St Mary's School, Calne

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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; -2.008Coordinates: 51°26′28″N 2°00′29″W / 51.441°N 2.008°W / 51.441; -2.008
TypeIndependent day and boarding school
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderCanon John Duncan
Department for Education URN126513 Tables
HeadmistressDr Felicia Kirk BA (University of Maryland), MA (Brown University), PhD (Brown University)
ChaplainRev. Jonathon Beach
Age11 to 18
Houses3 (Junior)
4 (Senior)
Colour(s)Navy, Light Blue and White
Companies     Edmund Rich

St Mary's School is an independent day and boarding school in Calne, Wiltshire for girls aged 11 to 18. It is full boarding or day. The boarders usually go home roughly once a month, some more than that. 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, 2017) in the Education Advisers' Best UK Schools list.[3] St Mary's Calne's Science Department is also 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). The school recently completed a £10.5 million boarding refurbishment programme (the new 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 is being built (to be completed in April 2018). 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, these include top universities in the UK, USA and other destinations). 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. St Mary's Calne scored 'well above the national average', to be in the elite group of only 4% of schools in England with this value added score. (DfE school comparison chart can be found here: 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). Alongside the academic curriculum, St Mary's Calne offers a superb breadth of opportunities in Sport, Music, Drama and Art and an extensive extra-curricular programme ('Pupils excel in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities' – ISI Report, 2017).


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]

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 public speaking and maths challenges.[5] There are currently seven boarding houses at St. Mary's. Each year group from LIV to UVI stay in their respective houses. The houses are School House, St. Prisca's, St. Cecelia's, Gibbins, Joyce Walters, Florence Dyas and Helen Wright. The newest house among all is Florence Dyas, the new home to LVI girls, which was opened in September 2014.


Around 80% of the girls board. Day girls are actively welcomed into the Boarding Houses where in most Houses they have places allocated within dormitories which facilitates staying overnight in House. Between the ages of eleven and fourteen, girls sleep in dormitories in three junior houses called School House, St Prisca's and St Cecilia's, each of which has a Housemistress or Housemaster and a Deputy Housemistress, as well as a Day Housemistress. After the age of fourteen, girls have their own single study room in one of four senior houses. Florence Dyas and Helen Wright are houses for Sixth Form students. Rooms are en-suite and are equipped with personal shower cubicles.[6]

The school has a health centre, with Registered Nurses and a counsellor. Independent Listener services are also provided for the girls.[7]

The school has a dining room, run as a cafeteria, and serves meals three times a day for all staff and students. The Helen Wright House also has its own dining area, where Upper Sixth students are allowed to have breakfast and lunch in House instead of the school's dining room. Food is reviewed by the food committee, which consists of representatives from each year group. In 2005, the school won the Tatler Award for Best School Food.[8]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

In addition to music, drama and sports clubs and practices, there is horse-riding, cooking, debating, photography and a range of art and craft clubs, as well as First Aid. Many students choose to pursue the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in the sixth form. They also have the opportunity to take part in the RADA Advanced Communication Skills course.[9] The lower sixth run a Young Enterprise company.

Former headmistresses[edit]

° 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.


External links[edit]