Two St Mary's Lower School pupils sitting in a Library holding books and laughing

Lower School

See behind the scenes at St Mary’s Lower School, 12th highest performing Prep School in England:

A message from the Head of St. Mary’s Lower School, Mrs Emma Stanhope

Welcome to St Mary’s Lower School! We’re an independent Preparatory School situated in an impressive historic building, set within nine acres of beautiful grounds on the outskirts of Colchester, Essex.

The following pages will give you a sense of the academic excellence, brilliantly balanced education and caring environment we offer. But nothing will give you a better insight into our vibrant school than by taking a look around. So please arrange a private tour at a time that is convenient to you, or reserve a place at an Open Day.

Academic excellence

I was so proud when The Sunday Times ranked St Mary’s Lower School 12 highest performing Prep School in England. It’s particularly impressive considering we have a broad academic intake.

The pupils here perform at well above the national average in maths, spelling and grammar, reading and writing. We also have a high 11+ pass rate for those who choose to sit the exam. In addition, our pupils achieve a consistently strong record of scholarship offers to independent secondary schools. This includes our Senior School, where Lower School girls along with siblings are given priority for places offered.

We’re able to achieve such success by tailoring the education to suit the needs of each individual in our small classes. We also give the pupils the encouragement and support they need to aim high. We offer a brilliantly balanced education and provide opportunities for the girls to grow and develop wherever we can.

Caring environment

Our pastoral support is at the centre of all we do, pupils thrive when they are happy and as a small school, every girl is known and understood.

The atmosphere at the school is calm, supportive and nurturing. Every pupil is valued and the girls here are not afraid to have a go at something new, to take risks or put themselves forward to be a leader. It is in this positive environment where the girls develop the self-confidence needed to really blossom.

Mrs Emma Stanhope, Head of St Mary’s Lower School

Emma Stanhope, Director of Lower School, St Mary's, Colchester

“Pupils make excellent progress in the Lower School”

From ISI inspection report 2023 - rated 'excellent'

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