St Mary's School, Calne

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St Mary's School
St Mary's School logo.png
Established 1873
Type Independent day and boarding school
Religion Church of England
Headmistress Dr Felicia Kirk BA (University of Maryland), MA (Brown University), PhD (Brown University)
Chaplain Rev. Jonathon Beach
Founder Canon John Duncan
Location Curzon Street
SN11 0DF
Coordinates: 51°26′28″N 2°00′29″W / 51.441°N 2.008°W / 51.441; -2.008
DfE number 865/6016
DfE URN 126513 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 90~
Students 350~
Gender Girls
Ages 11–18
Houses 3 (Junior)
4 (Senior)
Colours 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. The school is a registered charity.[1] 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 (at the end of Year 11, after GCSE Levels) 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). Girls consistently achieve outstanding examination results and go on to selective universities in the UK, USA and other destinations. Fees are £9,050 per term for day pupils and £12,150 per term for boarders.


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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

The school has a health centre, with Registered Nurses and a counsellor. Independent Listener services are also provided for the girls.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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]

  • Laura Bechtolsheimer MBE — Gold medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics
  • Kristina Blahnik - CEO Manolo Blahnik
  • Clare Cameron — sister of Prime Minister David Cameron
  • Arabella Dorman - British War Artist and Portrait Painter
  • Lucy Hughes-Hallett — Author and winner of the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction
  • Lady Emma Herbertcircus trapeze artist and stuntwoman.[8]
  • April FitzLyon — biographer and translator.[9]
  • Dame Jennifer Jenkins - former Chair of the Consumers' Association, of the Historic Buildings Council and of the National Trust
  • Endellion Lycett-Green - Artist
  • Sara Maitland - Author
  • Elizabeth Moireducationalist
  • Roya Nikkhah — Journalist and Broadcaster
  • Marina Parker - BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker
  • Victoria Parker - Former Senior Vice President of Theatrical Productions and Corporate Affairs for Harvey Weinstein
  • Eva Rice — singer-songwriter and novelist, daughter of Tim Rice.[10]
  • Belinda Stewart-Wilson — Actress
  • Rosamund Strode — Benjamin Britten's musical assistant and amanuensis for the last 12 years of his life
  • Tara Sutton — war correspondent


  • 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. ^ Kay Stedmond (1986). St Mary’s School Calne 1873-1986. B. A. Hathaway. ISBN 0-948640-10-3. 
  3. ^ "The Companies". School website. 
  4. ^ "Boarding". School website. 
  5. ^ "The Medical Centre". School website. 
  6. ^ "Food". School website. 
  7. ^ "The Curriculum and Academic Subjects". School website. 
  8. ^ Jack Grimston; Julia Llewellyn Smith (14 December 2003). "Focus: Orf to the circus". The Sunday Times. 
  9. ^ John Calder (24 September 1998). "Obituary: April FitzLyon". The Independent. 
  10. ^ "Eva Rice". 

External links[edit]