St Mary's Shaftesbury is an Independent Catholic School for girls aged 9 to 18. Set on a beautiful 55 acre estate, the school offers a setting where girls flourish. High academic standards are complemented by our outstanding pastoral care. Every girl is given the opportunity to develop and explore beyond the curriculum, discovering her unique talents and ambitions.
About the school
Set in 55 acres of beautiful countryside on the Dorset/Wiltshire border, St Mary's Shaftesbury is a leading independent school for girls aged 9-18. Its Catholic ethos sets it apart, creating a happy and vibrant boarding and day community. Outstanding teachers and excellent pastoral care enable girls to achieve their ambitions in a relaxed but stimulating environment, where Oxbridge and Russell Group university success is realised. At St Mary's, girls have the confidence to be themselves, to be creative whilst exploring the educational opportunities around them and participate in the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. Girls feel able to take risks, become resilient and independent, whilst enjoying the benefits of an all girls' education.
The biannual Fashion Show at St Mary's Shaftesbury is a sold-out event every time!
23rd March 2018 — On Saturday evening the Art and Textiles department held their biannual Fashion Show. This fantastic event showcases the work of girls throughout the school, from our youngest pupils' Pop Art pieces to LV's work on fashion inspired by architecture. There was a whistle-stop tour through different fashion eras, including hats from the 1920s, skirts and dresses from the 1950s and a 'Fashion Through the Ages' section, featuring members of staff gamely modelling styles and pieces from the past hundred years.
Pupils from nearby Hanford and Knighton House prep schools also joined the event. Having developed their garments in the preceding months, each school took a turn on the catwalk to showcase the immense talent among these young creatives.
The Hall was creatively decorated by Georgia Freeley and Olivia Willis who made the audience's tables look spectacular. The audience enjoyed sharing platters and wine as the sequence of performances unfolded during the evening, and the fashion displays were interspersed with some fabulous dance numbers.
Our thanks go to the dedicated team in the Art and Design department, particularly Julie Hodge and Maxine Bridger who created such a memorable evening for all.
Members of the Medical Ethics Society caught up with internationally respected Professor Winston
23rd March 2018 — Last year girls in the St Mary's Medical Ethics Society went to hear Professor Robert Winston give a lecture titled Modifying Humans. He was so very inspirational that in January of this year Director of Mission Ethos Jacintha Bowe emailed him to ask if the Society could hold a Skype interview and mini-seminar with him. Sir Winston was most amenable to the idea and she and the Society members looked forward to the event with great anticipation. In preparation for the interview, the group looked at the ethical issues surrounding developments in genetic modification, IVF treatment, and what it means to be human.
Commenting, student Kirstie Stage said, “Professor Robert Winston spoke with such passion when answering our questions. We covered topics from the ethics of DNA profiling to the politics of doctors striking. The discussion about religion and science was compelling, especially in a multicultural society like Britain because he brought up some of the difficulties that he has faced and the importance of being able to accept a change in ethics. It was incredibly useful for the girls thinking of pursuing a career in Medicine and Biochemistry, as well as those with general interest.”
Student and society member Hannah Langton found the Skype interview particularly useful because she is currently working on an Extended Project Qualification on CRISPR and genome editing.
The winners of the St Mary's Born to Write creative writing competition were presented with their prizes at a special ceremony in March
9th March 2018 — The first week in March saw the culmination of St Mary’s second annual Born to Write Competition. With schools across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire taking part, the competition is proving to be very popular. 143 short stories of 500 words on the theme of ‘Time’ were received, and judges found the standards to be incredibly high. The final tough decisions were made by local author Rebecca Westcott.
At this week’s ceremony, Rebecca praised the young writers for their ability to draw in the reader in a remarkably short space of time. She read some examples of brilliant opening sentences, making the gathered audience realise just how well-written these short pieces were!
Winning students from St Mary’s, Knighton House, Hanford, Sandroyd and Queen Elizabeth’s School had been invited to attend the awards ceremony, but the final prizes were a secret until the event itself. Overall winner was Timothy Robinson from Sandroyd with his story “100m Sprint”. Madeleine Humphries from St Mary’s was the Year 7-9 Category winner with ‘The Myth of Father Time”, and Francesca Allman from Queen Elizabeth’s School won the Year 10 & 11 Category with “My Misunderstood Mistake”.
Congratulations also to those who received Highly Commended awards: Tatiana Welchman (Sandroyd), Scarlett Ridge and Lottie Butterworth (St Mary’s), Josephine David and Lauren Semmens (QE), Eliza Ellis (Hanford) and Megan Elliot (Knighton House).
Giorgia G (UVI) represented St Mary’s at the South West heat of the national ARTiculation competition which was held at the New Art Centre (Roche Court) in Salisbury on Tuesday 6th March.
9th March 2018 — Giorgia G (UVI) represented St Mary’s at the South West heat of the national ARTiculation competition which was held at the New Art Centre (Roche Court) in Salisbury on Tuesday 6th March. Giorgia’s presentation on her chosen art work Nude Youth Sitting by the Sea by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, which she had first seen in the Louvre on a school trip to Paris, was confident, engaging and sophisticated. Giorgia’s authentic interest in Art History and her strong background in drama and public speaking shone on the day. Although she was not selected to go through to the finals, Giorgia acted as an excellent ambassador to the school. Giorgia was also noted for being very supportive of other students who took part. There were eight schools in total who were selected from the entire South West to compete in this heat.
The adjudicator Emma Goltz, trustee of the Fine Art Society, commented on how she loved hearing Giorgia's description of her seeing the work for the first time. She thought Giorgia did a great job of communicating her personal connection with the work and admired her presentation style.
The Lower III cohort at St Mary’s Shaftesbury is going from strength to strength.
13th September 2017 — This time last year St Mary’s Shaftesbury re-opened their Lower III (Years 5 and 6) classes. There were two girls in the initial September 2016 intake, who were quickly joined by several others during the academic year until there was a flourishing class enjoying learning together at the school.
This September the cohort has grown enormously in number, with 22 girls starting the term! The girls are now enjoying being part of three separate vertical tutor groups, making the most of the benefits of having older girls as mentors during part of their school day.
“We’re thrilled to have such a happy, vibrant LIII year group,” said class teacher Mrs Rebecca Dixon, “All the girls are settling in well and enjoying the benefits of being part of St Mary’s. While our youngest pupils access all the specialist teachers and facilities (including sports facilities) on the site as part of their curriculum, they have their own classroom areas and play areas, meaning they can play together and make the most of the estate in their free time.”
During their long summer break, St Mary's girls were achieving great things at home and abroad
13th September 2017 — The autumn term has begun this week, and the first busy few days of meetings and inductions, and settling into Houses are well underway. Returning girls have been sharing their news about the summer and as ever they’ve been up to some fantastic things during the long break.
Isabelle E, now in LVI, returned to New York for the second time to attend a six-week summer school at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre company. Isabelle was training in the professional division summer intensive course. She had an incredible time and was challenged in every class; she was one of the youngest on the course, with students accepted from age 16-25.
Last year’s two Head Girls, Lucy T and Ellie L headed to Lourdes for a week with eight other St Mary’s girls past and present to join the Order of Malta pilgrimage. They attended a different religious service every day, including 2 beautiful processions; one in the day and one by candle light. There was an inspirational Rosary service and a moving laying on of hands for the Hospital pilgrims, night prayers every night in the famous grotto was a highlight of the trip.
Meanwhile one of this year’s Head Girls, Kirstie S, continued her ongoing work with the UK Youth Parliament. Kirstie is a member of the Wiltshire Assembly of Youth and Deputy UK Youth Parliament member. She was invited to speak on the subject of body image before the Youth Science Select Committee, which took passion and conviction, and which she did with great talent.
Closer to home, Helena LB, now in LVI, took part in the National Citizens Service (NCS). She was involved in an 'adventure' week (which included an eleven mile hike, raft & buggy building and climbing activities) and a 'skills' week, and subsequently carried out a community project based in nearby Gillingham. Helena and her team renovated an unloved area of ground near the town's youth centre; their aim was to develop a pleasant, safe garden. As well as undertaking the physical work to clear the space, the team, "Burst of Colour", also fund-raised for the project. Helena’s commitment demonstrates the grit, community spirit, and selflessness which are typical attributes of a St Mary's girl!
Finally, alongside the superb GCSE results achieved by our UV cohort from last year, there was one standout A* gained by Tallulah C who took Latin GCSE while still in LV. Tallulah’s commitment and hard work, as well as natural talent for the subject, resulted in her scoring an incredible 100% across all four exam papers.