St Mary’s Colchester host Climate Change Conference
St Mary’s Year 8 Geographers hosted a Climate Change Conference on Friday 7 December to tie-in with the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).
The students watched a live feed to Katowice in Poland, and representing 10 countries: USA, UK, India, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Maldives, China, France, Ethiopia and Bangladesh, they presented information on the effects of climate change and what they were prepared to do to reduce CO2 emissions.
“It is vital to raise awareness of the important issues facing our world due to the ever increasing threat of climate change to our environment, and the students really rose to the challenge!” said Mrs Sarah Wilding, Head of Geography. “I was impressed with the girls’ commitment to the event, they spent two weeks researching and preparing for this conference, working across the whole year group - even meeting at lunchtimes in order to communicate their ideas.”
From Sunday 2 to Friday 14 December, close to 100 Government ministers are involved in negotiating a final deal on moving forward with climate action at the United Nations COP24 conference in Poland. This Summit will put into place the practical implementation guidelines needed to implement the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement that aims to limit global warming to well under 2°C this century.
St Mary’s is the first in Essex to receive the Wellbeing Award for Schools
St Mary’s is the first independent school in Essex to achieve the prestigious Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) from Optimus Education.
“We place great emphasis on Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health at St Mary’s, so I am delighted this has been formally recognised!” says Mrs Hilary Vipond, Principal.
St Mary’s received the Wellbeing Award after evidencing and showcasing everything that it does both in the curriculum, via Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education, as well as all of its other programmes, activities and initiatives. The Award verifier was particularly impressed with the comments he received from students, staff and parents, who all highlighted the School’s commitment to students’ wellbeing.
The School received a glowing report, which praised the many support mechanisms that are in place for both its Lower School pupils and Senior School students, from the Buddy system to the Friendship Bench, and the Listeners, as well as the team of pastoral staff who are always available for the girls when needed. Forest School received a special mention for developing the pupils’ strengths, team building skills, and the positive effects on how pupils learn to interact with each other.
“We place great importance on helping our girls to develop self-confidence and resilience,” says Mrs Hilary Vipond, Principal. “Girls are able to achieve so much more, academically, if they are happy. At St Mary’s, supporting their wellbeing goes hand-in-hand with helping them to reach their potential in the classroom – which is why it is so wonderful to have received recognition for our excellence in this area.”
“We can clearly see that our approach works,” concludes Mrs Vipond. “By offering a broad, balanced and emotionally supportive environment, our girls thrive – which is evidenced by our Lower School recently being ranked 9th best Prep School in the country by the Sunday Times.”
The Wellbeing Award has been developed in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau and focuses on ensuring effective practice and provision to promote the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both students and staff. For further details about the award, see www.awardplace.co.uk/award/was
The Sunday Times ranks St Mary’s Colchester as the UK’s 9th best prep school for
For the second year running, The Sunday Times has named St Mary’s Lower School as the ninth highest performing preparatory school in the country.
The Lower School, located in Copford, Colchester, not only placed in the top ten in England in the Sunday Times Parent Power list, published on 18 November, it was also the leading Prep School in Essex!
“We are absolutely delighted to be ranked ninth out of the top 90 independent preparatory schools in England by the Sunday Times for the second year running,” said Mrs Emma Stanhope, Director of St Mary’s Lower School. “This result is made even more impressive by the fact that we are not academically selective on entry. It showcases the excellence of the education on offer here at St Mary’s Lower School, along with the support and dedication of our highly experienced staff.”
The latest Parent Power listing ranks independent preparatory and state primary schools according to the outcomes of the national Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) in reading, maths, and spelling, punctuation and grammar taken by Year 6 children in 2017.
“Whilst this position is a reflection of our girls’ academic ability, we work very hard to get the balance right between academic achievements and a wonderfully broad education that prepares girls for senior school and beyond,” continues Mrs Stanhope. "Our girls not only get a fantastic grounding in English, grammar and maths, they are also encouraged to take advantage of all that our School has to offer – from Forest School to Philosophy, and from Ballet to Japanese!”
New-style SATs were introduced in May 2016, with a ‘scaled score’ replacing the previous ‘levels’ method of assessing children’s performance in tests covering reading, SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and mathematics. In 2017, 83% of St Mary’s Year 6 pupils were judged to be working at a higher level than national expectations (a scaled score of 110 or above) in reading, 56% in maths and 78% in SPaG. National expectation is a scaled score of 100.
“These results once again prove that ‘happy girls are high achievers’, concludes Mrs Stanhope. “Our pastoral support is at the centre of all that we do – our girls thrive in confidence as a result of our warm and happy environment.”
An evening of music and drama in tribute to those who fought in World War One, in its centenary year, was presented by Year 11 students at St Mary’s School, Colchester, on 30 October.
‘We Will Remember Them’ featured moving poetry and prose, as well as songs and dances from the era, were performed to an audience of family and friends, which also numbered members of the Royal British Legion, former soldiers, the Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester and the Deputy Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Nick Cope.
“My wife and I loved the performance,” said Councillor Peter Chillingworth, Mayor of Colchester. “I have great admiration for the girls’ singing and performing skills. We were both affected by the understanding of the World War theme and poignancy the girls brought to it. We were particularly impressed by the continuity and how they appeared to join up the pieces without prompting or outside direction”.
The girls performed a debut of the song ‘Nowhere’ written by Deputy Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Nick Cope who said: “I was moved and overwhelmed with the pleasure and appreciation of the students’ performance, a truly memorable evening for me”.
St Mary’s Colchester is the UK’s ninth best prep school, says the Sunday Times
The Sunday Times has named St Mary’s Colchester’s Lower School as the ninth highest performing preparatory school in the country in its Parent Power listing of the UK’s Top 100 Preparatory Schools, which was published on 19 November 2017.
The latest Parent Power listing ranks independent preparatory and state primary schools according to the outcomes of the national Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) in reading, maths, and grammar, punctuation and spelling taken by Year 6 children in 2016.
“Although not academically selective on entry, St Mary’s is an academic school and our pupils are encouraged to take advantage of all that school life has to offer,” said Mrs Emma Stanhope, Director of St Mary’s Lower School. “We work hard to offer a broad and balanced curriculum in a warm and happy environment with plenty of opportunities to be involved in the arts, sport and a huge range of activities. Our pupils feel sufficiently secure and confident to develop their own personalities, strengths and interests and we are able to bring out the very best in each individual.”
New-style SATs were introduced in May 2016, with a ‘scaled score’ replacing the previous ‘levels’ method of assessing children’s performance in tests covering reading, GPS (grammar, punctuation and spelling) and mathematics. In 2016, 63% of St Mary’s Year 6 pupils were judged to be working at a higher level than national expectations (a scaled score of 110 or above) in reading, 56% in maths and 56% in GPS. National expectation is a scaled score of 100.
Press enquiries: please contact Sarah Nicholls, Marketing Officer, St Mary’s School, Colchester, email@example.com, 01206 216418.
Sunday Times: St Mary’s is one of the top 100 preparatory schools in the UK
St Mary’s Lower School has been named in the Sunday Times’ ParentPower list of the Top 100 Preparatory Schools in the UK.
The school is positioned 93rd in this year’s rankings, which are calculated on the basis of fee-paying schools’ attainment in Key Stage 2, level five SATs 2015 in English and Maths, and appear in the Sunday Times’ ParentPower supplement, which was published on 20 November 2016.
As a non-selective school, St Mary’s Lower School’s position is testament to the focus on educating the individual that is intrinsic to the St Mary’s ethos. ‘Small classes and attention to the best methods of encouraging each girl to achieve her potential mean that our girls’ academic results at Year 6 are impressive, whatever their starting point,’ said Mrs Hilary Vipond, Principal of St Mary’s.
‘Although we are an academic school, our pupils also take an active part in school life, enjoying a broad and varied education in a warm, happy environment with plenty of opportunities to be involved in the arts, sport and a huge range of activities. At St Mary’s, girls feel sufficiently secure and confident to develop their own personalities, strengths and interests and we are able to bring out the very best in each individual.’
St Mary’s are regional English competition champions!
A team of Year 6 pupils from St Mary’s Lower School, Copford, beat 58 local schools to win the annual Essex Education Services (EES) for Schools English competition for Key Stage 2 on 7 July.
The St Mary’s team of Hana, Olivia, Olivia and Abigail, beat schools in the Colchester area, earning them a place in the final against 11 schools from around Essex. Olivia said of the competition: “I felt great when we came first. I was hoping for it but I didn’t think it would happen! It was really fun and the rounds were great. I really enjoyed the experience.”
Organised by EES for Schools, this team competition has been running for three years and encourages English skills. Pupils compete against each other in a range of activities using team work and problem solving, including anagrams of book titles, synonyms, explain the word and identifying spelling mistakes.
Miss Debbie Smith, Year 6 Class Teacher and Literacy Leader at St Mary’s, said: “It was a great experience for the girls, encouraging them to work as a team and to keep calm under pressure. Their love of English was evident!
Councillor Ray Gooding, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning said: “The Key Stage 2 English competition has shown the breadth of talent we have in our Essex Primary Schools. It is great to see children engaging in learning and the curriculum in a fun yet competitive way, my congratulations to all who took part this year.”
Local authors bring books to life at St Mary’s Junior Literary Festival
A host of local authors and illustrators captivated pupils’ imaginations with a day of literary celebration at St Mary’s Lower School, Copford, on 8 July.
Visitors to the school’s first Literary Festival included local author of Mersea Mick, Veronique Eckstein, and A Dog Called Grk author, Josh Lacey.
Other guests included local author of The Bucket, Jason Cattrell, author and illustrator of Steven Seagull: Action Hero, Elys Dolan, and illustrators Bee Willey, Nicola Pontin and Tom Morgan-Jones.
In a lively and engaging day, pupils aged from four to eleven, took part in interactive workshops with the authors and illustrators to encourage enthusiastic reading. There were also storytelling sessions, craft activities and story trails. Veronique Eckstein, author of Mersea Mick, enthralled pupils with a unique and prop-filled telling of her story about fox-terrier Mick and his owner Edgar, based on a real First World War letter found on Mersea Island.
“At St Mary’s we encourage a love of reading in all of our pupils, and spending time with the authors and illustrators really brought the books to life for them, said St Mary’s Principal Mrs Hilary Vipond. “It was a wonderful day that we hope further instilled a passion for learning through reading.”
To round off the day, St Mary’s welcomed Immersion Theatre for an open-air musical production of the Wizard of Oz, which was open to the public as well as pupils and their families.
Forthcoming Open Days
Sorry. No Open Day dates have been provided by the school.