St Mary’s has a strong tradition of performing arts and drama, with a superb whole-school production every two years.
Music is very important to life at St Mary’s. Girls in Years 7 to 9 have specialist class lessons and Music is a popular choice for GCSE, with an excellent success rate. A third of senior pupils learn an instrument. Our established team of experienced instrumental teachers offer lessons on the flute, oboe, clarinet, all saxophones and brass, violin, viola, cello, guitar (acoustic and electric) drums, piano and voice. Lessons on other instruments can be arranged if there is a demand. The teachers prepare and enter those students who wish to apply for Associated Board, Trinity/Guildhall and Rock School examinations. Girls have taken music exams from a variety of boards, achieving passes across the entire range, from Grade 1 to Grade 8 with Distinction. Music lessons are taught individually and are competitively priced. For more information, please contact the school office.
Students in Years 7 and 9 study the basic skills in Drama that will equip them for further study at GCSE, or give them the confidence they need to go out into the world and deal with the people and situations they will meet. Art at St Mary’s is of a very high standard. Our lively studio is the perfect creative environment for St Mary’s artists to refine their ideas and use a range of media to create artworks that are intelligent and considered. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 follow a foundation course in art, with a one hour lesson each week. GCSE students are also welcome to make use of the art studio during most lunchtimes. GCSE Art is a popular option and St Mary’s artists achieve consistently high grades.
ICT is studied by students in Years 7, 8 and 9 and ICT is offered as a GCSE option. Practical skills in Textiles are taught from the beginning of Year 7 and all students develop a level of basic competency on the sewing machine during their first year at St Mary’s. During Year 8 the girls use a commercial sewing pattern for the first time, designing and making a pair of pyjamas. In Year 9 the girls study Textiles for two hours per week. Also during Year 9 they explore a wide variety of decorative techniques, such as crazy patchwork, tie dye, machine and hand embroidery, quilting and beadwork.
All students in Years 8 and 9 study Food Nutrition. Students learn a wide range of practical and organisational skills, enabling them to produce high quality food products, which meet national targets and encourage good health. In Year 8 one-hour lessons are focused on developing skills and good practice in the kitchen. In Year 9 two-hour lessons allow students to carry out research to help them with development and production of new dishes and to show creativity in their own designs. Hospitality and Catering is offered in Years 10 and 11.
The PE Department encourages all students to achieve their own potential and look to develop enjoyment and enthusiasm through the wide variety of activities on offer at St Mary’s. Our motto is that enjoyment is as important as excellence! As well as timetabled PE lessons, a range of clubs take place at lunchtimes. Girls of all abilities are welcome, as are those who wish to improve, or just to enjoy the activity without wanting to participate in fixtures. We have an extensive fixtures diary – details are posted on the PE noticeboard (outside the school hall) and on the school website. After fixtures, girls may either be collected from the venue or will be returned to school for collection. Times for collection appear on the PE noticeboard.
Students should bring to school every item detailed on the PE kit list and each item of clothing, footwear and equipment should be named. Lost kit can be collected from Lost Property in The Turrets. For lessons, all students are expected to change into the correct kit – even girls who are unable to practically participate are expected to take part in the lesson by umpiring, coaching etc – and must bring in an explanatory note. All girls are encouraged to engage in the lesson; staff are understanding of any student who begins to feel unwell. All items of jewellery must be removed at the start of PE lessons, including earrings. Girls who want to should have their ears pierced at the start of the summer holidays so that earrings can be removed for lessons in September.