St Mary’s students are prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow. There are many opportunities for Senior School students to take the lead, motivating other students to contribute to their own education and development and to school life. 

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Each year a sizeable group of St Mary’s students challenge themselves to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award, acquiring new skills, undertaking expeditions and cementing friendships. The skills developed through DofE are widely recognised in education and employment, demonstrating commitment, team-working, strength of character and resilience.


School Houses

The spirit of competition is alive and well at St Mary’s! Challenges of all kinds, from cake sales and quizzes to sponsored cross-country, are entered into with great enthusiasm, with pupils keen to do their best for one of the school’s four Houses – Abbeygate, Balkernegate, Headgate and Scheregate – named after the gates of Roman Colchester.


Positions of Responsibility

From helping in the library to perhaps becoming one of the school’s two Head Girls, a Games Captain, a House Official or a Prefect, there are many opportunities for pupils to develop their leadership skills and to make an active contribution to the school community. Many posts of responsibility are applied for and democratically elected.


School Council

The School Council gives pupils a voice and their input into school life is valued. The Council meets regularly to discuss matters that affect them. Their ideas and suggestions are put forward to the school’s Senior Leadership Team and often inform the school’s policy.


Buddies and Listeners

All Senior School pupils take on a pastoral role as ‘Buddy’ to a girl in the year below, helping her to settle into the school and offering support during her time at St Mary’s. In this way ‘Buddy Families’ are formed and there are fun social events for Buddies throughout the year.

Selected girls in Year 11 are trained as ‘Listeners’, peer mentors who lend an ear to pupils with minor problems to discuss.

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