Before girls even start at St Mary’s we take time to get to know them and their families. Girls looking to join Year 7 are asked to bring something special with them to an informal interview with Mrs Hilary Vipond, St Mary’s Principal, and we’ve had everything from trophies to dogs in the school!
We offer Taster Days to those who have registered, 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 attend St Mary’s. Upon starting, every girl is assigned a buddy and they become part of a buddy family consisting of a girl from each year group, helping them to settle in well.
The school opens to students at 8am and the day starts at 8.50am with registration. Assemblies are held twice a week and are led by our Principal, Director of Senior School, special guests or the students themselves.
Lessons and enrichment sessions take place until lunch at 12.30, with a break mid-morning. During break and lunch times, the girls spend time chatting to friends, relaxing in the grounds, visiting our student-run charity coffee shop or joining the various clubs on offer.
At lunch, the girls are all served a hot meal in family-style dining, where conversation is encouraged and relationships built. You can often hear ‘Happy Birthday’ being sung to friends and conversations about the girls’ day taking place.
Afternoon registration takes place at 1.30pm before lessons continue until 3.40pm. As many students travel to school by school bus or public transport, clubs and activities are not scheduled after school, apart from sports matches. This also means the girls can continue attending any clubs or activities they enjoy participating in outside of school.
On leaving the Senior School, a number of students go to one of the state selective (grammar) schools. Others move up to Colchester Sixth Form, one of the largest and most successful 16-19 providers of general academic sixth form education in the country, where St Mary’s girls are guaranteed a place, or to boarding school.