Lower School Life

Gain an insight into the varied and lively Prep class (Reception) curriculum at St Mary’s

Before girls even start at St Mary’s we take time to get to know them and their families. For those joining our Preparatory Class (Reception), we hold a series of familiarisation sessions, starting in the spring term before the girls are due to join.

For those looking to join us in other year groups, where spaces are sometimes available, we offer Taster Days where girls have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of school life and get a real sense of what it’s like to come to school at St Mary’s.

The Lower School day

Parents bring their daughters to school from 8.30am and the school day begins at 8.40am. The school is easily accessible with ample parking for a convenient and safe school run.

Following Registration the girls have Assembly, led by our Principal, Head of Lower School, special guests or the pupils themselves. Lessons then take place until 10.15am when the girls have break. During this time, pupils put on their wellies and are free to explore the outdoor environment, play with friends or relax in our beautiful grounds.

At 10.35am, lessons continue until lunch at 11.45am for infants or 12.15pm for juniors. The girls are all served a hot meal in family-style dining, where table manners are instilled and conversation encouraged. During the lunch break, girls can join a club or play outside with friends.

Lessons resume at 1.20pm until 3pm for infants or 3.25pm for juniors. Infants who have a sibling in the juniors can join activity club until the juniors finish at 3.25pm and then numerous clubs are available, from ballet to chess. Alternatively, our finishing time allows pupils to continue with any clubs, interests or hobbies they have outside of school.

8.00am Breakfast Club
8.30am Girls may enter their classrooms
8.40am School day begins (parents leave school)
8.45am Registration
8.50am Assembly
9.15-10.15am Lessons
10.15-10.35am Break (snack and drink provided)
10.35am-12.10pm Lessons
11.45/12.15-1.15pm Lunch (hot and cold options provided) and outdoor play
1.20-3.00pm Lessons for infants
1.20-3.25pm Lessons for juniors
3.25-4.30pm Selection of optional after-school clubs
3.00-6pm After school care provision available for infants
3.25-6pm After school care provision available for juniors

Wrap around care

In addition to clubs, wrap around care is available from 7.30am and our daily Breakfast Club begins at 8am, designed to help busy families. Children enjoy a light breakfast and a chance to catch up with friends before the school day. Year 2 to Year 6 pupils go to the After School Room for after school care. Prep and Year 1 girls go across to our Kindergarten until 4.30pm, before joining the after school care if staying until 6pm.

St Mary’s Activities in the School Holidays (SMASH)

SMASH runs for four weeks in the summer holidays, a week in the Christmas holidays, a week in the Easter holidays and each half term. Days run from 9am-3pm with the option of an early start from 8.30am and late finish of 4.30pm. Individual days or whole weeks can be booked. Sessions often include arts and crafts, drama, sports, adventure, games and outings. Full details are sent out to parents in advance of each holiday with information on how to book.

Moving on with confidence

On leaving the Lower School, most Year 6 girls move up to our Senior School or go to one of the state selective (grammar) schools. We prepare pupils for the move by familiarising them with the Senior School. For example, girls often use the facilities and are taught by the specialist teachers there. The Eco teams, choirs and orchestra from the Lower and Senior School also often come together, giving Lower School pupils an insight into Senior School life and helping them take the next step with confidence.

“Pupils’ academic and other achievements are excellent, in confirmation of the school’s aspiration to help pupils develop creative flair, sporting prowess and other talents”

From ISI inspection report 2023 - rated 'excellent'

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