St Mary’s Lower School equips girls for the next stage of their education. The majority of Year 6 girls transfer to Year 7 at St Mary’s Senior School, where they have a guaranteed place, while several girls each year achieve places at grammar schools.
In Year 3, St Mary’s girls begin preparation for the CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex) 11+ exam for potential entry to state selective (grammar) schools. This takes the form of weekly lessons in reasoning skills, which serves to enhance their English and Mathematics.
The CSSE 11+ examination consists of two papers and candidates are expected to be working at Mastery level of the National Curriculum. The paper comprises:
English Paper (1 hour): Comprehension, Grammar and Vocabulary; Creative Writing; Applied Reasoning (literacy/verbal)
Mathematics Paper (1 hour): questions consistent with KS2 National Curriculum; Applied Reasoning (mathematical/non-verbal)
All of these elements are taught within the St Mary’s Lower School curriculum and Year 5 pupils are invited to attend a series of additional 11+ preparation sessions, held in the Summer Term before the exam in the Autumn. Staff also offer two mornings’ preparation in the summer holidays. It is parents’ responsibility to enter their daughters for the 11+ and the school passes on any relevant information as soon as it is received.
Pupils of St Mary’s Lower School are assured of a place at the Senior School, even in the event of over-subscription. All girls take the Senior School Entrance Assessment, which provides academic benchmarking, and take part in a short meeting with the Principal, Mrs Vipond. St Mary’s Lower School girls have a good record of achieving Senior School Scholarships, which offer girls recognition as well as opportunities for extension and a fee remission. Girls in Year 5 receive the Senior School Scholarships booklet which gives full information on the available Scholarships and how to apply for them. Lower School teaching staff are happy to advise on Scholarship applications. In brief:
Academic Scholarships are offered to those pupils who show high levels of ability in Mathematics, English and Verbal Reasoning, on the basis of their performance in the Senior School Entrance Assessment.
Art Scholarships may be offered on the basis of an interview with the Head of Art, performance in a group assessment and examination of a portfolio of work which must be submitted in advance.
Drama Scholarships may be offered to pupils following an interview with the Head of Drama, a short performance or reading, and examination of evidence of involvement in drama outside of school. Drama scholars are expected to take part in Senior School drama productions and performances.
Music Scholarships may be offered to pupils who have attained at least Grade 3 or equivalent standard, ideally in two instruments or one instrument and voice. Pupils when invited for interview should be prepared to perform one or two pieces of music, either sung or with a chosen instrument. They have supporting evidence of their achievement. candidates play a lead role in school music by participating in orchestra, choir and chamber choir, as appropriate, and music concerts.
Sports Scholarships may be awarded to pupils who can demonstrate and show evidence for achievement and/or genuine potential in two or more sports and who perform well at a group assessment. Pupils should demonstrate good leadership skills and a commitment to playing for school teams in at least two major sports in which St Mary’s competes. Sports Scholars are expected to attend sports training and fixtures and act as role models.
Miss Comrie Scholarships cannot be applied for and may be awarded to any pupil who impresses the Principal in her entrance interview with her positive outlook and commitment. Shortlisted pupils are then interviewed by an independent panel. Miss Comrie Scholars act as ambassadors for the school and role models for other pupils.
Scholarship deadlines are published in the Scholarships booklet. Scholarship applications cannot be considered after the closing date.