Our approach to learning

Class sizes are small, around 20 students per class, although many are smaller due to student subject choices at GCSE or A Level, Health & Safety requirements in practical subjects, and setting arrangements.

Fostering a love of learning

We view all of our girls’ individual gifts and talents as precious and we take an holistic approach that is designed to unlock each girl’s potential. We invest in each student through our nurturing and effective pedagogic and pastoral environments, sports opportunities, and a broad range of extra-curricular clubs, workshops, visits and residential trips, and enrichment activities including external speakers and competitions.

We continue to enhance our girls’ learning experiences by ensuring our educational approach caters to students’ preferred learning styles, enabling their intellectual curiosity to flourish. The girls use iPads loaded with a range of pre-approved and engaging apps, and are provided with the St Mary’s Online (SMO) platform, which is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection. This technology assists teachers in bringing subjects to life, appeals to our girls’ interest in digital technology, and encourages collaborative learning.

Learning support

St Mary’s School, Cambridge is an inclusive school which focuses on supporting the individual, whatever her strengths and areas for development. Girls may be supported in-class by dedicated Learning Support Assistants or withdrawn from lessons in order to be provided individual or small group support. In all cases, the girls’ progress will be monitored carefully and communicated clearly and regularly to their parents. The Learning Support department also offers guidance to our subject teachers and tutors enabling them to better meet a range of individual needs within mainstream lessons.


Homework provides an opportunity to reinforce and consolidate the day’s learning as well as playing an important role in students being intellectually challenged by providing an opportunity for girls to develop a deeper subject understanding and to practise the skills of unsupported study and independent learning. Our teachers set homework that is engaging and enjoyable; they are available before and after school, or at morning break and lunchtime, to answer queries and support the girls in their work.

Timetables for homework are provided in advance so that students and their parents are aware of how much time should be set aside for study beyond the school day. The schedule provides assurance that the girls are not overloaded with work; they are able to effectively manage the workload simply by adhering to the schedule since they are encouraged to work only for as long as specified.