St Mary’s School, Cambridge

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St Mary’s School, Cambridge is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged 4 to 18.

Situated in the heart of the academically and culturally vibrant city of Cambridge, we offer a safe and secure learning environment for girls. A Christian school run in the Catholic tradition and founded on the principles of Mary Ward, we have a unique approach to education and an atmosphere which fosters a love of life and learning, while growing the academic talents and spiritual wellbeing of each individual girl.

At St Mary’s School, Cambridge, we don’t offer a one-size-fits-all education, we provide renowned pastoral care, understanding and individual support that encourages girls to look beyond themselves, so that they enter adulthood aspiring to be more and to give more, not just to have more.

There are 160 girls in our Junior School, 400 girls in the Senior School and 100 in our Sixth Form. A fifth of the girls at the school are boarders. Reflecting the cosmopolitan community of Cambridge, 14% of students at the school are from overseas, from 34 countries. Building on our 400 year tradition, St Mary’s School, Cambridge belongs to an active international network of over 200 Mary Ward schools worldwide, presenting many exciting and innovative opportunities for its students.

Gifted & Talented


At St Mary’s School, Cambridge our girls receive excellent teaching and personalised help. In return our students are expected to take some responsibility for their own learning and to develop a level of self-sufficiency. This is valuable practice that will serve them well throughout further education and adult life.

We view all of our girls’ individual gifts and talents as precious and we take an holistic approach that is designed to draw out their full potential. We do this by challenging them academically and helping them to grow as independent learners.

Individual strengths are nurtured through our curriculum and a schedule of extra-curricular and enrichment activities, which include clubs, workshops, trips, external speakers, residential visits and competitions. Examples of past trips and visits include: Year 9 Adventure Weekend, Sixth Form Trip to Venice, Year 10 Geography Field Trip to Wales, Choir Tour to Lake Garda and the German Exchange Visit.

Our Gifted and Talented Policy can be found by visiting our website.


At our Junior School the individual needs of our girls are identified very quickly. Basic skills are revisited by our teaching staff consistently and this is reflected in our Programmes of Study and in our planning. Ability assessments are discussed in detail with the SEN Coordinator and programmes are agreed to suit all groups and individuals. Regular standardised testing is undertaken to monitor individual progress. These are always analysed so that specific immediate support is put in place for children who have not made the expected progress at their level. Each class has a number of children with learning needs whose assessments often indicate a need to take a revision programme. Support programmes are planned by the teacher in conjunction with Learning Support Assistants (LSA) who deliver the support. In addition, sessions are run in the morning and at lunchtime to boost the girls’ confid ence in specific areas of Mathematics. External support is provided by two specialist teachers.

Children for whom English is an Additional Language are given additional support from Junior School age to develop their communication skills, and ensure that they can access all areas of their learning. Highly practical and creative teaching motivates the children to learn, while also building key skills that will follow them as they progress through school. There is a good balance of teacher-led and self-directed activities, thus targeting all learning styles. We have a high percentage of bilingual children and with the additional language support provided as needed, none of these children is disadvantaged in their learning, which is evident in their assessments. The girls are closely monitored to ensure their English does not fall behind their levels in other subjects. EAL (English as an Additional Language) support is provided by the teacher and/or LSA as necessary.

Learning support in the Senior School is provided through our Language and Learning Department. The department offers guidance and support to both our girls and teaching staff, which enables subject teachers and tutors to meet a range of individual needs within mainstream lessons and the form group.
St Mary’s School, Cambridge is an inclusive school with a focus on development of the individual, whatever her strengths or weaknesses. Some girls with individual needs may be withdrawn from lessons and in the time gained, have some support in small groups. Our dedicated LSAs are also on hand to provide in-class support. In all cases, students’ progress will be monitored carefully and communicated clearly and regularly to their parents.

Girls applying to enter the school in Year 7- Year 10 whose first language is not English will sit an EAL Entrance Examination to ensure that their language proficiency is equal to the demands that will be made upon it. Those achieving outstanding results are invited to take the English Entrance Examination for native-speakers, and on the basis of this the decision is made whether to integrate the student into IGCSE English courses or provide them with EAL courses taught by highly qualified specialists. The latter enable students to develop their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar and improve their reading, listening, writing and speaking skills, but every effort is also made to develop an interest in the language, a set of learning skills and a familiarity with useful and authoritative digital reference materials so that they will have the means – and we hope the desire – to continue their language learning independently whenever their formal language instruction comes to an end.

In Year 10 EAL students will take the upper-intermediate University of Cambridge First Certificate examination and Year 11 culminates in the IELTS examination. IELTS provides a university entrance qualification in English that is acceptable throughout the English-speaking world. The scores of our students are generally high, and every year some Year 11 students achieve results that satisfy the requirements of the most demanding universities.

Students in the Lower Sixth who do not already have an English qualification accepted by UK universities or who wish to offer a higher qualification, are also prepared for the IELTS examination, which (in consultation with their teachers) they may take whenever they feel that they are likely to achieve the marks required for the university courses they aspire to. They may retake the examination in order to attain these.

Throughout the school, students are provided with English language support for their other subjects. This currently ranges (according to student need) from English, Art, History, Geography, Biology and Religious Studies for Year 7- Year 11 girls, to assistance with Personal Statements and interview practice for university applicants or support with the Extended Project Qualification and Personal Studies in Art at Sixth Form level.

Bursaries & Scholarships

Our scholarship provision aims to celebrate outstanding academic, creative and sporting achievement and service to the wider community. Scholarships are offered throughout the school and are designed to give girls a sense of their own worth and ability, while providing them with the opportunity to develop their gifts and talents for their own benefit and, as importantly, for the benefit of others.
In addition to a fee reduction, the scholar herself gains support in their area of particular talent from a teacher at St Mary’s School, Cambridge. In return for scholarships, girls are expected to act as role models to their peers and contribute to the wider life of the school, thus fostering a love of learning and commitment to service.

Our bursaries are discretionary, means-tested and awarded on a sliding scale based on financial need. Awards are reviewed annually with the expectation that they will decrease over time in order that as many families as possible are able to benefit from the bursary funds available.

Bursaries may be made to existing or prospective families. Existing families who are committed to St Mary’s School, Cambridge but whose financial circumstances have changed will be prioritised over new applicants. Please contact the Bursar, Mr Mark Johnstone, for more information on bursaries:

Visit our website for more information about our scholarships and bursary provision.

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