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All round excellence, helped by well-stocked staff room (overall pupil-teacher ratio of six to one). Pupils span just about everything from the mid-range and below to the giddy super-bright heights. A well-managed process steers a careful line between encouragement and pressure. The universally cheerful and confident demeanor of sixth formers just about to enter final preparation for A2 exams indicated that it was working. Pupils rated supportive ethos - ‘It’s cool to work’, said one - and extensive out of hours access to staff. ‘So many of the teachers stay late…

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What the parents say...

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2015 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Best performance by Girls taking Music Performance: Group at an English Independent School (Grade 4 Music or Dance)
  • Excellent performance by Girls taking Religious Studies at an English Independent School (GCSE)

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 1999, Mrs Mary Breen BSc MSc (40s). Married, no children. Previously spent seven-year stint at Eton, where she ended up as head of physics. Before that, taught science at The Abbey School Reading.

Her career was kick-started by head at Wellington who, having appointed her husband to a teaching post, saw Mrs Breen’s useful physics degree lying fallow and suggested putting it to practical use. ‘A few months later, my first class was 22 Wellingtonians. I discovered I could do it and loved it,’ she says. The rest, as they say, is history or, in her case, science.

The school’s first lay head, she has commendably piloted St Mary’s through the choppy waters of changing educational fashions without once changing course. The result is a school...

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Special Education Needs

On entry to the school all girls are given a short screening test. Where there are individual concerns, these are followed up with further tests and if appropriate referral to an educational psychologist. Girls who have been diagnosed with dyslexia or dyspraxia (3%) receive regular help outside lesson times from the specialist dyslexia teacher. Girls identified as needing support in other areas meet with teachers in the special needs team. Girls recognised as gifted and talented in each year form an express group who meet on a regular basis to explore challenging topics. They are also stretched in their lessons using differentiated work. If any girl experiences difficulties at any stage her subject teachers, tutor, Head of House or parents can refer her to the special needs team where further investigation will take place. 10-09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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