The Curriculum and Academic Subjects

girl studyingAll 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 throughout the School 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 that broadly follows the guidelines of the National Curriculum. They are taught mainly in their Form groups, with setting across the year in Mathematics and French.  The girls have two lessons of Chinese per week.

In Years 8 and 9 (MIV Form - UIV Form), Spanish is taught alongside French and Chinese, and a further language - German or Classical Greek - is introduced in Year 9.

All girls follow courses in Critical Thinking and Personal Development, and Careers Education is introduced in Year 9. They all study the following core subjects: Art, IT, 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 10 GCSEs - the 7 core subjects plus 3 or 4 options.

All girls study the following GCSEs: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, one Modern Foreign Language, Science (Double or Triple Award) and Religious Studies (short course).

They may also choose from the following options: Geography, History, French, German, Spanish, Classical Greek, Latin, Art, Drama, Music, Religious Studies (full course).

A wealth of languages is catered for on demand, including Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Personal Development, Careers Education and Study Skills are also timetabled. Physical Education continues to be an important part of the timetable, as does a course in Critical Thinking.

Sixth Form Curriculum

In the LVI Form (Year 12) most girls will choose four subjects to study to AS Level with a view to continuing three to A Level in the UVI Form.

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

Italian is offered as a GCSE subject for Sixth Formers.

In addition, girls follow supplementary courses in Physical Education, Personal Development and Careers Education. Girls who are not studying ICT to A Level follow a general Information Technology course which leads to the European Computer Driving Licence qualification (ECDL). All girls 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.