St Mary's School Academic Life

Academic Life

St Mary’s is proud of being an academic community. The girls work hard and cheerfully, supported by superb teaching and an excellent pastoral system. They take pride in the improvements they make, they enjoy intellectual challenges, and they are willing to take risks along the way. All of this enables our girls to achieve outstanding results in public examinations, and to go on to a range of top universities both at home and abroad.

A Bespoke Curriculum

We understand that each girl’s academic journey is a personal one, which is why we allow girls to choose the subjects that suit them, rather than confining them to a rigid block system. Being a single-sex school allows our girls to thrive on their own terms, and to learn the value of their own intellectual industry, which they then take with them into the world beyond school.

An Academic Community

Academic life at St Mary’s is not confined to the classroom. We are proud of having a vibrant, varied, pupil-led programme of events that is constantly responding to the needs and interests of the pupils and the world in which we live. Our Inspirational Women lecture series regularly brings in eminent speakers on a wide range of topical issues, to broaden their intellectual and moral engagement with the world. The Academy, our stretch and challenge group, runs a programme of readings, discussions, lectures and independent research. Our super-curriculum programme gives pupils the opportunity to combine their skills in large inter-disciplinary projects on topics such as Identity or Enterprise.

A Supportive Community

As boarders, the girls are able to help each other, forming revision groups around the school and benefiting from the availability of staff in the evenings and on weekends. The girls run societies in many areas of their academic life, hosting talks, discussion groups, reading groups and debates in the evenings, and organising trips. Senior girls frequently organise events for younger girls such as a junior art history club, a junior history balloon debate, and the annual science poetry picnic.


Trips are a regular feature of boarding life. Academic departments run outings to museums, theatres and activity centres, as well as fieldwork courses. There are frequent overseas residential trips, including most recently an Outdoor Adventures trip to Cambodia, a Geography trip to Iceland and a Classics trip to Athens. Other regular overseas trips include choir tours to European cities, History of Art trips to Paris and Florence, a Year 9 Science and Politics trip to Geneva, a Year 8 French trip to Normandy, and a sports tour to South Africa. More details of all of these societies, activities and trips can be found on the individual department pages of the website.

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