Scholarships at St Mary's
This year has been a very exciting for the scholarship programme at St Mary’s with the creation of two new ranges of scholars.
High Performance Scholars
High Performance Scholarships are a new category of scholars which recognise academic success in examinations. Our highest-attaining students (the top 10-15%) in each year group are awarded this scholarship based on their end-of-year exams.
This award is announced at Prize Giving and the scholarship is held for one year. High Performance Learning Scholars are invited to a dinner in the Autumn Term with the Headmistress, Deputy Head: Academic and the Scholarship Co-ordinator to celebrate their achievement with their peers.
The scholarship dinners (one for Lower and one for Upper School) were held at Browns in Cambridge this year and we had highly enjoyable and intellectually vigorous conversations with the scholars during which they were able to discuss their interests, hopes for the future and ideas for the school. The occasion also provided a chance for scholars to interact with girls from other year groups and to learn how their academic life at school will progress and develop.
We were very impressed to hear about how the High Performance Scholars make the most of their time at St Mary’s with an impressive array of extra-curricular commitments as well!
Community Scholarships were created by taking inspiration from our Mary Ward Values and by integrating those with a sense of our community’s passions. The new scholarship posts available include: Debate, Inclusivity, Eco, Mary Ward, International, Digital, Wellbeing and Student Voice.
There are two positions open for each scholarship for both the Upper and Lower school, which are awarded based on participation in the relevant Student Voice Committee during the Autumn Term, a letter of application, and an interview with the lead staff member at the beginning of the Winter Term.
Our Community Scholars are responsible for raising awareness in their chosen field and developing the school’s commitment to promoting justice in the world. This can look like speaking in assembly about the environmental impact of single use plastic, selling Fairtrade items during break times, leading the school in prayer during Mass or representing the school at the prestigious English Speaking Union MACE debates.
Our Inclusivity Scholars have worked extremely hard this year on a wide range of issues. They campaigned to help neurodiverse students who can be sensitive to noisy environments - such as the dining hall during lunchtime. The committee, led by the Scholars, came up with the idea of reducing the noisiness of the dining hall by adding sound absorbing apparatus which was unanimously accepted by Student Council and thereafter the school’s Senior Leadership Team. The Inclusivity Scholars are following this up by researching the possibility of purchasing noise-cancelling headphones which will be made available at reception for any student who needs a quieter space.
We are very proud of our Scholars who are thinking empathetically about the needs of our neurodiverse community and diligently considering how the wider school community can respond to them.
As Emily R. stated in her application: I have attended every Inclusivity meeting since the beginning of the first term and will continue doing so whilst making sure to contribute to all conversations which will lead to the overall improvement of school life for everyone.
Her commitment to the role is exactly what we look for in our Community Scholars!
We are greatly looking forward to adding a new Outdoor Learning Community Scholarship next year as the school aims to increase the amount of time that students spend outside in nature.
This will be in academic lessons in the outdoor classroom and pastorally making use of activities that involve the sensory garden and provide time to pause, reflect and breathe away from the business of school days and technology.
Scholars will help to bring their ideas for outdoor learning, set up activities and work alongside staff to encourage participation and clubs as well as specific events like an Outdoor Classroom Day in November. It is an exciting role that can develop in so many ways.
Olympia Severis, Voice Co-ordinator
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