Skills for life

Our students gain skills that prepare them for life.

As a High Performance Learning School, our approach to learning encourages skills such as collaboration, risk-taking, independent thinking, concern for society and perseverance.

From planning and leading school events to mentoring younger students, getting involved in fundraising or learning how to cook healthy, balanced meals - Sixth Form life is full of opportunities to develop valuable life skills.

This breadth of experience allows St Mary's girls to become confident, compassionate women who leave us ready to make a positive contribution to society.

Leadership opportunities

Students are invited to take on roles that develop their understanding and experience of leadership, in a supportive, structured environment.


Girls are selected by peers and teaching staff to become part of our prefect team, including our Head Girl and House, Music and games captains. Prefects meet regularly with our Head of Sixth Form and Headmistress, and have responsibility for running many whole-school activities – from helping with community outreach to attending and contributing to functions throughout the year.

School Council

Another key leadership responsibility is running our School Council. Girls from across the school contribute ideas on issues and important matters for discussion by their representatives at the council. Girls from each Senior School and Sixth Form year group are selected to represent their peers, and our Head Girl and prefects lead the School Council.


Our mentoring scheme plays an essential role in caring for and supporting students. Sixth Form students act as ‘older sisters’ to ensure younger girls have another student to rely on, talk to for advice and support, and to emulate.

Mentoring pairs meet fortnightly; and Sixth Form students benefit by developing skills that prepare them for future relationships in Higher Education and training, in the workplace and in their personal lives.

Clubs and societies

Many students take the opportunity to develop leadership skills by establishing and running clubs, or societies, for younger students. Examples include MedVet Soc, Drama, Mandarin, Psychology and Politics clubs. Students are also encouraged to liaise with outside speakers and to run events, gaining vital experience along the way.

Leiths Academy Introductory Certificate in Food and Wine with CTH

Established in 1975 by Prue Leith and Caroline Waldegrave, Leiths School of Food and Wine is the most prestigious and respected cookery school in the UK. As part of the Leiths Academy, we offer students a valuable opportunity to study for a Leiths Introductory Certificate in Cookery.

Leiths and the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH) are working in partnership to deliver this innovative course. The Leiths Introductory Certificate runs in parallel with the CTH Level 3 Professional Cookery Programme, which aims to prepare students for a first career role in a kitchen environment.

Units are assessed by practical examinations and by written assignments and students recieve two qualifications on successfully completing five terms. We offer this courses as an alternative A Level option, and it is taught in the same lesson allocation as other A Level courses.

As well as learning essential skills, students learn to cook delicious recipes from around the world including Goujons of plaice with tartare sauce; Duck breasts with ginger, chilli and lime; English roast chicken with all the trimmings; Summer berry pavlova and Homemade ice creams.

Leiths promote a positivie attitude towards food, as part of a healthy lifestyle which reflects our commitment to ensuring students can live happy, balanced lives. The course is perfect preparation for cooking at university, or for friends and family.

For students with professional ambitions, the successful completion of the Introductory Certificate is a fast track to the Leiths Two Term Diploma, a culinary alternative to university.

More about this course

Charity fundraising

Charitable giving is an integral part of our Christian ethos. Our Sixth Form students play a vital role in devising and organising charitable school events, such as our annual Fun Run, the top secret Sixth Form revue and Boarders’ Concert. 

Our Lourdes Fundraising Fortnight is an annual initiative to raise money for the Glanfield Children's Group, which runs a holiday-pilgrimage to the French town of Lourdes every August in conjunction with The Catholic Association. Sixth Form students join members of staff and alumnae (for whom the trip is a regular highlight) on this holiday-pilgrimage, to volunteer as Handmaids, supporting sick and elderly pilgrims.

Young Enterprise

Having had a long tradition of successful involvement in the Young Enterprise programme, we have founded our own business and enterprise education charity. This opportunity enables our Sixth Form students to develop entrepreneurial skills and to prepare for their future professional lives.