Two St Marys Senior school girls walking in the grounds of the secondary school in Colchester Essex

Senior School Life

Meet a group of new Year 7 St Mary’s students who gave an insight into Senior School life

Watch this film to hear reviews from Year 7 pupils after their the first few weeks at the school. The girls talk about how they’ve found Senior School life and what to expect as a new starter.

Before girls even start at St Mary’s we take time to get to know them and their families. We also help families develop a good understanding of Senior School life. Girls looking to join Year 7 attend an informal interview. It is here that we start to get a real insight into their talents and passions.

For pupils moving to the Senior School from St Mary’s Lower School, we run a transition programme. This helps the girls at the Lower School become familiar with Senior School life.

We offer Taster Days to all those registered to start St Mary’s Senior School in Year 7. This includes girls moving up from the Lower School. The girls have the opportunity to take part in different lessons. By attending, pupils get a real sense of Senior School life and what we offer at St Mary’s. Upon starting, we assign every girl a buddy, providing a further insight into senior school life and helping them to settle in well. They then become part of a buddy family consisting of a girl from each year group.

For those who would like to join the Senior School after Year 7 has begun or in a different year group, we offer Taster Days if there is a place available. This enables girls to get a good insight into St Mary’s Senior School life. They will also have an informal interview, enabling us to get an insight into their strengths and interests.

St Mary’s Senior School day

The school opens to students at 8am and the day starts at 8.50am with registration. We have assemblies twice a week. They are led by our Principal, Head 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 or relaxing in the grounds. They can also work in the Quiet Room, read in the Library or attend the various clubs on offer. We encourage all pupils to get as much as possible out of senior school life and the opportunities we provide at St Mary’s.

At lunch, the girls have a choice of hot meal options. There is also an extensive salad bar and a dessert station. This is a time where conversation is encouraged and relationships are built and 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. Many students travel to school by school bus or public transport. Therefore most clubs and activities are scheduled within the school day rather than after school, apart from sports matches and rehearsals. This also means the girls can continue attending any clubs or activities they enjoy participating in outside of school. It also ensure the girls have sufficient time for homework and can spend valuable time with family and friends outside school.

School holiday clubs

We have a School holiday club that runs throughout all our school holidays, run by Oxford Active. The holiday club is based at our Lower School site and is for children up to 11 years old. It is open to children outside St Mary’s, meaning those with brothers elsewhere or those who will be joining the school to attend as well. Attending the holiday club is a lovely way for those who will be starting at the school to meet others who will be joining. It also provides an opportunity for girls joining to speak to pupils who are already at the school, and get an insight into St Mary’s Senior School life.

Holiday club days run from 8.15am-6pm and you can book individual days or whole weeks. Sessions often include arts and crafts, drama, sports, adventure and games.

Moving on with confidence

At St Mary’s, your daughter will be inspired, build resilience, advance academically, learn what interests her and grow.

Using our expertise in educating girls, we empower pupils by inspiring them to see the world as one of limitless possibilities. Research suggests girls in all-girls schools have higher aspirations, greater motivation and are challenged to achieve more. There is also evidence that attending an all-girls school can impact on subject choice and career paths. For example, girls in single-sex schools are more likely to study maths and sciences, including computer science, and enter male-dominated fields such as engineering.

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. A number also go to boarding schools.

Our aim is to empower girls to thrive at St Mary’s and beyond. Due to the confidence the girls develop while at the school, the girls feel ready to take their next steps and can choose the path that suits them best.

“The many leadership opportunities within the school enable pupils to develop a strong understanding of their responsibilities to each other and the local community”

From ISI inspection report 2023 - rated 'excellent'

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