Extension opportunities

Our extension opportunities provide different routes to gaining new experiences and knowledge in Years 10 and 11.

Silver Arts Award Scheme

The Arts Award scheme provides students with an opportunity to investigate and celebrate an area of the arts that they enjoy or are passionate about - from art to drama to dance to music, and more.

Drama performanceOur students can undertake the Silver Arts Award scheme in Year 10 or Lower Sixth. Students who participated in the Bronze Arts Award scheme in Year 9 are particularly well-positioned to participate, building on the skills developed at Bronze level.

The Silver Arts Award scheme develops arts skills and encourages students to lead activities in an art form of their choice to achieve a Level 2 qualification. Success in the scheme shows universities and employers evidence of real progress in the chosen art form, an understanding of the arts in general, and leadership skills.

Arts Mark Award information

The Silver Arts Award includes two units:

  • Arts Practice – complete a challenge (set by the student) in their chosen art form, and explore arts events and arts opportunities within the community
  • Arts Leadership – plan, deliver and review the chosen arts project

Students create a portfolio to gain the Silver Arts Award. They have the freedom to choose their own style and format – for instance diary style, video, online, slide show presentation, or something different altogether – and an adviser will work closely with each girl to create the best possible outcome.

There are no entry requirements in order to enrol, and it will take around 60 hours to complete the Silver Arts Award (much of which is completed independently,
in the student's own time).

For the academic year 2018/2019, the Silver Arts Award scheme will run during the extra-curricular slot, currently period 6 on Tuesday afternoons (from 3.05pm to 4.00pm). Participants will be required to attend all award sessions throughout the year to ensure that there is sufficiently frequent contact with their adviser.

The initial cost involved is £30, which funds an introductory pack, badge and registration with Trinity College, London. Students are expected to attend at least two arts events (e.g. exhibitions, concerts, plays, musicals, dance shows) during the academic year, and the Arts Award team organises an annual trip to the West End to see a large-scale musical for interested Arts Award students (the usual cost of which is approximately £40). For many, this is one of the highlights of the year!

Optional trip: Theatre visit (Years 10 and 11). Approximate cost: £40.

Duke of Edinburgh Direct Silver Award

In Year 10 students can participate in our Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Many students will have already completed their Bronze Award in Year 9 but it is possible to register as a Direct entrant to Silver if they are new to the school or wish to join at this level.

ExpeditionIn order to achieve the Silver Award, students need to volunteer to help in the community for a minimum of one hour a week for 6 months, undertake to learn a new skill and take part in a physical recreation for a minimum of three months for one and six months for the other.

Direct entrants to Silver must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the physical or skills sections. Each student also needs to take part in a training expedition and then a qualifying expedition, which entail walking, navigating and camping over three days and two nights whilst carrying a tent, food and all necessary clothing.

Duke of Edinburgh Award information


During the expedition students also need to cook four hot meals. Expeditions normally take place in October and April and students are expected to have their own walking equipment, with the exception of tent, stove, maps and compasses, which are provided by the school.

The aim of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is to foster independence and self-reliance and so it is inevitable that the groups of girls taking part in expeditions will spend considerable amounts of time without direct supervision.

The members of staff involved are suitably qualified and use their experience to carry out a careful risk assessment of the likely hazards facing the participants, both on the route and at camping sites, and take steps to minimise them. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition training sessions take place on Tuesday afternoons from 4.00pm-5.00pm. Participants are required to attend every session throughout the year to ensure adequate training and preparation for the expeditions. If a participant misses more than three sessions in a term they may not be able to take part in the expedition.

The students themselves will be largely responsible for the volunteering, skill and physical recreation sections of the award but this will inevitably involve assistance from parents with transport and general support. We would like to thank parents in advance for their support which is essential for the success of the scheme at St Mary’s School, Cambridge. Many girls also find opportunities to fulfill the requirements of these sections in school and St Marys staff are very supportive of the scheme.

Compulsory trips (Year 10):

  • Practice Expedition (4 days)
  • Assessed Expedition (4 days)

Approximate cost: £420 for the whole year, including expedition costs, enrolment and administration.