Wellbeing

At St Mary’s, we are committed to providing your daughter with an education that will prove to be a solid foundation for a whole lifetime of personal fulfilment.

For young people to thrive, learn and achieve, they must feel content, relaxed and secure. At St Mary’s each individual is known and understood and there is a culture in the school community – our staff as well as our students – of caring for each other, celebrating successes and working through difficulties. In this environment, our young people develop the strength of character and the self-confidence they need to make the very most of the life that lies ahead.

We strongly believe that the best success is when school, students and parents/carers work together.

The School undertakes to provide:

  • A safe environment where students feel secure and listened to
  • A high standard of education, which acknowledges the requirements of National guidelines, within a balanced curriculum
  • The expectation that all students should make progress in line with their own abilities
  • Regular opportunities for you to share the progress of your daughter, through sharing of work, parents’ evenings and school reports
  • Three written reports each academic year
  • A PSHEE programme to support the girls in making appropriate choices in a range of moral, social and health-related matters
  • Opportunities for students to participate in extra-curricular activities to broaden their learning experiences

We expect parents to agree that they will do all they can to ensure that their daughter:

  • Understands that the school expects them to give their best at all times
  • Attends school at all required times, and is not absent for reasons other than ill health and in circumstances agreed with the School
  • Always arrives at School punctually, unless extenuating circumstances prevent this
  • Complies with the school uniform requirements, and is in full school uniform on her journey to and from home
  • Maintains the highest standards of behaviour at all times
  • Completes home learning to an acceptable standard in an environment of calm
  • Develops a positive attitude to her peers regardless of gender, race, culture, belief, value, age and need
  • Arrives at School with the appropriate books and equipment (including that required for PE)
  • Respects school equipment

We ask that parents also:

  • Telephone the Senior School Office by 9am on the first day of any unexpected absence their daughter may have, explaining the nature of the absence and the length of time their daughter is likely to be away from school
  • Support the school’s policies on behaviour and anti-bullying
  • Ensure that all school documents are returned promptly, including electronic responses
  • Ensure that school books are treated with respect and returned at the end of the academic year.
  • Avoid taking holidays during term time
  • Written permission must be sought from the Principal for any absence required from school, stating the reason

Students’ wellbeing

In our friendly and warm community, each girl is known, valued and cared for as an individual. As a relatively small school, with a staff dedicated to meeting the needs of each and every student, we are able to focus on ensuring that girls at
St Mary’s have a very happy school experience and leave us with the confidence and the skills to make the most of the life that lies ahead. Wellbeing is ‘taught’ in a variety of ways; students gain a better understanding of wellbeing through school assemblies, form activities and Senior School wellbeing days. In addition, Year 7 students all learn the principals of mindfulness as part of the curriculum. Resilience is also enhanced as it is incorporated through the curriculum in individual subject areas and on school trips, including activities week and the DofE programme. Resilience and mindfulness can both equip students with skills to help self-regulate their emotions.

PSHEE

Our Personal Social Health and Economic Education programme continues throughout the school and aims to develop communication, social and life skills so that students leave St Mary’s as confident, articulate, mature young women, with high self-esteem. These qualities stand them in good stead throughout their lives and are valued by employers. Careers advice is also given and there is preparation for further education, ensuring a smooth transfer to the sixth form of each student’s choice.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in line with the few ‘school rules’ that we have in place. We aim to provide a caring, friendly and safe environment, ensuring the wellbeing of all members of the community. Students have the right to feel safe at school. Bullying at St Mary’s will not be tolerated and any incidents that are reported to us are dealt with in line with the school policy (this can be found on the school website). Incidents of bullying are extremely rare in this school, but we must never be complacent and think it would never happen here. Bullying is defined as an action that is repeated over time and that intentionally hurts another student or group physically or emotionally. The term bullying is sometimes used inappropriately; it is important that students, staff and parents understand the correct meaning, so that we can all work together in the interests of all students.

Further information can be found in the parents portal on our website www.stmaryscolchester.org.uk/current-parents

Buddies and Listeners

Girls joining St Mary’s have the support of a ‘Buddy’ – a student in the year above. The Buddies take their roles seriously and carry them out with pride. They lend a helping hand, or provide a friendly smile and generally help new students to settle. Buddies host parties at Christmas and a Summer BBQ.

Girls in Years 10 and 11 act as peer counsellors – ‘Listeners’. They are elected and trained to support pastoral care at St Mary’s, volunteering during breaks and lunchtimes to support others in whatever way is required.

In addition to the school ‘Buddies’ and ‘Listeners’, there are many people to whom girls and their parents can turn for help if they have any questions or concerns. All staff at St Mary’s are dedicated to our students’ wellbeing and parents’ peace of mind.

Please feel free to telephone the Senior School Office to speak to a member of staff with whom you feel at ease or who you feel is most appropriate, given the nature of the issue. This could be the student’s Form Tutor, Head of Year, subject teacher (if a particular subject poses a problem), Director of Senior School, the Principal or any other member of staff. The Office staff will also be happy to help, or to steer you to the right person.

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