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St Mary`s School
, SP7 9LP, UK Shaftesbury
+44 (0)1747 854216


St Mary's is a successful thriving 9 - 18 independent catholic boarding school for girls with a strong ethos based on the life and ideas of Mary Ward and we welcome girls of all Christian denominations.

At St Mary's we are proud of our history as an all girls school with all the advantages on offer. While recent research has established that girls in single sex schools achieve 16% more top grades at A level than co-ed schools, we always aim to empower each young woman to aspire to fulfil her potential in every dimension of her life.

St Mary's Shaftesbury is a dynamic community. The spiritual, personal, intellectual and physical development of all our students is mirrored in our provision of high-quality facilities and buildings.


The Sixth Form is a tremendous time. While there are still considerable pressures upon you in terms of public examinations, it is a period of just under two years where you will find yourself rising to new challenges and moving towards the independence of university or working life.


Boarding at St Mary's:There is one junior house, Hewarth, and four houses from year 9 upwards, namely Givendale, Harewell, Mulwith and Newby. The Upper Sixth luxuriate in the comfort of Mary Ward house.


Here, the girls are challenged to reach their individual potential but we aim to make learning fun too. So, we make the most of our extensive school grounds and the surrounding Dorset landscape and its history, to offer different ways of learning through Science, History and Geography field trips and our school garden project: you will be able to see photographs of these on this web page. We aim to provide an environment where our children can express themselves freely and our girls are articulate, sociable and full of fun.

Equally important to their development is a spiritual dimension to their lives and a recognition that we need to care for others. All denominations are welcome and our daily prayers devised by each tutor group start each day while the boarders close their evenings with night prayers. Each class prepares an annual Mass. Children who come in to the Junior School can be prepared for First Holy Communion and we aim to make their day in May a very special celebration.

The Junior School has its own boarding house known as the “cubies”. We live as a family and we pride ourselves on knowing our girls well: Mrs Key is Head of Academic matters while Mrs Seal is Acting Head of Boarding. In year 9 (UIV) boarders move up to a Senior School house. Week-ends are packed with activities both in school (cookery, circus skills) and out (sailing, ice-skating, rock climbing, not to mention the annual visit to Thorpe Park). Day girls are always welcome to come along on any trip.

The performing arts flourish here, with the Junior School producing the workhouse boys chorus for the whole school production of “Oliver!” in 2005 as well as performing in their own music and drama productions each year. We have a weekly Drama lesson as part of the curriculum and an after school Drama Club too. Last year we introduced the Suzuki method of teaching the violin to our youngest girls and there is a flourishing Junior Choir as well as individual instrumental lessons.

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