St Mary's School Curriculum

University & Careers

Education does not finish at A Level. The choices which the girls make affect the broader trajectory of their lives as they move from adolescence into adulthood, and the importance of those choices is reflected in the advice and support we give them. This includes weekly tutor time and our bespoke Skills for Life programme, access to online subscription services and a careers mentoring consultancy, regular talks and workshops, the Alumnae Careers Fair and mentoring scheme, and timetabled one-to-one support from tutors, an independent careers advisor and the Careers Co-ordinator.

Years 7-11

In Years 7 and 8, a light touch approach allows pupils to explore what careers are available in a relaxed and supportive environment. In Years 9 and 10, pupils begin to investigate careers in a more purposeful manner, beginning with the Unifrog Interests profiling assessment, which provides a starting point for discussion with tutors, peers and parents. In Year 11, the focus is on finding, preparing for and carrying out work experience, and reflecting on that experience. Throughout these two years, the girls receive advice from tutors, Heads of House, Heads of Department, the Academic Deputy Head and the Director of Sixth Form about A Level choices, and these choices are carefully monitored in the first weeks of the Sixth Form. In Year 11 the girls have a one-to-one meeting with a specialist independent careers advisor.

Higher Education

In the Sixth Form, pupils prepare for life after school, with the emphasis being on securing the best university places, whether in the UK or abroad, and working towards the most fulfilling job opportunities. The girls receive regular talks and impartial advice about their Higher Education options, and speakers from universities come in to talk about the admissions process. The Sixth Form team are based in the Senior Library, where the pupils come for careers advice whenever they need it and to explore the excellent careers resources. Information is available on everything from open days and scholarships to applications and gap year projects. Regular meetings with tutors, together with a dedicated Universities Week in the Lower Sixth, help the girls to focus on the UCAS application process from an early stage. Their progress is carefully monitored by the Director of Sixth Form and his team, who also supervise the comprehensive Oxbridge preparation programme. 

Careers Advice

In the Lower Sixth, the girls have a follow-up meeting with their independent careers advisor and, where appropriate, there is the option of being paired with an alumnae mentor, and receiving a Myers Briggs assessment. The school’s Alumnae Association holds a biennial careers conference, at which the girls can talk directly to their predecessors about their experiences. Our excellent Inspirational Women series of talks provides a wide range of first-hand advice and careers experience. The result of all this is that the girls make choices that are fully informed, ambitious, realistic, and right for them. When they come back as alumnae, we are always very proud of how warmly and positively they talk to the girls who are here now and following in their footsteps.

University Destinations

91% of our 2023 cohort achieved places at either Russell Group universities or St Andrews, or their equivalent abroad, including Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, UCL, Warwick and York; La Universidad de Navarra and La Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Spain; the University of Hong Kong; and Harvard, Boston, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Pennsylvania in the USA.  

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