We delight in the setting of our Senior School, which comprises a number of beautiful and historic properties, in tranquil grounds adjoined to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, in the heart of Cambridge.
St Mary’s School, Cambridge is ambitious across the range of its facilities, whether in sport, Science, arts and Sixth Form provision, or boarding accommodation. This year not only are we delighted to have been able to provide our boarders with splendid new boarding facilities, at Mary Ward House on Brooklands Avenue, neighbouring the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, but we are also thrilled to have secured an historic partnership with a University of Cambridge college to substantially regenerate our outdoor sports facilities at Long Road.
The new site will feature: two new AstroTurf pitches - for hockey and for rugby and football; new netball and tennis courts; dedicated athletics facilities comprising a grass running track, a long jump pit and high jump and shot put facilities; practice nets for all ball sports; a new pavilion, including physio room, kitchen, and dedicated changing facilities; and floodlighting. The programme of development is subject to planning approval by the City Council.
The gymnasium is the ideal arena for indoor sports such as badminton, gymnastics and dance. The school also has an outdoor gym for the girls to use, as well as two outdoor table tennis tables and netball/tennis courts on our Senior School site on Bateman Street. In 2016 we secured a long term partnership with the City of Cambridge Rowing Club (CCRC) to rebuild the current boathouse and provide high quality rowing opportunities for girls throughout the school – extending the provision, which previously was available exclusively to Sixth Form students.
Our Sixth Form Centre on Brooklands Avenue, a stone’s throw from the rest of the school, provides a safe environment in which Sixth Form students are able to thrive in their newfound independence, as they embark on their A Level courses. It comprises: dedicated subject classrooms for the teaching of A Levels in Business Studies, Psychology and Economics; a silent study room; a social study/ computer room; an extensive careers and Higher Education information and advice suite, all of which are designed to help our students to prepare for life beyond school. A spacious common room and bright kitchen help the girls relax and build their friendships as does the gym and dance studio.
Last year we were delighted that Dame Mary Archer opened our beautiful new science hub, about which she graciously acknowledged its “triumph of aesthetic appeal”. Indeed we delighted in making the laboratories light, bright and colourful: joyful conditions in which to inspire our girls to develop their scientific understanding and passions. No doubt the facilities, including a bespoke Sixth Form laboratory, encouraged five students to successfully gain places on Engineering courses at university in the summer of 2016.
Our school prides itself on a balanced curriculum in which every subject has an equal value. This year the Headmistress has been publicly defending the place of Art History as an A Level subject. As we have invested in our science provision, so too we have proudly invested in our fine art facilities.
No. 47, our dedicated Art and Photography Centre on Bateman Street, is fully equipped with four art teaching spaces, a Sixth Form study space, a dark room and a photography studio. Next door, the Learning Resources Centre was redeveloped with students’ learning in mind, with reference rooms, areas for private study, a conference area equipped with a Smart TV providing space for talks from external speakers, tables for group activities, and laptops and iPads for student use.
Drama is a popular part of the curriculum and plays a vital role in helping students to build confidence, develop interpersonal skills and express themselves creatively. Our girls particularly love working in our purple and silver Drama studio, and have use of our full-size stage for school productions, curricula performances, and Speech and Drama examinations. Our Music facilities, which boast magnificent views across the Botanic Gardens, include a large teaching room with keyboard work stations, an additional room for GCSE and A Level Music studies and individual rooms for peripatetic music teaching.
The Chapel provides an essential space for members of the community – from staff and students to parents, governors, and guests of the school – to spend time in quiet personal reflection, or to participate in one of the school’s regular Masses, prayer groups, or annual events such as the Year 7 Christingle service.