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 EPQ.
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 junior and senior libraries 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.
Our Learning Support Department conducts a full screening of all girls in their first term at St Mary’s. Thereafter, further diagnostic testing is arranged according to circumstances and need. Girls are reassessed in Year 9 in order to determine access arrangements for public examinations. 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 one-to-one. Learning Support teachers monitor progress and liaise closely with subject teachers. Subject staff regularly offer extra support outside lessons and on most weekends. Regular drop-in sessions are available for all girls. Departments run a buddy system, whereby senior girls help younger girls with anything they are finding difficult. The younger girls love having that sibling-style relationship with girls in the years above.