May 2015 Featured School
St Mary’s School, Cambridge, United Kingdom – www.stmaryscambridge.co.uk
St Mary’s School, Cambridge is no ordinary school; it offers an extraordinary environment, ethos and education as the only all-girls independent day and boarding school in Cambridge. In fact, we have achieved ‘excellence in every possible area of educational provision’, according to the findings of the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
We are a school where any girl can thrive and achieve academic excellence. We focus on fostering a love of life and learning, while growing the academic talents and spiritual well-being of each individual. Ours is not a one-size-fits-all approach, we offer tailored education, understanding and individual support that encourages our students to look beyond themselves so that they enter adulthood aspiring to be more, not just to have more.
At St Mary’s School, Cambridge our curriculum is designed to nurture the needs and abilities of each individual student enabling her to reach the highest level of personal achievement.
In a school of around 650 pupils, age four to 18, small class sizes allow us to get to know each and every one of our students, gaining a rounded view of the areas in which they excel, as well as those they find more challenging. This insight enables us to develop your daughter’s individual learning journey, providing the right level of challenge and opportunity for her to hone and develop her learning, across academic and non-academic subjects.
We are able to tailor our teaching and pastoral care specifically for our girls at St Mary’s School, Cambridge, taking account of the differences in their learning styles; playing to our students’ collaborative, problem solving tendencies; and providing leadership and risk taking opportunities.
Our committed staff provide support and resources to enable and inspire students to flourish both academically and as individuals.
We embrace globalisation, opening our doors to students from different countries and cultures. Reflecting the cosmopolitan community of Cambridge, 14% of pupils at the school are from overseas, from 34 countries worldwide. We are fortunate to have a diverse student body at our school, from Reception through to our Sixth Form, adding richness to our warm and welcoming school environment.
The excellence of our boarding provision is evidenced by the results of our 2014 ISI report which judged our boarding provision as Excellent – the highest grade that can be given. During our most recent Ofsted inspection, the lead inspector said that our boarding provision was the most impressive she had seen in her nine year career. As a result, demand for boarding places is ever increasing; the capacity for boarders has grown steadily during the last five years and now 100 of our 500 Senior School and Sixth Form students board with us.
Founded on the principles of Mary Ward, the school is a Christian school in the Catholic tradition. We welcome girls from all denominations and faith because a strong Christian framework firmly underpins our school, helping to build and protect the spiritual well-being of each individual student. We believe in respecting and caring for the individual – others as well as ourselves, both in school and in the wider community.
The Christian focus manifests itself in many ways at the school, not least our outstanding reputation for pastoral care, as well as excellent value-added results for a broad academic intake. We believe that each girl is a God given gift to be cherished, and a unique value is therefore placed on every individual student here. Our emphasis on Catholic values gives the school a refreshing outlook, focusing the girls on ‘being’, rather than ‘having’, and modelling key values within them such as resilience and humility.
Building on our 400 year heritage and a foundation of more than 115 years, we seek to hold true to 12 characteristics which Mary Ward embodied, including coping effectively with failure, seeing the good in all creation, embracing diversity, valuing friendship and pursuing cheerfulness, and working to eliminate injustice. Mary Ward is a wonderful role model for our young and aspiring students and her work and character are profiled and celebrated throughout the school.
The two Mary Ward characteristics upon which we are focusing this year are: Supporting Each Other, and Self-respect. Supporting each other throughout the school happens on a daily basis at every level, from student to student support; teacher to student support; student to teacher support and teaching and support staff mutual support. Our Days of Reflection also offer opportunities for the girls to work together, developing their listening skills and being aware of the inherent value in each person. Our Lourdes Fundraising Fortnight is perhaps the best opportunity to witness how our students support each other. They work together to invent and run a multitude of fundraising activities from the dog show to a bake off for the Glanfield Children’s Group, which runs a holiday-pilgrimage to Lourdes every August with The Catholic Association.
Today, the school, founded by a woman who worked to promote the education of girls, offers a broad curriculum, enveloped in a culture of Catholic values and beliefs. The Independent School Inspectorate observed in our 2014 inspection: ‘Clear vision permeates all that the school does, enabling it to combine academic success with a strong spiritual and Catholic ethos’.