FAQs for international families and agents

FAQs for our international students and boarders.

We are here to provide as much information as you need to ensure that St Mary's School is the right choice for your daughter. If you are able to visit us in person, we warmly invite you to take a personal tour of our boarding facilities at Mary Ward House and our schools.

Hopefully the FAQs below will answer some of your questions. Please do contact our admissions team, for further information and support.

Visit our Admissions FAQs for further information

Boarding FAQs

How easy is it to travel to Mary Ward House?

St Mary's School and our boarding houses are within a 5 minute walk of Cambridge Rail Station.

We can arrange airport transfers for Boarders arriving at any London airport. All taxi drivers are DBS checked.

  • London Stansted - 35 minutes by car
  • London Luton - 55 minutes by car
  • London Heathrow - 1 hour 20 minutes by car

Do boarders have individual rooms?

Younger girls share with other girls in bright and spacious dormitories. Students in Years 11 - 13 (age 16 to 18) have their own single room.

Living at Mary Ward House

Do you have Exeat weekends?

We do not have Exeat weekends. However, boarders can arrange to visit their guardians or go home at the weekend, providing written permission is given to the Housemistress at least 48 hours in advance.

When should I apply for boarding?

We have space for c.90 students, therefore we advise applying for a boarding space at least 12 months before the intended starting date.

What mix of different nationalities make up the St Mary's community?

This varies slightly each year, but typically we welcome girls from all around the world from c.20 different countries. This brings a unique and special aspect to our education, as girls benefit from gaining a broad understanding of different cultures and life experiences, as part of everyday school life.

This graph shows nationalities across both our day and boarding pupils, throughout our school community (Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form).

Graph showing nationality split across St Mary's School, Cambridge

International students

Do I need a guardian?

Students who do not have a family member in the UK must have a guardian living in the UK. A guardian must be appointed before we can accept a student to the school.

Often education agents include the arrangement of guardians in their service to families; alternatively families can apply directly to AEGIS. It is the responsibility of each family and not the school, to ensure that the guardian is in place.


Do you offer Visa sponsorship?

We are licensed as a Child Student (formerly Tier 4) Sponsor by UK Visas and Immigrations (UKVI) and offer child student visa sponsorship for full boarders.

Please contact UKVI to help you choose the correct route.


How do international students apply for a place?

We welcome girls with a broad range of academic abilities, who are enthusiastic and have a desire to engage in learning.

We accept direct applications to our admissions team or applications made via an educational agent. You can apply to join all year groups (except Year 11 and 13).

Places for international students are offered on the basis of an individual interview (in person or via Skype/Zoom), alongside a selection of age-appropriate activities and assessments, plus a reference from a current school.

How to apply

When to apply?

International applicants can apply all year round. We advise applying at least 12 months before the intended starting date.

What is the assessment process for overseas applicants?

We want to understand the unique potential of each girl. Our international 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.

Assessments for international students

What level of English do applicants need?

We make sure that students improve their English language skills over the course of their studies at St Mary's to become clear, fluent and confident communicators. However, on arrival, your daughter's English needs to be good enough to enable her to access the curriculum and to work collaboratively with teachers and other students, and to ensure success in public examinations.

Applicants are expected to have reached the following levels of English before applying to a particular year group. We will assess this as part of the application process - no formal qualifications are necessary.

  • Joining Senior School in Year 7: approx overall CEFR level of B1.1
  • Joining Senior School in Year 8: approx overall CEFR level of B1.1
  • Joining Senior School in Year 9: approx overall CEFR level of B1.2
  • Joining Senior School in Year 10: approx overall CEFR level of B2.1
  • Joining Sixth Form in Year 12: approx overall CEFR level of B2.2

Do you offer English tuition?

Yes, our excellent English tuition is included in our school fees, at no additional cost. Find out more about our exceptional English as an Additional provision.

Can we apply to a different year group?

We sometimes place students in a year below their peers, to more appropriately reflect their ability in, and comprehension of, the English language. If your daughter requires a visa then she must be under 18 on the first day of the year in which she begins her studies with us.