Our ethos, history and foundation

Ours is a Christian school of Catholic heritage in which girls of all faiths and secular backgrounds are warmly welcomed and where the precious uniqueness of each individual is valued.

Our many years’ experience of tailoring academic, pastoral, creative and athletic provision to girls’ needs has made us adept at unlocking the potential of every girl.

We help our girls to start making sense of the world around them, whether they join us in Reception or Year 7, or at other intervening years, so that they can find their place in it.

We have a heartfelt desire to support learners of all types to achieve the very best of their abilities. From our ‘sport for all’ mantra, which ensures girls experience a wide variety of sports in order to discover those about which they are passionate, to our pastoral provision which is grounded in love, respect and trust, our community confidently, joyfully and ambitiously nurtures all aspects of a girl’s development.

Our school’s remarkable foundress, Mary Ward (1585 - 1645), dedicated her life to providing educational opportunities for girls and attempting to open up new opportunities for women who had a religious vocation within the Catholic church. She is a wonderful role model to our school community of a woman of integrity, discernment, courage and love. Many of her 17th century schools have survived in continental Europe and our school in Cambridge was established in 1898 as part of the late Victorian expansion of this city. We are part of a global network of almost 200 Mary Ward schools.

To reflect a deepening of our core purpose and values, in consultation with staff and students, we have refined our school aims which are lived out in our daily school lives:

  • To deliver an excellent, challenging and innovative academic education which fosters an independent love of learning, intellectual curiosity and knowledge line
  • To provide an aspirational all-round education promoting creativity, enterprise, collaboration; building life-long skills line
  • To encourage in each girl a sense of her own worth, talents and aptitudes so that she will realise these with courage and resilience line
  • To provide a strong moral and spiritual framework underpinned by the core values of integrity, justice and respect for human dignity line
  • To create an environment of love, hope and joy based on Gospel values in which individuals are cherished and genuine relationships are nurtured line
  • To develop confident global citizens by instilling a strong sense of responsibility towards others and through charity and service to the local and world-wide community line
  • To walk alongside our parents, valuing their role as the first educator of the child line

St Mary’s School, Cambridge recognises its obligations under section 78 of the Education Act (2002) which requires schools, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students at the school and of society as well as to actively promote fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Expectations in all these areas are adjusted for the age and ability of students, including those with special needs. All school policies are available here.