St Mary's School, Shaftesbury
|Motto||Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
To the Greater Glory of God
|Type||Independent day and boarding school|
|Headmaster||Mr R James|
|Resident Priest||Fr Andrew Moore|
|Chair of Governors||Maj Gen Sir S Roberts|
|Founder||Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
|Location||Donhead St Mary
|Publication||The Beech Tree|
St Mary's School is a member of the Girls' Schools Association.
St Mary's was founded by the nuns of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose ethos are based on the life and works of The Ven Mary Ward. Hence it shares the same motto as its sister schools in Ascot and Cambridge.
It became a registered charity in 1995, and is managed by a board of governors but still retains its strong Catholic ethos. As of September 2011, it changed its intake age from 9 to 11 and is now solely a secondary school.
As a Catholic school, pupils attend mass and worship services on a regular basis. Spirituality is considered an important part of school life. The houses take turns to lead services, giving pupils a chance to participate in the service themselves. Spiritual retreats are held by year groups throughout the year.
Over two thirds of its pupils are boarders. All boarders board full-time and are organised by year groups into six boarding houses.
- Hewarth: Years 7-8
- Givendale: Years 9-12
- Harewell: Years 9-12
- Mulwith: Years 9-12
- Newby: Years 9-12
- Mary Ward: Upper Sixth (Year 13)
St Mary's is one of the top performing independent schools in the county. It was one of the few schools in the county which did not suffer from the new GCSE grading system using the English Baccalaureate introduced in 2010 as candidates achieved a 100% pass rate.
Spirituality is at the heart of St Mary's and girls are involved at every level – from formal Masses to simple night prayers. Many local and international charities are supported by the school and fund raising events are organised by the school to support the charities.
Pupils compete at national and county level on the sports field and a 25m indoor pool has just been built. Music is an important part of life at St Mary’s – the £1m complex housing individual practice rooms and a concert hall. Drama and art are also popular with frequent cultural trips.
Notable former pupils
- Laura Lopes
- Lady Flora McDonnell
- Clare Smales
- Anna Chancellor
- Martha Fiennes
- Rosabel Crean
- Cosima Emmet
- Natasha Waterfield
- Hannah Bairsto
- Rozzy Beckett
- Alice Ashley
- Faith Life
- "Gold star for girls' school". Dorset Echo. 13 May 2007.
- Boarding: Introduction
- "2009 A levels results". Western Daily Press. 28 August 2009.
- "Dorset schools are winners in league tables". Dorset Echo. 13 January 2010.
- "Dorset schools hits back over league tables change". Western Daily Press. 13 January 2011.