Life beyond school

For many young adults the question of which route to pursue after Sixth Form is the biggest decision they have had to make.

At St Mary’s School, Cambridge, our Head of Careers, tutor team and visiting speakers work with the students, and their parents, to ensure they have the necessary information to make a carefully informed decision that is right for them.

Higher and Further Education preparation

When girls arrive in the Sixth Form they enter a calm yet purposeful environment in which they can prepare for Higher Education at university; Further Education, vocational degrees and apprenticeships; employment; and adult life more generally. The Careers department offers excellent opportunities with prestigious universities and specialist Further Education establishments; local and national organisations that offer highly regarded apprenticeship programmes in a range of industries; and local businesses which invite students to take up work experience during the Sixth Form.

Through our programme of visiting speakers, Sixth Form students can engage with the top minds involved in cutting edge research, developments and methodologies. This provides excellent enrichment for wider study as well as awareness of the range of employment opportunities that are continually emerging. We have strong links with many of the academic faculties of the University of Cambridge, through which we have access to world class facilities, lectures, and academics – many of whom are current parents, or governors or former students.

Students also receive extensive individual help and support in applying for a place in their chosen venture beyond Sixth Form: whether in the completion of a UCAS form; preparation for Oxbridge interviews or specialist assessments for courses such as Law and Medicine; or guidance in applying for a Foundation Degree or to join specialist designated colleges.

Work experience is a valuable way for young people to prepare themselves for work, and to enable them to make informed decisions about future opportunities. By honing the real world skills that employers value so much, such as working as part of a team, becoming an effective communicator and gaining a valuable understanding of working culture, work experience significantly enhances not only the girls’ CVs, but their potential too.

Lower Sixth students are invited to take up at least one placement, organised by the school, in an area of potential interest; some students also organise their own placements in addition to this.


Some of the more popular placements in recent years have been within the following sectors:

  • Accountancy and actuarial work
  • Archiving and curating
  • Finance and banking
  • Computer science and mathematical educational research
  • Law
  • Marketing, public relations and human resources
  • Medicine, and medically related careers such as therapies, nursing and healthcare sciences
  • Charity work
  • Surveying and architecture
  • Psychology research and employment recruitment
  • Publishing
  • Media, including Sky TV, BBC, local radio and newspapers

The Careers department is frequently told by placement providers how impressive our students’ focus, demeanour and can-do attitudes are – and of course we are unsurprised! Students sometimes leave with an open invitation to return, with the offer of work, or having made long-lasting contributions to the businesses’ products or services.

Our Careers department has built up excellent contacts in and around Cambridge, the East of England and London, keeping abreast of the current employment scene and individual career developments. Our students are able to attend a variety of career insight days – hosted at school and further afield and they also benefit from proximity to the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University; there is much to take advantage of locally for the enterprising and self-motivated Sixth Form student.

University Women's Club

Founded in 1886 to promote Higher Education for women, the University Women’s Club today provides members with a friendly, safe and secure London home. The Club also offers social events, some of these organised by the Young Members’ Group; opportunities for sharing music, literature and science; and for networking. 

St Mary's Sixth Form, Cambridge students may join The Club on very favourable terms. For a lump sum payment of £382.00 they become members until the January following their 25th birthday. They will then be invited to continue membership without paying the normal entrance fee. The Club is open 24 hours a day and has reciprocal arrangements with Clubs in the UK and worldwide, many of whom offer accommodation.

Our students going on university may join in their final year at secondary school or up to 18 months after completion of their Sixth Form studies. All applications must be signed by Ms Avery, the Headmistress. For further information please email The Club.