St Mary's School, Shaftesbury
|Motto||Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
To the Greater Glory of God
|Type||Independent day and boarding school|
|Headmistress||Mrs M Arnal|
|Resident Priest||Fr Andrew Moore|
|Chair of Governors||Maj Gen Sir S Roberts|
|Founder||Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
|Location||Donhead St Mary
|Students||243 (January 2016)|
|Publication||The Beech Tree|
Although the school's postal address is in Dorset, its site lies just over the county border in Wiltshire, within the parish of Donhead St Mary.
St Mary's was founded in 1945 by the nuns of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also known as the Sisters of Loreto) whose principles are based on the life and works of The Ven Mary Ward. Hence it has the same motto as its sister schools in Ascot and Cambridge.
The school became a registered charity in 1995 and is managed by a board of governors, but 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 are full-time and are organised by year groups into seven boarding houses.
- Hewarth: Years 7-8
- Loyola: Year 9
- Givendale: Years 9-12
- Harewell: Years 9-12
- Mulwith: Years 9-12
- Newby: Years 9-12
- Mary Ward: 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. Music is an important part of life at St Mary’s, with a £1m complex housing individual practice rooms and a concert hall. Drama and art are also popular with frequent cultural trips.
Notable former pupils
- Freeman, Jane; Stevenson, Janet H (1987). Crowley, D.A., ed. "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 13 pp126-138: Donhead St Andrew". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
- Faith Life
- "Gold star for girls' school". Dorset Echo. 13 May 2007.
- "Introduction to Boarding". St Mary's Shaftesbury. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "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.