Fundraising FAQs

As a current parent I already give to the school through fees – why should I give more money?

Nearly all private schools rely on supplementary, non-fee income in order to maintain high standards of education. Many boys’ schools will have had large endowments granted to them centuries ago by wealthy benefactors, or have long standing relationships with historic livery companies who contribute significantly to their operation and the development of their facilities. At St Mary’s School, Cambridge we have no endowments or the patronage of a livery company. Since the foundation of the school in 1898 we have welcomed the generosity of parents and The Pastonian Association (alumnae). Today’s parents can do so much to ensure that the school continues to provide the excellent education and environment their own daughters and future students can benefit from. For example, current students are enjoying the recently refurbished Learning Resources Centre, perhaps without the knowledge that it was funded through non-fee funds.

Surely school fees more than cover the cost of new initiatives?

The school typically generates only a very small surplus each year, after its day-to-day running costs are accounted for:

We offer tailored education, understanding and individual support - to do so the school employs a certain number of teachers to allow a very favourable ratio of teachers to students.
We provide an enriching environment in which our students thrive – but the school must employ staff and pay for equipment to ensure this environment exists.

Our committed staff provide support and resources to enable and inspire students to flourish both academically and personally, as well as offering an impressive extra-curricular programme.

In order for St Mary’s School, Cambridge to continue providing the best possible education and to invest in important future improvements, we need to raise funds beyond the school’s financial resources.

It is many years since I was a student at the school. Why should I give a gift?

Private education is extremely competitive, especially with many prosperous boys’ schools turning co-educational in recent years, often for financial reasons. Former students who value the distinctiveness of a St Mary’s School, Cambridge education can help shape the school’s future and send out a powerful message of support every time they make a donation.

There is much you can do to help; investing in St Mary’s School, Cambridge allows you to be part of something you love; it gives you some ownership of your Alma Mater.

I support charities that help the less fortunate and the disadvantaged. Why should I consider supporting a school for girls who already enjoy great privileges?

By supporting St Mary’s School, Cambridge you are supporting the education of future generations of young women who will go out into the world with the desire, talent and confidence to genuinely make a difference in their local and wider communities.

From experience we know our students will leave school with the sense of compassion and generosity that the Mary Ward ethos instils in each girl. Many girls will be empowered by their education to go on to careers which will help create a better world – as doctors, teachers, charity workers, authors, scientists and more. In supporting us you will be acknowledging the importance of nurturing compassionate, proactive contributors to society.

Our fundraising is not just about facilities and resources. Through The Sister Christopher Bursary Fund we are committed to increasing support which we are able to give to students’ families who experience hardship, as well as families not yet part of our community, whose daughters would prosper here but whose circumstances mean they cannot consider private education.

Why does the school need to keep spending money when there are already excellent facilities?

The bedrock of our excellent school is not its facilities, it is talented and committed teachers and boarding staff who are able to engage and challenge our students and teach them the skills they need to flourish. However, the competition for high-quality staff increases every year and we need to provide an irresistible teaching and living environment in order to retain our excellent staff and attract the very best applicants in the future.

We are currently looking at specific capital projects that will directly benefit the school as well as future generations of girls. Part of the school’s wider Development Programme also involves building renovation and classroom and laboratory refurbishment, as well as developing our sporting facilities. We are also looking at other exciting opportunities, including Sixth Form provision with a particular focus on rowing.

Should I make a donation to the school, how do I know you will make good use of my donation?

We believe that information and transparency is the key to building strong relationships with our donors. You can specify where you would like your donation to go, for example The Sister Christopher Bursary Fund or a capital appeal project. We will keep you informed through the website, The Magnolian, the PTA and other publications, such as The Pastonian Newsletter.

I can only afford to make a very small donation – surely this is only a drop in the ocean?

A donation of any size is always very welcome and sends out an important message of support to our students, the school, its traditions and our educational philosophy.