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What says..

 Small numbers of keen learners able to flourish in classes the girls uniformly describe as ‘fun.’ No whistles and bells when it comes to facilities, and the fabric of the school is all rather higgledy piggledy, but somehow it all just works and even little ones talk about the school community as being ‘like a family.’ Astoundingly happy pupils skip (literally) around the school, with some saying they never want to go home and many resisting parents’ suggestions of taking the 11+ as they ‘never want to leave St Mary’s.’ Size of school means that very little passes by unnoticed...

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What the school says...

St. Mary's School Preparatory Department takes girls from Early Years to Year 6. A significant proportion of girls continue into the Senior House, although the strong 11+ success rate, 85%, means that some move onto the local Grammar schools. Academic excellence for every girl, remembering that excellent will mean different things for different girls; individual learning targets are set for each girl, enabling a genuinely tailored approach. The emphasis is on an inspiring curriculum, designed to encourage enquiring minds and a love of learning, ensuring the girls can do more than just pass exams. A key aspect of the school is the focus on specialist teaching. Responsibilities are allocated as the girls progress through the school to develop independence and self-assurance. There is a broad programme of extra-curricular activities so that every girl has a chance to identify and exploit her talents. An outstanding system of pastoral care which gives each girl the confidence and self esteem to thrive and succeed. ...Read more

What the parents say...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head of preparatory department

Since 2013, Mairead Carney BA DipHE (late 40s). Educated at University College Galway where she read English and French, followed by a higher diploma in education. Afterwards worked with disadvantaged local children before moving to London to pursue a career in investment banking. Had calling to teach after 11 years in business, so volunteered at Manor House School in Ealing, where she spent six years as a year 2 teacher, followed by another six at St Helen’s Hillingdon. Joined St Mary’s (as did her daughter, now in the senior school) as a form teacher in 2009 before becoming head of prep department following her predecessor’s retirement.

Warm, direct and ambitious for her charges. Keen to raise expectations of parents and ‘give girls tools to cope in a fast...

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