About

A message from St Mary’s Principal, Mrs Hilary Vipond

Welcome to St Mary’s! I hope that as you explore our website you’ll begin to get a real feel for the unique character of our school. You’ll find plenty of information here but often people find that by visiting us they get the best insight into all we have to offer. So please take a look at whether you can make one of our upcoming Open Mornings or arrange a private tour at a time that’s convenient to you.

St Mary’s is an independent school in Colchester, Essex for girls age 3-16 and boys age 3-4. We are proud to have charitable status, meaning all fees are reinvested into the school. We are also truly independent, with no owners or shareholders, and are overseen by a committed governing body who help ensure we provide a high quality education and a happy learning environment.

Beautiful settings

Our Lower School and Senior School are both situated in impressive historic buildings, set within beautiful grounds. Watch the aerial footage below to see where we’re located.

Academically outstanding

I was immensely proud when the Lower School was ranked the 9th highest performing Preparatory School in England by the Sunday Times for the second year running. Many girls achieve scholarships to senior school and we have an impressive 11+ pass rate for those who choose to sit the exam.

At the Senior School our GCSE results are also regularly amongst the best in the country. We’re able to achieve such success by tailoring the education to suit the needs of each individual in our small classes and by giving the girls the encouragement and support they need to aim high.

A wealth of opportunities

However, I’m a strong believer that success in life comes from more than just impressive exam results. At St Mary’s we offer a brilliantly balanced education in order to develop exceptionally well-rounded individuals.

With a huge variety of clubs, enrichment activities, music and drama productions, visits and international travel experiences on offer, there’s ample opportunity to learn new skills and develop talents.

There are numerous positions of responsibility available to the girls, which help develop their leadership skills, and we foster team spirit through initiatives such as the School Council and School Houses.

Positive environment

For young people to thrive I firmly believe they must feel confident, relaxed and secure. Every child is known and understood and the girls feel comfortable challenging themselves and asking questions.

Before children even start at St Mary’s we take time to get to know them and their families, and we have initiatives in place from induction programmes to buddy systems to help students settle in. There’s a very positive culture at St Mary’s and visitors often comment on how staff and students are always smiling.

We believe in instilling the values of respect and courtesy, and through our charity and outreach work the students develop a strong sense of community. We are a leading Eco School and the students get a strong sense of caring for the environment as a result. And as a global member of the Round Square Organisation, those who attend St Mary’s benefit from our international links, which helps to broaden their horizons.

In this positive environment our young people develop the strength of character and the self-belief they need to make the very most of the life that lies ahead.

Mrs Hilary Vipond, St Mary’s Principal

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