St Mary's School Caring For Your Daughter

Supporting the Girls

As a boarding school, we understand the relationship between the academic work the girls do and their broader lives and wellbeing. Our sensitive and integrated pastoral system ensures that every girl is supported in all aspects of her life, including her work, friendships, health and personal development. Every girl has a tutor, who helps her to manage the balance of her life, and she has regular contact with her Head of House. Senior girls volunteer as buddies, helping younger girls with general skills or specific pieces of work.

Study Skills Programme

The girls are supported throughout their time at St Mary’s by a comprehensive study skills programme. This begins in Year 7 with a focus on how memory works, and how to make the most of it. From Year 9, this expands into the broader subject of metacognition. Our bespoke Year 10 induction programme introduces a range of skills to help the girls successfully negotiate the GCSE years and lay the foundations for A Level study. The Sixth Form begins with a complete induction programme that explores issues of mindset and resilience, as well as more advanced study skills specific to A Level work and the Extended Project Qualification.

Private Study

Girls are always given at least two evenings to complete work set (known as ‘Study’), which makes it much easier for them to manage their academic and other activities. Dedicated quiet spaces and times are available after school and on weekends. Holiday work is not set in Years 7 to 9. In Years 10 to Upper Sixth, the workload is carefully monitored so as to be manageable, and allow time for holiday and rest.


The Reading Room and Senior Library contain a wide range of reference materials for all subjects, and are open from 7:30am until 10:00pm every day, including weekends. Girls can access plenty of online material, including JSTOR, Student BMJ, and a broad range of newspapers and academic journals. All girls have access to the library database from their phone or iPad, which helps them with resource searches and recommendations for reading. Library staff are available to guide and supervise, and several senior members of staff have their offices in the library area, including the Sixth Form team. The Senior Library includes the Atrium, a spacious and well-lit social area where girls can meet up together or with staff to chat over coffee.

Learning Support

The Learning Support Department screens all pupils in their first term at St Mary’s. Thereafter, further testing is arranged according to circumstances and need. Where appropriate, identified pupils are assessed under JCQ regulations in Year 9 in order to determine access arrangements for public examinations. The potential need for Examination Access Arrangements is identified through professional reports, staff feedback, and screening. The JCQ regulations outline the parameters for accessing these arrangements. However, this is undertaken on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the most appropriate arrangements accessible to that pupil are being made. 

In Years 7 and 8, Learning Support lessons are conducted in small group workshops, though one-to-one lessons are available if needed. From Year 9, Learning Support lessons are delivered on a one-to-one basis. Regular drop-in sessions are also available.  Learning Support teachers monitor progress and liaise closely with subject teachers, who also  offer extra support outside lessons and on most weekends. Academic departments run a buddy system whereby senior pupils help the younger pupils, who love having this sibling-style relationship with pupils in the years above. 


ICT is a core part of every girl’s learning at St Mary’s. All departments use a range of ICT resources in their teaching, and develop the girls’ ICT skills in subject-appropriate ways. All girls are issued with a St Mary’s email address for communication with staff and pupils, and our school intranet and app are the gateways to a wealth of resources, information, guidance and useful links for the girls. The Network Services department and ICT Help Desk support girls with their devices, including technical assistance and repairs.

Digital Literacy

In Computer Science lessons the girls follow a structured skills-based curriculum and our two well-resourced ICT suites allow girls to use the latest software to develop a range of creative, technical and analytical skills. All girls in Years 7 and 8 have access to a touch-typing programme. Senior girls have the option of following bespoke courses, such as programming, CAD software and 3D printing to support graphic design and architecture applications, or the complex data manipulation necessary to support their study in Maths, Science and Geography.
At St Mary’s we have a dedicated team in the Network Services department who help girls with their devices, including technical support and repairs.

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