History and ethos

A compassionate community

Christian values such as integrity, justice, hard work and freedom sit at the heart of our forward-looking education.

Our history

Girls of all faiths and secular backgrounds thrive in our school, which has a rich Catholic heritage. Our history is rooted in the vision of Mary Ward (1585-1645), a pioneer of education for girls.

Founded in 1898, St Mary’s School, Cambridge was created to offer an education based on the values that now inspire a global network of almost 200 Mary Ward Schools.

Our ethos

Mary Ward lived a life of integrity, discernment, courage and love. Her life is reflected in the Values of a Mary Ward School that sit at the heart of our forward-looking education. She was also a change-maker who believed that “Women in time to come will do much.”

Today, we inspire our girls to ‘do much’ – to aim high, to be courageous, compassionate, generous and confident in challenging injustice in the world. At the core of our ethos, is a belief in the value of each individual. In practice, this means that each student is valued, upheld and listened to.

Our School Aims, created by staff and students, reflect our history and ethos in everyday school life.

Our school

Over the past 120 years we have become experts in educating girls. Our ethos has created a place where girls find the courage to be themselves. Our rich curriculum helps girls to discover, develop and share their unique talents. From sports stars and performers, to creators and thinkers - we encourage every student to pursue her individual talents with passion and determination.

“I like the ethos of St Mary’s better than any of the other schools that we looked at. What I particularly liked about this school was that it has a holistic approach to education and I think that the staff are as concerned about the social and emotional development of the students as they are with the examination results." Parent

St Mary’s School, Cambridge recognises its obligations under section 78 of the Education Act (2002) which requires schools, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students at the school and of society as well as to actively promote fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Expectations in all these areas are adjusted for the age and ability of students, including those with special needs. School policies.