The Humanities

Classics and Latin

At St Mary’s, all our students have the opportunity to discover the legacy of the Classical world. Although rigorous at times, lessons are fun and interesting and aim to encourage the students to think critically about how the Classical world has influenced the modern-day world in terms of language, literature, art, and architecture. As well as aiming to foster a love of the ancient world, the Latin and Classics courses encourage students to develop transferrable skills as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers.


The Geography Department prides itself on its enquiring approach to the study of Geography, and students are encouraged to question what happens in the world around them. Geography plays a vitally important role in enabling students to understand the ever-changing world around them.

Students cover a wide range of topics where they are taught to challenge misconceptions through a multi-disciplinary approach. Climate change runs thematically throughout the curriculum, from studying the impact of sea level rise on the east coast of the UK to the impacts of fast fashion in an ever-globalised world.

Learning is brought to life in a variety of ways. For example, students put their newly acquired skills into action by becoming weather forecasters and presenters. They also carry out local studies working with Essex Wildlife Trust on Biodiversity, and spending time with a visiting speaker from Oxfam, taking on the role of aid workers.


The History Department is committed to providing the opportunity for pupils to  develop into enthusiastic, curious and knowledgeable students, who have a passion for history and are capable of rigorous, independent thought. A study of history is essential for all students to understand the culture in which they live, as well as the wider world; an appreciation of the past will help give them the skills to navigate both the present and their future. Our curriculum seeks to provide opportunities for all students to feel represented by the past; as well as explore less familiar histories and a wide range of interpretations exploring different people’s perspectives on key events and developments. We also encourage students to think critically about local, national and international issues across a broad range of historical periods and contexts.

Religious Studies (RS)

The main intent of Religious Studies is to provide interesting and varied lessons which prepare our students for life in a pluralistic society. The aim of the department is to promote an awareness of the usefulness of the subject in everyday life, to encourage enthusiasm for interest in the study of other people’s beliefs and to promote mutual respect, tolerance and understanding across different faiths and communities.

Through the study of world faiths and religious views on ethical issues, it is hoped that students will not only have a good understanding of different faiths and communities, but will be encouraged to think about their own beliefs and reflect on their own choices. This helps them to develop their own ideas and opinions as they learn about the society we live in and their individual place in it. Religious Studies provides students with the opportunity to debate and discuss, enabling them to articulate their views verbally, as well as developing their extended writing skills.

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