Academic Focus


We increase pupils’ familiarity with a wide range of texts during their time at the Lower School, including myths, modern fiction and books from other cultures. Our small class sizes mean we’re able to listen to the girls read regularly, monitoring their reading, checking the text makes sense to them and discussing the significance of events. We continually develop pupils’ written skills with weekly grammar and spelling sessions. Pupils learn to create settings, characters and plots, and develop the ability to use devices to structure text and guide the reader.


From learning to compare, describe and solve practical problems to classifying geometric shapes based on their properties and sizes, we develop the girls’ mathematical skills during their time at St Mary’s. Pupils cover topics such as multiplication and division, fractions, statistics, geometry, ratios and proportion. A weekly Using and Applying session allows pupils to apply skills and knowledge they have been taught.


Pupils study a wide range of topics including materials and their properties, habitats, earth and space, light and electricity. Science is brought to life with practical lessons. For example the pupils explore the functions of the main organs through investigations, models and video clips, and investigate the idea that light travels in straight lines, along with reflected and refracted light, through practical experiments.


Pupils study a wide range of topics in history throughout their time at the Lower School, from iconic historical figures such as Florence Nightingale to Government, Parliament and Laws. As with all the subjects, learning is brought to life with visits to places with historical significance both locally and across the UK.


A wide range of topics are explored within geography, from continents and oceans of the world to mountains and coastal studies. Through storytelling, pictures and videos, and first-hand experience, pupils start to gain an insight into how locations vary around the world, both in terms of the people who live there and the environment. The girls also conduct field studies where they learn many different techniques.

Religious Education (RE)

In RE, pupils learn about different religions such as Christianity and Buddhism, building their understanding each year. Girls learn about beliefs and practices, special people, places, words and stories.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE)

Throughout their time at the Lower School, pupils explore topics such as rights and responsibilities, self-esteem and local democracy. Girls learn about money matters, where they develop an understanding of finance and money, shopping and budgeting, risk and debt, and goal setting and motivation. Pupils also explore relationships and peer influence, and how to work together. We help the girls understand themselves, their feelings and how to look after themselves.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

In ICT, pupils learn coding, building on their knowledge each year. For example, the girls learn how to upload sounds from a file and edit them, use reporter operators and use IF THEN conditions to control events or objects. The girls are taught about the dangers of online communities and how to minimise risk and report problems. They also study the effect of online comments and how to show responsibility and sensitivity online.


Girls develop their knowledge of French speaking and listening from Preparatory Class, increasing in confidence and fluency. Pupils also develop an awareness of the cultural aspects within French speaking provinces.


In Philosophy, pupils have the opportunity to explore their opinions and thoughts, to listen to others and learn that it’s ok to have different opinions.

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