St Mary's is an independent school for girls aged 3-16 and boys aged 3-4, set on two campuses close to Colchester town centre.
About the school
St Mary’s School - more than a hundred years’ experience of preparing girls for the future St Mary’s School for Girls, Colchester, has a long tradition of educating happy girls, but the school is always looking to the future and to the important roles pupils will play in shaping their world. Girls thrive at St Mary’s School for Girls, Colchester, where a dynamic, girl-friendly academic curriculum is balanced with exciting sport, drama, music, art and extra-curricular activities. ‘Happy girls are high achievers’ is the mantra and every pupil is given just the right amount of support, encouragement and challenge she needs to really make the most of her school years and leave well prepared for adult life. St Mary’s is a caring school, where every girl is known and valued and no-one falls through the cracks. Academic lessons are taken seriously of course – and the impressive results at SATs, 11+ and GCSE bear this out – but there is a lot of fun and laughter too. From the nurturing Early Years teachers to the older girls who take their younger ‘buddies’ under their wings, each member of the St Mary’s community plays an active part in the happy, vibrant life of the school. Just for girls St Mary’s is just for girls, aged two to 16 (although boys aged two to four are welcome in the school’s own kindergarten). From the moment children join the kindergarten at the age of two or three, the Lower School at the age of four, or the Senior School at 11, St Mary’s is tailored to offering them just what they need to achieve their academic potential and to really blossom. Each pupil at St Mary’s can put up her hand, or contribute an idea, without fear of embarrassment and in the knowledge that she will be supported by her peers and her teachers. All of the many subjects and activities available throughout the school are open to everyone and the school is an active member of the Girls’ Schools Association, keeping up with current thinking on education specifically tailored to the needs of girls. Kindergarten and Lower School St Mary’s Kindergarten and Lower School are set in a beautiful Victorian building, just a few miles from the centre of Colchester and five minutes from the A12, surrounded by nine acres of the school’s own grounds. Classrooms are light and airy and pupils’ colourful work is displayed all around. The Preparatory Class has its own well-equipped classroom as well as a playroom and outdoor learning area, within easy reach of the purpose-built Kindergarten, so that Early Years children can share activities and make friends as they prepare to make the transition to school. The Lower School has an impressive library, dance studio and music room as well as playing fields and its own forest school – an outdoor classroom where girls are encouraged to appreciate nature and to challenge themselves physically as well as mentally through games and activities. Senior School St Mary’s Senior School campus is a mixture of Victorian and sympathetic contemporary architecture, set on Lexden Road, within walking distance of Colchester’s centre. As well as the spacious main teaching block, with its grand entrance hall and sweeping staircase, the school has a superb modern arts block, comprising studios for drama and music, an ICT suite and bright art rooms. The Food Technology and Textiles departments have their own dedicated workrooms, and there is a well-equipped gym and hall. Outside, the Senior School has on-site courts for netball, basketball and tennis, as well as an outdoor heated swimming pool and playing fields. Academic focus St Mary’s is non-selective on entry and it is testament to the quality of the teaching and the supportive atmosphere at the school that girls strive to exceed their own expectations and attain high academic standards. The academic curriculum at St Mary’s is strong right from the start, with a foundation for learning in the Kindergarten, which is built on throughout the Lower School and into Senior School. Lessons are lively and supported by many trips and visits, and there is an emphasis on developing a love of learning and the ability to work independently. The Lower School curriculum is varied and exciting. As well as a structured approach to the core academic subjects, girls' horizons are broadened through music, art, drama and sport, as well as Philosophy, which is taught from Year 1 to help children to develop their thinking skills and their own opinions. The Sunday Times ranked St Mary’s Lower School in the UK’s Top 100 Preparatory Schools, thanks to SATs results well above the national average. High-quality teaching and small classes in the Senior School prepare girls for success at GCSE – in fact in 2012 St Mary's girls achieved 93% GCSE passes at grade A*-C, topping the league table for independent schools in North Essex, and placing the school second of all independent schools in the entire county. A huge choice of subjects is on offer at GCSE and girls are able to select those they enjoy and in which they will do well. Sciences are particularly popular, as are Food Technology, Art and Textiles, while Humanities and Languages also thrive. Every St Mary’s pupil is assured of a place at the high-achieving Colchester Sixth Form College, while every year several girls win sixth form places at prestigious state selective schools. An all-round education At St Mary’s it’s recognised that school is not only about exam success. Girls develop their artistic and creative talents and there are regular concerts, drama and dance productions and art displays throughout the school. Eco initiatives are many and varied – from making compost and growing ‘grub in a tub’ to recycling water, pens and even bras! Girls are encouraged to lead healthy, active lifestyles and there is a huge choice of clubs, sports and activities – from karate to Indian dance in the Lower School to crafts and team training in the Senior School – to help girls to discover talents and spark interests that could well last a lifetime. The school’s excellent pastoral care programme includes health and safety and first aid training, as well as opportunities for the discussion of childhood and teenage issues and tailored support for each individual. In all, St Mary’s is a happy, caring school, where academic standards are high and every girl is supported and encouraged to flourish as an individual and to gain the experience and skills that will prepare her well for the life that lies ahead. St Mary's Lower School & Kindergarten (for girls, aged 2-11; boys aged 2-4): 247 London Road, Copford, Colchester, Essex CO3 8LT St Mary's Senior School (girls, aged 11-16): 91 Lexden Road, Colchester, Essex CO3 3RB Telephone: 01206 572 544; email@example.com; www.stmaryscolchester.org.uk