Pastoral Care, Sport, Health & Wellbeing

Magnolian 2021/22 | Image: Eloise S. Year 11

Pastoral care and wellbeing

The mental health and wellbeing of our students sit at the centre of all we do at St Mary's, and this year - in light of the impact of the pandemic on young people - these themes have continued to be a key area of focus, energy and innovation.


This year we have introduced new sports, achieved competition successes, and celebrated the completion of our Long Road Sports Grounds in a formal ceremony, in which England Netball star Francesca Williams cut the ribbon.

Sport highlights

Gymnastics display


Dance showcase


Expedition in progressDuke of Edinburgh Award

After a long period of not being able to get outdoors we were delighted to begin residential Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in July of 2021 and we all felt so grateful to be able to enjoy trips again.

We went to the Yorkshire Dales, staying at Hawes Youth Hostel who looked after us very well, then Askrigg campsite and Aysgarth Falls campsite. Year 12 also had a night at Streethead Newbiggin, finishing at Bolton Castle, a very beautiful medieval castle.

The girls were either practising navigation (along a route planned by themselves), camp craft and showing they could work successfully as a team, or they were being assessed on these things in the case of Year 11. They had to carry all their own food and water, clothes and shelter. Students from Year 10 and 11 walked about 50-60km and Year 12 participants walked about 70-80km over steep and uneven terrain in wild country (including their acclimatisation walks).


Highlights included seeing how happy everybody was to be outdoors, spending time with friends again! The staff were particularly impressed with the independence and determination of the Year 11 2021 group, who all successfully achieved their Silver expedition section.

In October 2021 the new Year 11 and Year 13 successfully completed their Silver and Gold assessed expeditions. Particular congratulations go to Eloise Q. who was the first St Mary’s student to achieve her Gold award following the outbreak of the pandemic.

In March 2022 temperatures dropped as 52 Year 10 and 18 Year 12 students headed off for their practice expedition. Year 10 had an acclimatisation day followed by three days walking and two nights camping. Year 12’s expedition involved an acclimatisation day followed by four days walking between 16-19 km per day, carrying everything they needed to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Year 10 headed east from Hawes towards the very picturesque Castle Bolton as their end point again. Year 12 had a more zig-zag route, but ultimately ended up heading south from Newbiggin and finished their expedition in the pretty market town of Grassington, where All Creatures Great and Small had been filming the week before. The Gold expedition had two nights in camping barns where students prepared their own meals and had a chance to relax after training walks, then two days camping.

Despite the very challenging cold and occasionally snowy weather conditions, all students were able to consolidate and improve their navigation skills and showed they could cope well with adversity.

So far, those in Year 12 who have been with us since Bronze have experienced the full range of British weather on D of E - windy rainy weather on their Bronze practice, an autumn downpour on their Silver practice, thunder and hot conditions on their Silver assessed and now snow!

Camping in the snow

Fingers crossed that we have more temperate conditions on the assessed expedition this July where Year 10 will be in Peak District and Year 12 will be tackling the Lake District, but if not, they have shown that they can meet the challenges posed by the British weather and overcome it well.

We are very fortunate at St Mary's to be able to run our Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in-house, thanks to the support of a wonderful team of current and former staff and friends of the school.

Altogether over the last 12 months, staff involved in expeditions have included: Mrs Shercliff who leads the Silver level, Miss Dutton who leads the Bronze award, Mr Mallabone, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Foster, Dr Cardwell, Mrs Anderson, Miss Lees, Mrs Leighton-Scott, Mr Edwards, Miss Robley, Mr Griffiths, Mr Guppy, Mrs Foster, Mrs Irvine, Miss Kinnair, and Mrs Hutchinson, former staff including Miss Spore, Mr Atkinson, Mrs Brown and Miss Dickson, as well as former parents with mountain leader qualifications Dr Shercliff and Mrs Grant, and Mr Pollock, a longstanding supporter of Duke of Edinburgh at St Mary’s.

Between July 2021 and April 2022 96 students achieved a Duke of Edinburgh award and we hope by September 2022 that we may have caught up with covid and doubled that number.

Janine Norman, D of E Lead

Student Voice

Students changing and enhancing school life

Image: Olivia B. Year 13


“We hope to provide positive and proactive strategies that students can employ to protect their wellbeing now, in the next steps of their education, and ultimately into their adult lives.”

Dr Andrew Flint & Katie Phillips

“Despite the very challenging cold and occasionally snowy weather conditions, all students were able to consolidate and improve their navigation skills and showed they could cope well with adversity.”

Janine Norman, D of E Lead