St Mary’s Lower School

St Mary’s Lower School is ranked in the top 25 highest performing Prep Schools in England by the Sunday Times.

In our small classes we’re able to tailor our teaching to each and every student, not just in terms of level but also preferred method of learning. We also monitor progress closely to ensure each girl is fully supported, encouraged and stretched in every area.

Please note: The Preparatory (Reception) class for September 2020 is full. Registrations are open for September 2021 onwards. After siblings, date of registration is considered when offering places.

Preparatory Class, Years 1 & 2 £3,395
Years 3 & 4 £3,915
Years 5 & 6 £4,215

There are three terms per academic year. Fees include lunch and drinks, certain books, and extra tuition and learning support required.

Four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week during term time. Please get in touch with our Registrar on 01206 594180 or at to find out more.

Find out more about fees, including spreading the cost and what's included

There are a range of ways for parents to pay their fees, including spreading your fees and paying monthly through My School Fee Plan, 0% APR.

Parents who wish to pay several years’ fees in advance, may be able to take advantage of a discount and should contact the Finance Office for a quote.

Please note that fees are reviewed every Summer term.

St Mary’s School fees are inclusive of:

  • lunch and drinks
  • certain books are included in the fees, but there are some additional books (depending on the subjects) that do incur an extra cost
  • extra tuition and learning support are also included in school fees
  • accident insurance

Additional fees or ‘extras’ include:

  • Entry fees for external examinations are not included and are payable separately on application. This is normal at most independent schools.
  • Private music lessons are available for singing, all string, woodwind and brass instruments, guitar and drums. The fees range between £15-£20 per session,  payable to the individual music teacher.
  • Breakfast Club, £2.75
  • Homework Club, £2.50
  • There are some extra-curricular activities that incur an additional cost (eg ballet, tennis etc). These costs will be outlined before pupils sign up.
  • Some trips, both optional and part of the curriculum, incur a cost.

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About St Mary's

St Mary’s is an independent school in Colchester, Essex for girls age 3-16 and boys age 3-4. We are proud to have charitable status, meaning all fees are reinvested into the school.

We are also truly independent, with no owners or shareholders, and are overseen by a committed governing body who help ensure we provide a high quality and brilliantly balanced education, and a happy learning environment.

We’re also the only independent provider of single sex education in Colchester. We’re part of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) and are experts in contemporary girls’ education.

Academic excellence

St Mary’s Lower School is ranked in the top 25 highest performing Prep Schools in England by the Sunday Times. Alongside English, Maths, Science, ICT, Languages and Humanities, pupils follow a rich Personal Social Health, Citizenship and Economic Education programme, including philosophical enquiries.

Pupils here are performing at over twice the national average in spelling and grammar, reading and writing. We also have a high 11+ pass rate for those who choose to sit the exam, alongside a consistently strong record of scholarship offers to independent secondary schools, including our Senior School, where Lower School girls along with siblings are given priority for places offered.

We’re able to achieve such success by tailoring the education to suit the needs of each individual in our small classes, and by giving the pupils the encouragement and support they need to aim high.

Brilliantly balanced eduaction

We strive to ensure our education is brilliantly balanced and we seek to provide opportunities for the girls to grow and develop wherever we can.

We often have special guests visit to give inspirational talks and run interactive workshops. Themed days and weeks, from charity days to Science week and Eco week, are packed with practical classes, fun activities and opportunities to try something new.

Pupils’ horizons are broadened through Music, Art, Drama, Ballet, Sport and Forest School, taught by specialist teachers.

Pupils take part in a huge number of visits, clubs and activities, all designed to increase their understanding of the world and introduce them to new skills and interests.

Caring community

Our pastoral support is at the centre of all we do and we’re delighted the national Wellbeing Award for Schools recognises our excellence in this area. Pupils thrive when they are happy and as a small school, every girl is known and understood.

The atmosphere at the school is calm, supportive and nurturing. Every pupil is valued and the girls here are not afraid to have a go at something new, to take risks or put themselves forward to be a leader. It is in this positive environment where the girls develop the self-confidence needed to really blossom.

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