across the school. Digital literacy is vital in encouraging the safe and productive use of technology.

The Computer Science modules cover a wide range of skills. Year 7 are introduced to the principles of coding by producing sequenced scripts and creating games using Hopscotch. Year 8 learn to use the turtle module in Python to sequence instructions and draw beautiful shapes, exploring the connections between programming and art. They also enjoy learning about computational thinking in the self-paced Swift Playgrounds environment. In addition to this, the girls design web pages using HTML and CSS. In Year 9 the girls develop their understanding of the principles of computational thinking and programming, again using Python.

Year 8 have one collaborative STEM lesson a week as part of the design, electronics and computing carousel.

At GCSE, girls follow the CIE IGCSE course in Computer Science. They develop their understanding of the main principles of problem-solving using computers, and apply this to creating computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and a high-level programming language. They also develop a range of technical skills, and explore current and emerging computing technologies.

In the Sixth Form, girls are given the opportunity to take a technology course in which they receive support for pursuits such as web or app design, programming, advanced spreadsheets, CAD (computer-aided design) and 3D printing. This programme is designed to support pupils with interests they may want to pursue at university such as engineering, architecture, graphic design or computer science.

Economics and Politics

Economics

Economics is taught at A Level, and follows the AQA course.

The course covers both micro and macroeconomics, including supply and demand analysis, markets, AD/AS analysis, and how government policy seeks to achieve economic objectives. Pupils then go on to look at economic theory in greater depth. In microeconomics, this includes labour markets, the distribution of income and wealth, the environment and market failure. In macroeceonomics, pupils learn about national economy, and then cover international topics such as globalisation, trade theory, exchange rates, and the UK’s global economic links.

Politics

Politics is taught at A Level, and follows the AQA course.

The course covers both UK and US politics, and explores comparisons between the two systems. The girls look at how political systems and parliaments work, the role of the judiciary, and how participation in democracy happens through elections, referendums and pressure groups. The course also covers the main political ideas, including liberalism, conservatism and socialism.

Beyond the classroom

Sixth Form pupils stay closely in touch with current news and events. There is an Economics and Politics Society, which is open to girls in Years 10 and above. Sixth Form girls have a trip to London, visiting Parliament and attending economics lectures, and they enjoyed a five-day trip to Washington and Philadelphia in February 2018, during which they visited Congress, the National Constitution Centre, and Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and adopted. St Mary’s girls also take part in Model United Nations. They attend several conferences around the country each year, representing a different nation state each time.

Drama and Theatre Studies

Drama is taught to all girls in Years 7 to 9. It is then an option at both GCSE and A Level.

In Year 7, the girls learn basic drama skills such as mime and improvisation, and work on radio plays, musical theatre, and Shakespeare.

In Year 8, they experience a range of theatrical styles and methods, from the ancient Greeks to commedia dell’ arte. They go on a day trip to the Globe theatre, which includes a tour and workshops. Every girl also participates in performances of condensed Shakespeare plays that are presented to parents as part of the Year 8 parents meetings.

In Year 9, the girls learn about dramatic genres such as forum theatre, farce, musical theatre, and physical theatre. They use political theatre to look at issues such as the suffragettes and homelessness. They also try their hand at script-writing.

At GCSE, pupils follow the Eduqas Drama course, which contains a significant practical element. The girls put on their own devised pieces as well as performances from text, which are chosen by the girls in consultation with the department. Recent choices have included Di and Viv and RoseThe Wasp and Shakers. Trips to live performances are a regular part of the course, and girls normally see eight or more plays during the two years, in addition to seeing performances through the NT Archive and Digital Theatre. There are also regular workshops with professional practitioners.

At A Level, pupils follow the Eduqas Theatre Studies course, which again highlights the practical side of the subject while maintaining intellectual rigour and a sense of academic enquiry. The course includes the chance to re-imagine a text for performance, and opportunities to study classics of theatre literature such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hedda Gabler alongside more modern works such a Chimerica and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The girls are required to watch as much live theatre as possible, so there are regular trips to see some of the many exciting theatre productions available both locally and in London.

Beyond the classroom

The department regularly takes girls to see live theatre. GCSE and A Level girls have recently enjoyed trips to see Hadestown at the National Theatre, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the Piccadilly Theatre, Twelfth Night at the Young Vic, and All My Sons at the Old Vic. Trips for lower school girls have included Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre and Wicked at the Apollo.

The department also runs a bi-annual trip to New York City to visit Broadway. On the 2019 trip, the girls saw several plays, including Sam Shephard’s True West and Disney’s Frozen, as well as visiting a number of culturally important American landmarks and taking part in theatrical workshops with Broadway performers.

Girls can opt to take Extra Drama, which leads to the Trinity Guildhall examinations and beyond. Extra Drama pupils in Years 7 to 9 put on a showcase of their Shakespeare work every year in the Rose Theatre, while the Year 10 girls perform contemporary pieces.

There are plenty of opportunities for girls to perform on stage. In the 2018-19 academic year, the department have put on Antigone, Out of Love, The Blue Electric Wind, The House of Bernarda Alba, Second Person Narrative and Little Women. Every year the Drama Captain directs a play of her own choosing, which this year was Out of Love. Year 8 drama teachers produce a reduced Shakespeare performance, and the Extra Drama pupils perform monologues and duologues in An Evening with the Bard. There is also an annual House drama festival, the entries for which are directed by the Sixth Form Drama Captains, and the pupil-led open platform A New Narrative, in which girls can perform new and original material in a relaxed studio environment.

Classics

All the staff in the Classics Department are specialists in both Latin and Greek.

Latin

Latin is taught to all girls in Years 7 and 8. Most girls continue with Latin in Year 9, though some are invited to pursue a course in Classical Studies instead. Latin is then an option at both GCSE and A Level.

In Years 7 to 9, pupils are introduced to the Latin language, and then begin to learn more complex language skills, including composition. They also learn about Roman life and history. They study the city of Pompeii and its eventual fate, learn about life in Roman Britain and ancient Alexandria, and encounter the epic tale of Aeneas.

At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR course, which involves the study of authors such as Pliny, Tacitus, Virgil and Livy. They learn to appreciate Latin prose and verse literature in the original and develop a more sophisticated understanding of the accidence and syntax. They are then able to read continuous Latin prose with fluency and tackle simple English into Latin translation. The course includes trips to the British Museum, and to classics conferences at other schools.

At A Level, pupils follow the OCR course, which provides a blend of language and literature, including works by Ovid, Cicero, Virgil and Horace. They study Latin authors in depth and tackle both unseen verse and prose for translation and comprehension, as well as building on their composition skills. They also go on regular outings to places such as the Cambridge Cast Gallery, to university events and lectures, and to theatrical performances.

Classical Greek

Pupils are given a taster in Classical Greek in Year 8, and able pupils then begin a course in Classical Greek in Year 9. It is then an option for both GCSE and A Level.

At GCSE, pupils pursue the OCR course, studying authors such as Euripides, Herodotus, Homer and Xenophon. They learn to appreciate Greek prose and verse literature in the original and develop their understanding of syntax so that they are able to read with fluency. They also tackle simple English into Greek translation. They go on trips to the British Museum and classics conferences, and performances of Greek tragedies at local and national theatres, including the annual Cambridge Greek Play.

At A Level, pupils pursue the OCR course, which includes the in-depth study of authors such as Plato, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Thucydides. They tackle both verse and prose unseen for translation and comprehension, as well as building on their composition skills. There are regular outings to university events, lectures and performances.

Classical Civilisation

Aspects of Greek and Roman civilisation are encountered as part of the Latin course in Years 7 to 9, and some Year 9 girls are invited to take a course in Classical Studies instead of Latin. Classical Civilisation is then available as a subject option for GCSE, if there is sufficient demand, and for A Level.

At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR course. They learn about Greek and Roman society, religious beliefs, mythology, and domestic life. They also analyse ancient source material, including classical literature in translation, and material evidence such as archaeological finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum. They develop an awareness of the relationship between classical Greece and Rome and the world of today.

At A Level, pupils follow the OCR course. This incorporates a blend of ancient literature in translation and the study of classical culture, including religion, politics, sculpture, architecture and pottery. Pupils explore the world of the hero though an in-depth study of selected books from Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid in translation and develop an appreciation of the religion of the Greeks and Romans using a variety of sources including classical art and architecture. They go on outings to the British Museum and other sites of interest.

Beyond the classroom

Sixth Form classicists run their own Senior Classical Society for the benefit of girls from Year 10 and upwards. They attend plays, host film and video evenings, suppers, debates and discussions. A Junior Classics Club meets regularly, offering activities such as designing and creating Roman mosaics, making Roman jewellery, writing and shooting videos on Greek mythology, and devising classically-themes board games.

Trips are plentiful and varied across the year groups. Younger girls visit the museum at Corinium and Chedworth Roman Villa, Butser Ancient Farm, and the Roman Baths. Senior girls attend set text study days and lectures at a variety of venues such as Cambridge University. They have also regularly visited exhibitions at the British Museum. There are regular theatre trips, most commonly to see Greek tragedies and comedies performed in the original Greek and in translation at Cambridge, Oxford, Stratford and London.

Overseas residential trips also take place approximately once every two years. The most recent trip was to Rome in February 2018.

Art and Design

All girls receive lessons in Art and Design from Year 7 to Year 9. It is then an option at GCSE and again at A Level. Photography is also available at A Level.

Art and Design

In Year 7, the girls receive specialist teaching in textiles, painting and ceramics. In Year 8, print-making is added to the syllabus, and in Year 9, photography is included, in both digital and traditional back and white formats. Classes are small, and each discipline is taught in its own dedicated space within the Art Complex.

At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR course. The girls work in small groups, developing their skills, and recording their research and progress in their sketchbook. They experiment with the three main disciplines of painting, textiles and ceramics, before choosing one to pursue as part of a self-directed project.

At A Level, pupils follow the Edexcel course. This begins with a trip to Brighton and the South Downs, and the chance to work with an artist in person. Girls then experience a carousel of four disciplines, painting and drawing, textiles, ceramics, and printmaking, before choosing their specialism. During the course they experiment and refine their technique, research different artists, and develop their own project work. There is a focus on independent work, and the girls document all their preparatory work in sketchbooks, before embarking on their final pieces.

Photography

Photography A Level also follows the OCR course. It begins with the department’s trip to London, where the girls visit galleries and begin taking photographs as part of their project work. This is followed by studio workshops in digital and dark room techniques. The girls build on their understanding of photographic technologies and techniques, and then develop their own independent project.

Beyond the classroom

The girls are taken on regular trips to museums and galleries, and have the opportunity to work with practising artists, both here at school and on our annual residential trip to Brighton. They also attend artists’ talks, and life drawing takes place at school once a fortnight for senior girls.

Pupils’ work is exhibited around the school throughout the year, and the department also stages a major exhibition on Open Day. Girls enter their work for the Windsor School Festival and the Saatchi Art Prize. The girls also host pupils from St Francis Primary School for an art day once a year.

View gallery of recent art work.