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FAQs about admissions

How can we visit the school?

We hold a range of open house events throughout the school year for prospective families, but you are also always welcome to make an individual appointment to tour the school and to meet with relevant members of staff – please contact the admissions team who will be happy to arrange an appointment.

Do you have to be a practising catholic to attend St Mary's School, Cambridge?

Ours is a Christian school of Catholic heritage in which girls of all faiths and secular backgrounds are warmly welcomed and where the precious uniqueness of each individual is valued. Significant days in the Church’s calendar and the school year are celebrated with Mass or an ecumenical liturgy (religious service) in school or the local parish church. It is expected that all students attend as part of the community and participate as far as they feel able.

Do all students attend religous education lessons?

All students attend Religious Education lessons and Religious Studies is a compulsory examination at GCSE level. Teaching is academic, rather than confessional, in approach, and a variety of Christian viewpoints are examined alongside other world faiths – principally Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes. Scholarships are offered at Year 7, Year 9 and Lower Sixth entry and are worth up to 20% of the day school fees. The following scholarships are available: Academic, Academic STEM* (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Art, Dance, Design and Enterprise, Drama, Mary Ward, Music, Sport, Textiles. Please see our scholarship page for more information.

* Year 9 and Upper Sixth entry only

What are cognitive ability tests (CAT)?

CATs assess a range of reasoning skills using three types of symbol: reasoning with words is assessed in the verbal battery; reasoning with numbers is assessed in the quantitative battery; reasoning with shapes and figures is assessed in the non-verbal battery.

Why are cognitive ability test used at Year 7 entry?

CATs are less influenced by prior teaching than tests of the taught curriculum, so the quality of tuition at a student’s previous school or preparation specifically for the test will have much less effect on the outcome. By removing these variables we get a better indication of the student’s potential, together with useful information about any support she may need while at St Mary’s School, Cambridge.

Does St Mary's School, Cambridge operate its own school transport?

Please click here for information on transport to school and how to find us.

Are school meals compulsory?

St Mary’s School, Cambridge provides school lunches to students in across the school at an additional cost. A varied menu is offered daily including fresh fruits and salad, and food is prepared on the premises to a high standard. For Junior School pupils these lunches are compulsory but in the Senior School and Sixth Form, students can choose whether or not to have school lunches. Students in the Senior School or Sixth Form who wish to discontinue their school lunch arrangement are required to give notice of half a term.

Are instrumental music and drama lessons available and is there an additional charge for these?

Students throughout the school are encouraged to take advantage of the provision of tuition in a wide range of orchestral and other instruments by peripatetic Music staff, and to benefit from our specialist London Association of Music and Drama (LAMDA) teaching for Speech and Drama lessons. There is an additional charge for these sessions. A term’s notice is required for cessation of Music and Drama lessons.

What is the induction process for new students to St Mary's School, Cambridge?

Change is inevitable in life, and how it happens can have a great impact on how one feels about a situation. At St Mary’s School, Cambridge we strive to ensure that every student feels welcome. It is essential to have a smooth transfer into school for the first time or as a joiner from another school. Early on we ensure there is two-way communication between school and parents. After a place is offered, a taster day can be arranged at your request. This can be for a morning or for a full day, and gives the student the opportunity to meet classmates and get the flavour of a typical school day. The school is very happy to provide several taster days.

After starting school, a classmate will be paired up with a new student to settle in as quickly as possible.

We have a strong House system at St Mary’s School, Cambridge and, after starting school, each new student is assigned to one of the four Houses. Within the House the girls are arranged into families, which are vertically grouped and therefore consist of a range of ages. There is a series of welcome events and information evenings for new St Mary’s School, Cambridge parents in the first half term, where parents receive information about the curriculum and have the opportunity to meet other parents from the year group. Through these means we hope that new students to our school will integrate quickly and happily.

Do students at St Mary's School, Cambridge wear a school uniform?

Yes, students in Year 7 to Year 11 wear a school uniform. Students in Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth do not wear a uniform but, instead, wear smart-casual clothes. Boarders will be taken to purchase the correct school uniform as part of their induction weekend at the start of the academic year. The school uniform can be purchased from our online shop on the John Lewis website, which can be accessed by clicking here. It is no longer possible to try uniform on in school so please ensure that you choose uniform sizes carefully.

If you have any questions relating to uniform please contact the school.

Can my child, who is attending a local four to 13 prep school, join St Mary's School, Cambridge in Year 7?

The majority of children joining us from local four to 13 Prep schools do so in Year 9 and, unless there are particular reasons for moving, most students remain in their four to 13 Prep school until the end of Year 8. We create an extra class to ensure that we can accommodate applicants from these Prep schools and, in addition, we offer a pre-test. This means that, if you wish, we will assess your daughter for entry while she is in Year 6 and make the offer for her to join Year 9. Otherwise, we will assess your daughter for entry while she is in Year 8, in the normal way. Further details about the assessment process for girls in Year 6 and Year 8 can be found in the ‘Take an assessment’ section of the website.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes. The deposit is to be paid on acceptance and is refundable once a student leaves the school. Further information on fees can be found here.

For FAQs about international applications, please click here.

If we haven’t answered your questions above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will happily answer them in person. Please contact Admissions Officer, Tina Shannon on +44 (0)1223 224 167 or admissions@stmaryscambridge.co.uk.