Academic Excellence & Scholarship

Magnolian 2021/22 | Image: Masha I. Year 13

HPL in focus

Academic news

Academic Scholars

Awarded a Scholarship in recognition of their academic abilities, students from each Year undertake a range of additional activities, supported by teaching staff, with a focus on expanding and extending their achievements.

Balloon DebateAcademic Scholars are selected via a rigorous application process consisting of a written exam and an interview. Once selected, Academic Scholars begin working on an online portfolio which helps them take advantage of the many opportunities available at St Mary’s. Every term, Scholars are expected to; attend a new school club, read a non-fiction book for pleasure, compete in one competition within or out of school, and take part in a leadership venture in school. Within these parameters, students have accomplished fantastic things this year, ranging from writing competitions to leading on the ‘My History, My Story’ project as well as leading assemblies for Black History Month.

Our Scholars have also played a key part in Student Voice initiatives by taking up leadership opportunities on our Eco, International, Wellbeing and Inclusivity Committees. Sixth Form Scholars have taken an active role in guiding and inspiring younger pupils by running activities such as debating and leading discussions in the myriad Student Voice forums around the school.


During the Summer Term, our Academic Scholars prepared for our annual Balloon Debate, coached by our Sixth Form debate team. Working in pairs, Scholars were allocated a famous historical figure whom they had to ‘save’ from imminent death by providing persuasive rationales for their survival. They undertook weeks of preparation in terms of research, aided by their coaches, before competing in the Debate in June.

Mary Ward Scholars

Mary Ward Scholars, of whom there about 20 from across all Year groups, support spiritual and community life in school and take a lead in our programme of fundraising. This year we have been able to meet together again, after the disruption of the pandemic, to resume activities that used to be familiar to the community. This has included organising the resumption of our Food Bank collection in Years 7 to 9, and an enthusiastic re-opened of our Fairtrade Stall (selling the 'best chocolate in the world')!

Our Mary Ward Scholars also brought cheer, and a certain amount of fancy dress, to the ‘Grand Opening’ of our new Chaplaincy room and progressed other charitable initiatives, such as fundraising for Educaid Sierra Leone. They have also become familiar voices in leading and writing assemblies and school liturgies online, which we are now able to enjoy in-person once again.

St Mary's Scholarships will evolve in coming years, as we move toward a system which values High Performance Learning, as well as Community Scholars who engage in different aspects of Student Voice. This new range of Scholars will be directly linked to part of Student Voice so that they can focus on their chosen areas of interest.

Olympia Severis, English Teacher, Leadership Co-ordinator and Oracy Ambassador

Academic highlights

GCSE Art Exhibition 2022


A Level Art Exhibition 2022


A Level Photography Exhibition 2022


Student Voice

Students changing and enhancing school life

Image: Olivia B. Year 13









“HPL encourages students to be curious about the world, and we know when students are curious, they learn at a deeper and more sophisticated level.”

Dr Andrew Flint

“At the Junior School this year, we have had a strong focus on the HPL Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs) of Agility, Empathy and Working Hard.”

Sarah Cliffe