Meet the girls

‘Once a St Mary’s girl, always a St Mary’s girl’ – read for yourself why our students are so proud to be part of the St Mary’s School, Cambridge tradition.

I joined in Reception when I was nervous and having to ask the ‘huge’ Year 6 girls where to go. I enjoyed my time in the Junior School a lot though because it was a small school and felt like a family.

In the Senior School I became much more confident, less scared of people, and ready to experience different situations, especially by the time I started the Sixth Form – for instance I’ve now tried rowing.

The small classes and personalised attention really help with studies, and I really love coming here – I know all the teachers well, and I’ve been friends with some girls since Reception! I always wanted to do Science – because of my parents’ jobs – but coming to this school, with such inspiring teachers, has cemented this desire. I feel like I might have been put off Science if I hadn’t attended a girls’ school; if you were the only girl in a class of 10 boys at A Level, it could be really off-putting – a very different experience to what I’ve had here so far. Having had this safe space at school while I’m still learning, ahead of joining what is likely to be a male-dominated working environment, will have given me the resilience and the head start I need – and I’m not sure whether girls in co-ed schools would have the same opportunity.

My A Levels are Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Economics, which I hope will all provide me with a great combination to go on to study Chemical Engineering – I want to help businesses to be more energy efficient, and be able to find better ways to do things!

Outside of lessons I play the violin in string quartet and senior orchestra. I am on the environmental committee – next year I have ambitious plans to run a teachers’ University Challenge programme, so that we can try and take donations to watch the ‘shows’ to raise money for Greenpeace. I also need to think of some interesting ways to start raising awareness of environmental causes and concerns.

I’ve enjoyed Sixth Form most of all; I’ve been able to focus on my favourite subjects, in small classes where I can ask lots of questions. Also having the Catholic environment is important to me – having it as a part of my daily life is important – but everybody, regardless of belief, does feel completely welcome too.

Beyoncé is one of my role models – she uses her fame and position to promote important causes, e.g. gender and race equality. She recognises her influential position as a tool to change people’s thinking.

I also really admire Ms Avery’s work ethic! She does so much more than I think Heads are required to, and is a big supporter of feminism. I am very passionate about gender equality – some people still don’t believe in there being female professors, especially in Science and Maths – so there are still big concerns in these areas and it’s important to me because I don’t want to be put off by that in my career, I just want to do what I want to do!

Ms Avery has also improved the school hugely – e.g. equipment and classrooms have been updated, the new sports developments are underway, the Sixth Form centre was re-designed with Sixth Form students in mind, the Junior School is so lovely now, and the dedicated Art Centre is still quite new – we definitely didn’t have as many facilities when Ms Avery first joined the school.

Mary Ward, finally, is genuinely a role model. It was amazing what she did, especially 400 years ago when the situation was very different – and she didn’t let anything stop her!

I joined the school in Reception and I remember from Year 3 we used to come to the Senior School for lunch and playtimes with all the bigger girls. I now help out with Year 3 and Year 4 pupils on Wednesday afternoons and have decided I would like to be a Junior School teacher once I’ve finished my education (I want to go to university to read Geography first).

In the Junior School I enjoyed the freedom to be my own person – and it really is the starting point for developing and becoming the girls we are today. There’s no judgement. You are really free to express yourself – to sing if you want to, to turn up at the Junior School disco in a sparkly dress if you want to, and so on – because the school is genuinely interested in more than just our academic abilities!

The atmosphere is so friendly; the teachers will all look out for you even if they don’t teach you. In a lot of schools people seem to be friends only within their own year group – but here people are friends with older and younger girls and everyone seems to help each other out. For instance, my Geography and Religious Studies teachers spotted that I was taking a long time to complete work, and suggested I might benefit from having extra time (e.g. in examinations). Through Miss Earley’s team (SENDA department) I am now given extra time, which gives me more confidence and the chance to think about the question properly and techniques to answer the questions.

I had been considering taking A Levels elsewhere, as we were encouraged to think about our options, but I had looked around and I really didn’t like any of the alternatives! Our Sixth Form really tailors everything to each girl’s specific needs. I also realised, when my sister was applying to university and there were so many differences between the ‘same’ courses at different universities, how important it is to have teachers who know you well and who are willing to give you personal attention and advice about which route to take after school. The teachers here already know what I’m like and what my needs are, and how I learn best, etc. They know me! This is so important, especially when the difficulty level increases so rapidly from GCSE to A Level study, not to have to go through getting to know new teachers and class-mates at the same time as making these decisions.

I am taking Theology, Classical Civilisation and Geography at A Level. Ever since GCSE I have loved Geography. It can be incorporated into everyday life – human, physical, political, etc. Definitely, since doing A Level, I have realised the power of nature – we will never be able to stop it! Global warming is definitely something we all need to be aware of. One topic, ‘health’, looks at the distribution of different diseases and why companies spend more time and money researching causes and cures for cancer then malaria, and why there is both famine and an obesity crisis in the 21st century.

In the Sixth Form we get treated like adults. At first having more responsibility was a little daunting, but as we progressed I was so glad to become more independent – and it’s good preparation for university. We do get to speak with the Head of Careers, Head of Work Experience and tutors very regularly and they introduce us to important tools to be aware of – for instance the unifrog app where we can compare university courses and apprenticeships.

I’m not a mathematician or a scientist but, for girls who are, going to an all-girls school enables you to flourish more. You don’t have to worry about whether you might have chosen to do a boys’ subject – all your classmates will be girls whichever subject you choose. I really like our smaller classes; I think you feel more able to join in. I wouldn’t feel like I wanted to participate as much in larger classes than we have here – there would be much more fear of judgement.

Я думаю, что школа Cвятой Mарии это великолепная школа для международных студентов, потому что она имеет два пансиона для девочек возраста 11-18, и очень скоро будет новый пансион на улице Хиллз Роуд. Школа Cвятой Mарии также предоставляет удивительные возможности для посещения зарубежных стран и знакомства с новыми людьми. Например, в 9 классе, мы съездили в Нидерланды по обмену учащихся, в 10 классе мы поехали в Саламанку, Испания чтобы улучшить наш испанский и в следующем году мы планируем поехать в Берлин. Для международных студентов проводят школьные собственные экскурсии по Англии. Самая интересная поездка — это путешествие в мир Гарри Потера.

Уроки очень интересные и студенты могут выбрать какие языки они хотят учить помимо Английского языка. Нас часто посещают знаменитости во время уроков или собраний, чтобы обсудить с нами темы, в которые они специализируются. В этом году мы прослушали выступления высокого посла Ямайки, друга Нельсона Манделы и Олимпийской бронзовой призерки в гребле, Сара Винклес.

Последнее, но не менее важное, школа Cвятoй Mарии делает много работы по сбору средств и благотворительности как целое сообщество. Каждый год у нас бывают мероприятие под названием веселый забег, где у нас есть спонсор листы, которые наши друзья и семья могут заполнить, затем, нам даны темы, согласно которой мы должны сделать или купить костюм. В день веселого забега мы ходим или бегаем пять кругов вокруг поля со всеми нашими друзьями в наших костюмах и отлично проводим время.

I think St Mary’s School, Cambridge is a great school for international students because there is boarding for girls aged 11-18, and very soon this will be in the new boarding house on Brooklands Avenue. St Mary's School, Cambridge also gives its students amazing opportunities to visit foreign countries and meet new people. For example in Year 9 we went to the Netherlands on the Holland exchange, in Year 10 we went to Salamanca, Spain to improve our Spanish and next year we are planning to go to Berlin for our GCSE German depth study. Boarders also have their own trips around England. The most exciting trip for boarders every year is the Harry Potter World trip.

The lessons are very interesting and students get to choose what languages they want to learn in addition to English. We often have speakers attending lessons or assemblies to discuss with us subjects that they are very passionate about. This year we heard speeches from the High Ambassador of Jamaica, a friend of Nelson Mandela, and the British Olympian, rower Sarah Winckless.

Last but not least, the school does a lot of fundraising and charity work as a whole community. Every year we have an event called Fun Run where we are given a theme according to which we have to make or buy a costume, and we have sponsor sheets that our friends and family can fill out. On the day of the Fun Run we walk or run five laps around Coe Fen with all our friends in our costumes, having a great time.