The Curriculum and Academic Subjects

ScienceAll teaching at St Mary’s shares a common goal: to enable girls to engage with their subjects and with the cross-curricular skills that will allow them to be successful later in life - flexibility, curiosity, self-criticism and thinking skills.

Critical Thinking is taught in both the Fourth Form and in the Sixth Form and builds on the skills developed in all subjects, where girls are encouraged to challenge assumptions, argue their case and weigh evidence before making judgements. IT skills are seen as an essential component of the ‘toolkit’ with which pupils leave us and are taught both in a timetabled lesson in each year group and in the context of specific subjects.

Girls are taught research, coursework and study skills and are prepared for the rigour of public examinations. They develop independence of thought, and enquiring minds and sound powers of judgment. They consistently achieve superb results in public examinations and go on to higher education, with a good number each year often successfully applying to Oxbridge.

Junior Curriculum (Years 7-9)

In Years 7-9 (LIV Form - UIV Form), the girls experience a balanced and stretching curriculum. They are taught mainly in their form groups with setting for Mathematics. All girls in LIV Form have an hour's Mandarin tuition each week.

In Years 8 and 9 (MIV Form - UIV Form), girls pick up a second Modern Foreign language from a choice of Spanish, German and Mandarin, and a further language - Classical Greek - can be added in Year 9.

All girls follow courses in Critical Thinking and Personal Development. They all study the following core subjects: Art, Computing, Music, Drama, Latin, Physical Education / Games, English, Mathematics, Religious Studies, Geography, Modern Languages, Science and History.

GCSE Curriculum (Years 10-11)

Most girls at St Mary’s study 10½ GCSEs - the 7½ core subjects plus 3 options.

All girls study the following GCSEs: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, one Modern Foreign Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics (although it is likely that some girls will sit Dual Award Science) and Religious Studies (short course).

They may also choose from the following options: Geography, History, French, German, Spanish, Classical Greek, Latin, Art, Drama, Music, Mandarin and Computing.

Additional languages can be catered for on demand, including Italian, Russian and Japanese. Personal Development is also timetabled and Physical Education continues to be an important part of the timetable.

Sixth Form Curriculum

In the LVI Form (Year 12) most girls will choose three subjects to study to A Level.

Girls may choose from the following A Levels: Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Classical Greek, Computing, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, Government / Politics, History, History of Art, Latin, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Studies, Spanish and Theatre Studies.

Supra Curriculum

In addition, girls follow supplementary courses in Physical Education, Personal Development and Careers Education. Girls who are not doing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) follow a course in Critical Thinking. 

Girls are given intensive personal guidance in choosing their A Level options and in preparing for university entrance. Oxbridge lessons are offered in the Autumn Term of UVI Form and girls have the opportunity to prepare EPQ (Extended Qualification Project) which will help support their university applications as well as develop the independent learning skills that are essential for successful undergraduate study.

All girls are expected to be involved in the School’s Lecture Programme as part of their enrichment activities. Many also choose to pursue the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in the Sixth Form.  Girls also have the opportunity to take part in our unique RADA Advanced Communication Skills course, enabling each student to realise her full potential as a communicator.