St Mary's School Named Finalists in BSA Boarding Excellence Awards

St Mary's School Named Finalists in BSA Boarding Excellence Awards

We are delighted to announce that St Mary's School has been selected as a Finalist for the prestigious BSA Boarding Excellence Awards in the category of 'Boarding Innovation'. This recognition highlights our commitment to delivering exceptional boarding provision through innovative practices and the expertise of practitioners.

We pride ourselves on providing a 'home away from home' for junior and senior girls aged 9 to 18. Our modern and secure boarding facility, Mary Ward House, serves as a sanctuary where students continue to develop academically, socially, and emotionally after school.

One of the innovative practices that secured us the BSA Boarding Excellence Finalist status was the implementation of an innovative project using ‘Work Discussions’ as a form of reflective practice. Originating from psychoanalysis, this technique allows our boarding staff to critically reflect on their experiences, emotions, and interactions with students. The project was led by our Housemistress, Katie Phillips, who is a qualified Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, and has completed an MEd at the University of Cambridge where she explored the potential of ‘Work Discussions’ as a tool for reflective practice within boarding schools.

The sessions encourage staff to become more empathic, reflective, and aware of relational dynamics within the boarding community – all contributing an enhanced boarding experience for our students.


The positive outcomes are evident:

  • Boarding staff have embraced deeper understanding, empathy and reflection about boarders' thoughts, feelings, and defences.
  • Staff have heightened their awareness of their own emotional responses in various situations, empowering them to better manage a range of complex situations.
  • Through these enhancements, our boarding practice has evolved to be more purposeful and thoughtful, guaranteeing the well-being and success of our students.


As finalists in the BSA Boarding Excellence Awards, we are excited to continue innovating and providing exceptional experiences for our students, both national and international.

Winners for the BSA Excellence Awards are announced on 7 May. Learn more about our boarding house and the transformative experiences we offer by visiting our boarding webpages.