Mission, Vision & Values

Magnolian 2022/23 | Image: Yao X. Year 11

Vision, Mission & Values

Vision, mission and values statements are important in terms of attempting to crystalise the essence of an organisation in order to explain its purpose to others. In a living community such as a school it is important to review these in order that they continue to reflect those who form part of it...

From our Headmistress

Educational establishments have a particular set of parameters around which to work which include the wide range of interested constituents including pupils of different ages at different stages of their education, as well as alumnae, again at different life stages, the parents of both current and former students, teachers and administrative and support staff and again those colleagues who have gone before as well as governors including members of the CJ order who established the school almost 125 years ago.

Schools base their preparatory work for external inspections around their vision, mission and values and having passed the latest set of independent reviews with flying colours last summer term, we decided that we would consult various groups in the autumn and spiring terms this year to review and refine as necessary what we wished to say in order to be ready to launch the refreshed messages and to generate a more concise expression of these aspects to sit above more detailed information about aims, approaches and processes for our 125 anniversary year.

There were multiple opportunities for staff and students both in person and via email to comment and we valued input from our Mary Ward Scholars, Senior Prefect team and our Student Council in particular. It was then sent to the Governance Committee of our Governing Board. The process was very useful and essentially we ended up being both original and radical – going back to our origins and our roots in the true sense of these words. It was reassuring and refreshing to know that the bedrock and foundation of the school is solid.

As we explained to the students, we hope that, in time, our Vision, Mission and Values can become memorable and significant to all parts of the school community, and that any and all plans, projects, policies and activities should be filtered through these statements, which should be a concise expression of what we think the individual and communal experience and outcome of being part of the St Mary’s community should look like. The students understood that this is not only about where we are confident in what we are achieving already, but about what we hope we should be – idealistic but not unrealistic.


By God's grace, women in time will do much (Mary Ward 1585-1645)

The rationale here was clear: As the founder of the group of schools to which we belong, our vision should be Mary Ward's - the challenge for women is not over, and whilst there are now more opportunities for 'women to do much' there are still considerable barriers and so our work continues.


As a Christian school, underpinned by our Catholic heritage and the life of Mary Ward, our mission is to develop curious, creative and compassionate young women with the aspiration, confidence and integrity to shape a better world for the common good.

This sentence encapsulates all that we aim to achieve in our education of girls. It uses language currently used in many places on our website and is both all-encompassing but not too complicated or too long a sentence!

  • Freedom
  • Joy
  • Justice
  • Love
  • Truth

These are based on the core CJ/IBVM values and are used by our cousin Loreto schools in the UK, Australia and across the world. As the two branches of the religious order look to unite, we felt it was important to show solidarity with our sister schools and be radical in the sense of looking to put a marker down which noted our fundamental alignment. We have updated the original values of ‘Verity’ and ‘Felicity’ as ‘Truth’ and ‘Joy’ to reflect more modern language usage.

How we live these values in school:
  • H - Hard work - we show perseverance and sustain focus.
  • E - Empathy - we are kind, joyful, generous, value friendship and celebrate diversity.
  • A - Adaptability - we adjust to difficult situations, are open minded, discerning and take calculated risks.
  • R - Responsibility - we act justly and strive to uphold truth and lead by example.
  • T - Thoughtfulness - we are creative, reflective, attentive, show gratitude, hear others and disagree well.

Perhaps most importantly is what these sentiments mean in practice and we were keen to capture this. TheHEART acronym has recently been introduced to define the characteristics that we value in our pupils. House points are now awarded based on these characteristics.

In exploring some of the highlights from the 2022-23 academic year in this edition of Magnolian, I hope you enjoy seeing how these values come to life, through the achievements of our school community.

Charlotte Avery, Headmistress, July 2023

Reflecting our values

Explore Magnolian 2022/23

“Glass ceilings are shattering everywhere, and fresh ideas are sweeping away the old, bringing fresh thinking to our problems. This new world needs women leaders and at St Mary’s we are proud that our girls will be taking their rightful places in boardrooms, at cabinet tables and in operating theatres, laboratories and workplaces in the decades to come.”

Robin Griffiths, Head of Sixth Form

“We are proud that our habits as a school community can encapsulate so much of who we are and what we wish for our students as they turn themselves to the task of shaping their world for the common good. It is apt that we have as our guide the very symbol of both human and divine love.”

Kate Latham, Assistant Head: Enrichment and Partnerships