St Mary’s School
Promoted by St Mary's School Cambridge

Cool Cambridge: Where brilliant young women take their first steps

Hong Kong-born Becky always had high aspirations. Naturally, she was looking for the right school to not only elevate her future prospects but to allow for growth as an independent, high-achieving young woman.

She found it in St Mary’s School. Located in Cambridge, St Mary’s offers a unique and inspiring environment for girls aged three to 18 to find their calling. They stand out among the world’s best, celebrating highly successful examination results with 88% of A-Level grades in the A* to C range. Many end up attending the world’s greatest universities, including Oxbridge, LSE, King’s College London and more.

St Mary’s takes every step to ensure their students have the resources they need to grow as individuals and academics. With state-of-the-art facilities like music suites, sports centres and science labs, students can pursue their interests without limits. Couple this with a passionate faculty, bespoke subjects and varied extra-curricular activities and it makes for a fulfilling schooling environment for all.

Becky remembers feeling both excited and nervous on her first day. “Adapting to a new environment and meeting numerous new people presented challenges,” she says. “However, it turned out that many other students felt the same way, and we were able to support and empathise with one another. Their support, guidance, and encouragement created a welcoming atmosphere and helped ease the transition into my new surroundings.”

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A diverse and welcoming community awaits at St Mary’s School. Source: St Mary’s School

Becky chose to join St Mary’s as a boarder — stepping into a programme that recently gained national recognition for its innovation in boarding. She made lifelong friends and learnt crucial life skills, such as navigating shared spaces, expressing her feelings and concerns in a respectful manner and living with people from different backgrounds.

Notably, she joined a cohort who’s every bit as ambitious as herself — a great source of motivation that pushes her to explore, learn and create as much as possible. Much of this has to do with St Mary’s approach to education, which focuses on both academic and individual growth.

“Many schools select a narrow band of academically proficient students and then follow an equally narrow curriculum focused on exam grades,” explains Head of Sixth Form Robin Griffiths. “We recognise that our girls need to balance competing priorities in life, so we work with them to build skills that include their academic talents but do not exclude other important attributes. These include leadership, resilience, agility, thoughtfulness, and compassion.”

One of Becky’s favourite subjects is Psychology — which stemmed into a full-blown passion with the encouragement of her teachers, Mr. Quirk and Ms. Wood.

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St Mary’s is located in Cambridge, a city famed for developing some of the greatest academics in the world. Source: St Mary’s School

“Their passion for Psychology is contagious and their teaching methods cater to various learning styles, ensuring that every student has an opportunity to thrive,” she shares. “They go above and beyond by offering extra support during office hours, providing detailed feedback on assignments, and encouraging further exploration through additional resources and recommended readings.”

Skilled and knowledgeable educators are not uncommon at St Mary’s. Mr Griffiths himself is a veteran of the media and IT industries, having held leadership positions in science education since 2011 Their experience and enthusiasm ensure every student has the opportunity to expand their academic horizons.

Sabrina from Hong Kong experienced this first-hand. “When I told my teachers that I wanted to pursue Art History at university, they went all out to launch a brand new A Level subject tailored for any student who wished to study Art History, even if there were only three participants throughout the two-year course,” she says.

Outside of academia, Sixth Form students are encouraged to pursue activities that provide exposure to the real world and help them stand out as university applicants. “During my A-Levels, Ms. Avery had kindly arranged a museum experience for me where I got to do a talk at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge,” shares Sabrina. “Needless to say, this really boosted my application.”

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Educators at St Mary’s go above and beyond to help students pursue their dreams. Source: St Mary’s School

It’s an advantage to live and learn in the beautiful and historic city of Cambridge. “Cambridge is a genuinely inspirational place,” says Mr.Griffiths. “Whether you are applying to medicine at Cambridge, an apprenticeship in London, or Film and Theatre in New York, the sense of possibility, new horizons and success surround this place.

“More pragmatically, there are opportunities for talks, lectures and work experience due to the large concentration of cutting-edge businesses, museums and galleries, whilst festivals like Science Week and the Literary Festival attract events that similar-sized university towns can only dream of.”

Then there are the many other initiatives run by St Mary’s outside of academia. The Outduction Programme, for example, was developed after students expressed a desire to learn the essential skills and knowledge to navigate adulthood.

“They had told us that whilst they were intellectually confident, that they were able to make new friends and work successfully with others, there were some ‘life skill’ areas in which they were less confident,” explains Mr. Griffiths. “These included areas such as student finances, self-defence, sexual health and rights under the law. Ms. Elliott (our Head of Boarding) created a bespoke programme for our Year 13 girls to address these.”

St Mary’s graduates become independent thinkers and leaders at university and beyond. “Through exposure to a diverse range of subjects, extra-curricular activities, and interactions with inspiring educators, I have been able to explore my interests and strengths,” says Becky. “St Mary’s School has nurtured my intellectual curiosity and provided the foundation for my future academic and career aspirations.”

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