St Mary's School, Calne

Coordinates: 51°26′28″N 2°00′29″W / 51.441°N 2.008°W / 51.441; -2.008
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St Mary's School
St Mary's School logo.png
Curzon Street

, ,
SN11 0DF

Coordinates51°26′28″N 2°00′29″W / 51.441°N 2.008°W / 51.441; -2.008
TypePrivate day and boarding school
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderCanon John Duncan
Department for Education URN126513 Tables
HeadmistressFelicia Kirk
ChaplainRev. Jonathan Beach
Age11 to 18
Houses3 (Junior)
4 (Senior)
Colour(s)Navy, Light Blue and White
Companies  Edmund Rich
  Poore Edit this at Wikidata

St Mary's School is a private day and boarding school in Calne, Wiltshire, for girls aged 11 to 18. The school is a registered charity.[1]

St Mary's Calne is the top performing independent school in the South West, ranked by 2017 examination results published in The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018, 'Parent Power' [2] and ranks in the top 3 best girls' boarding schools (based on A*-A grades in A Levels, 2018) in the Education Advisers' Best UK Schools list.[3]


St Mary's was founded in 1873 by Canon John Duncan, Vicar of Calne, who worked for over thirty years to establish it as an 'outstanding' girls' school.[4]


In the 2017 ISI report, the school received a double 'excellent' – the highest possible grade – and the pupils consistently achieve outstanding examination results (90% of 2017 leavers gained places at their first-choice university).[citation needed]

In figures published in January 2017 by the Department for Education (DfE) regarding 2016 A Level results, St Mary's Calne got the top score for its 'value added' – that is, how much progress students who studied A Levels made between the end of Key Stage 4 and the end of their A Level studies, compared to similar students across England.[5] St Mary's Calne scored 'well above the national average', to be in the top 4% of schools in England with this value added score.

In A Level league tables published by The Telegraph in January 2017, based on DfE figures for 2016 A Level results, St Mary's Calne was the top performing school in the region (out of 32 schools).[citation needed]

Houses and Companies[edit]

The school is divided into five Companies, all named after bishops with local connections: Edmund Rich (sometimes called Ed Rich), Grosseteste, Moberly, Osmund, and Poore. Each girl remains in the same Company throughout her time at the school. The Companies are similar to houses in other independent schools, except that they have nothing to do with the house a girl sleeps in. The Companies compete in sport, drama, music, and other activities such as quizzes, public speaking, and maths challenges.[6]

There are seven boarding houses, for each year group from LIV to UVI. The houses are School House, St. Prisca's, St. Cecilia's, Gibbins, Joyce Walters, Florence Dyas, and Helen Wright. The newest house is Florence Dyas, the LVI house, which was opened in September 2014.


Around 80% of the girls board, and day girls can sleep over. Between the ages of eleven and fourteen, girls sleep in dormitories in three junior houses, each of which has a Housemistress and a Deputy Housemistress, and a Day Housemistress. After the age of fourteen, girls have their own single study room in one of four senior houses. In the sixth form, rooms are en-suite.[7]

The school recently completed a £10.5 million boarding refurbishment programme (the Lower Sixth Form House won the 2016 West of England LABC Building Excellence awards for Best Educational Building) and a new, multi-million pound sports complex was opened in 2018.

The school has a dining room, 12,000+ book library,[8] chapel, and theatre. St Mary's Calne's Science Department is one of just 10 schools in the UK to be awarded the Platinum Science Mark (and the first independent school in the UK to achieve this accolade)

Extracurricular activities[edit]

('Pupils excel in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities' – ISI Report, 2017)

The range of extra-curricular activities offered by the school is broad, with music, sport, drama, and art activities offered alongside horse-riding, the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, and other volunteering opportunities.


  • Miss Richardson 1873–1876
  • Miss Jones 1876–1883
  • Miss Pells 1883–1885
  • Miss Leeson 1885–1888
  • Miss Florence Dyas 1888–1911
  • Miss Rachel Donaldson 1911–1915
  • Miss Marcia Matthews 1915–1945
  • Miss Joyce Field 1945–1946
  • Miss Elizabeth Gibbins 1946–1972
  • Mrs Joyce Walters 1972–1985
  • Miss Delscey Burns 1985–1996
  • Mrs Carolyn Shaw 1996–2003
  • Dr Helen Wright 2003–2012
  • Dr Felicia Kirk 2013 to date

Notable alumnae[edit]


  • Kay Stedmond (1986). St Mary's School Calne 1873–1986. B. A. Hathaway. ISBN 0-948640-10-3.


  1. ^ "309482 – St Mary's School (Calne)". Charity Commission.
  2. ^ "Parent Power 2021: Best UK Schools Guide and League Table".
  3. ^ "Girls' Boarding Schools by a Levels and Pre U".
  4. ^ Kay Stedmond (1986). St Mary's School Calne 1873–1986. B. A. Hathaway. ISBN 0-948640-10-3.
  5. ^ "Compare school performance". National Statistics. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  6. ^ "The Companies". School website.
  7. ^ "Boarding". School website.
  8. ^ "St Mary's Calne Library / Woods Bagot". 28 February 2021.
  9. ^ Jack Grimston; Julia Llewellyn Smith (14 December 2003). "Focus: Orf to the circus". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013.
  10. ^ John Calder (24 September 1998). "Obituary: April FitzLyon". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Eva Rice".

External links[edit]