Admissions FAQs

Admissions FAQs

If we haven’t covered your questions below, please contact our admissions team and we will happily answer them in person.

Additional FAQs for international students and boarders

Information seeking

Can we visit the school?

Yes, we warmly invite you to attend an open event.

Alternatively you can arrange a personal visit to tour the school and meet with relevant members of staff. Please contact the admissions team to arrange a convenient date and time.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes. Scholarships are offered at Year 7, Year 9 and Lower Sixth entry and are worth up to 20% of the day school fees. The following scholarships are available: Academic, Academic STEM* (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Art, Dance, Design and Enterprise, Drama, Mary Ward, Music, Sport, Textiles.

More about scholarships

* Year 9 and Lower Sixth entry only

How selective is St Mary's?

We welcome girls with a broad range of academic abilities, typically in the top 60% of the national ability range. We have students ranging from just below average to among the best in the country.

This balance reflects our belief that each child has unique talents and potential to offer. Each year, our students achieve, on average, 8 or more A*/A grades at GCSE.

Our latest academic results

How big are your class sizes?

All girls benefit from learning in small class sizes, in which teachers can focus on providing a learning experience suited to their individual needs.

Typically, class sizes are as follows:

  • Junior School: up to 21 pupils
  • Senior School, Years 7 to 9: up to 24 students
  • Senior School GCSEs classes: up to 10-20 students
  • Sixth Form A Level classes: no more than 14 students

Tutor groups

In Senior School girls are divided into tutor groups, and will usually see their form tutor twice a day. They are encouraged to see their tutor as the first point of call for support, if they have any issues to discuss.

The tutor will also meet regularly with each student to monitor their progress. Girls usually stay with the same tutor in Year 10 and 11, and through to Sixth Form to develop this vital relationship.

Do you have to be a practising Catholic to join St Mary's?

We welcome girls of all faiths and secular backgrounds into our diverse school community.

As a Mary Ward School, we emphasise timeless values, such as justice, friendship, diversity and hard work, which are accessible to all. Students explore these values in assemblies, form prayers, termly religious services or annual Days of Reflection.

In Junior School and Senior School, all students attend Religious Education lessons and Religious Studies is a core subject at GCSE. In Sixth Form, all students undertake a Philosophy, Ethics and Religion course in Year 12. Teaching is academic, rather than confessional, and a variety of Christian viewpoints are examined alongside other world faiths – principally Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.

Application process

How should we prepare for the entrance assessments?

We want to understand the unique potential of each girl. Our application process and entrance tests are chosen to evaluate current knowledge, understanding and skills.

We test age-appropriate learning and therefore no special preparation is needed and our process is designed to put applicants at ease.

  • Junior School applicants are assessed throughout the year.
  • Senior School applicants attend an assessment day at the end of January.
  • Sixth Form applicants do not complete a written assessment, if they are currently studying GCSEs/IGCSEs, an offer is made on predicted grades. We do hold an assessment day for applicants.

Assessments for UK applicants

Assessments for international applicants

Do you make provision for Special Educational Needs in the assessment?

Yes, we will make any adjustments specified by your most recent Educational Psychologist's report. You will be asked to provide a copy of this report when you register for entry.

If you have any worries or questions regarding this, please do contact our admissions team for further support.

What are CEM Select tests used for applicants to Years 7, 8 and 9?

The CEM Select is an online test designed for entry to Independent Schools. It evaluates key skills including vocabulary, mathematics and non-verbal reasoning. We use this online test for applicants wishing to join our Senior School in Years 7-9, as part of a broader application process.

More about CEM

Can we join from a local Prep school (for age 4-13) in Year 7?

Most girls who attend local Prep schools for students aged 4-13, join us in Year 9, however we accept applications to all year groups.

We create an extra Year 9 class to ensure that we can accommodate girls from these Prep schools and offer a pre-test. This means that, if you wish, we will assess your daughter for entry while she is in Year 6 and make the offer for her to join Year 9. Alternatively, we can assess your daughter for entry while she is in Year 8, in the normal way.

Further details on assessment

When will we hear if we have been offered a place?

We aim to ensure we make our decision as soon as possible, ideally by the end of the week following your entrance assessment. If you have applied for a scholarship, we aim to inform you if you have been successful at the same time.

When is the deadline for accepting a place?

  • Junior School: This is specified on each individual offer letter.
  • Senior School: The first Monday in March.
  • Sixth Form: First week in January.

School life

What is the induction process for new students?

Change is inevitable in life, and how it happens can have a great impact on how one feels. We strive to ensure that every student feels welcome.

It is essential to have a smooth transfer into school for the first time or as a joiner from another school. Early on we ensure there is two-way communication between school and parents.

After a place is offered, a taster day can be arranged at your request. This can be for a morning or for a full day, and gives the student the opportunity to meet classmates and get the flavour of a typical school day. The school is very happy to provide several taster days.

After starting school, a classmate will be paired up with a new student. We also have a strong House system and each new student is assigned to one of the four Houses. Within the House the girls are arranged into families, vertically grouped and therefore consisting of a range of ages.

We hold a series of welcome events and information evenings for new parents in the first half term, where parents receive information about the curriculum and have an opportunity to meet other parents. Through these means new students integrate quickly and happily.

How long is the school day?

Do students wear school uniform?

Yes, students from Reception to Year 11 wear a school uniform. Students in Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth do not wear a uniform but, instead, wear smart-casual clothes.

Boarders purchase the correct school uniform as part of their induction weekend at the start of the academic year. Uniform can be purchased online from John Lewis website. It is no longer possible to try uniform on in school so please ensure that you choose uniform sizes carefully.

More about uniform and equipment

Does St Mary's have its own school transport?

Further information on transport to school and how to find us.

Are school meals compulsory?

We provide school lunches to students at an additional cost.

A varied menu is offered daily including fresh fruits and salad, and food is prepared on the premises to a high standard. For Junior School pupils these lunches are compulsory but Senior School and Sixth Form students can choose whether or not to have school lunches.

Students in Senior School or Sixth Form who wish to discontinue their school lunch arrangement are required to give notice of half a term.

Further information on fees

Are instrumental music and drama lessons available and is there an additional charge for these?

Students throughout the school are encouraged to take advantage of the provision of tuition in a wide range of orchestral and other instruments by peripatetic Music staff, and to benefit from our specialist London Association of Music and Drama (LAMDA) teaching for Speech and Drama lessons.

There is an additional charge for these sessions. A term’s notice is required for cessation of Music and Drama lessons.

What trips and enrichment activities do you offer?

From Junior School through to Sixth Form, a wide range of visits and trips are part of the St Mary's experience.

At all stages our connections across Cambridge open up inspiring learning opportunities that enrich learning - from museums and theatre trips, to unique work experience opportunities. We offer academic trips, such as Geography field trips, which directly connect with learning in the classroom. Girls also benefit from social trips - from glamping in Junior School, through to activity challenges in Senior School.

As horizons expand, students can opt to travel overseas, with trips to Italy, Greece, Iceland and more, which open up new experiences and create memories that last a life time.

Fees

Our fees

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes. The deposit is to be paid on acceptance of a place and is refundable once a student leaves the school.

Further information on fees