School History

School History

St. Mary’s School was one of the earliest establishments to reflect changing Victorian attitudes to the education of women.  It was established in 1872 in Paddington, then a relatively wealthy area of London. The original founders were the Sister of the Community of St. Mary the Virgin, Wantage.  This Anglican Foundation was responsible for the running of the school until 1901 when the Sisters relinquished control.

In the years which have followed, though the extent of the religious teaching in the school has changed, St. Mary’s has remained committed to the beliefs and ethics of the Church of England, although girls of all religions and denominations are welcomed.

In 1911 came the school’s first move and for a while, an alteration of name.  The school moved to Lancaster Gate where it was known as St. Mary’s College, a change possibly brought about by the development of a teacher’s training College alongside the Junior and Senior Schools.

The second move was the one which brought St. Mary’s Junior and Senior Schools to Gerrards Cross.  The year was 1937 and initially the school was based in a house in Orchehill Avenue, before moving to its present more spacious site in Packhorse Road. In 1937 this house was owned by the Sharpe family and the freehold was sold by Harrods for the princely sum of £7,000!

Prior to this, in 1842, the estate was purchased by William Blount, who had recently married Lady Charlotte, daughter of the Duke of Somerset. The house was greatly enlarged and altered, with Gothic windows and tall chimneys. Inside, the drawing room was enhanced with a highly ornate raised ceiling – see top right (now the Senior School library).

St. Mary’s School grew and grew. For a short period in the 1970s boys were admitted up to the age of seven, but that practice stopped and St. Mary’s has been an all girls school since then. There was also a period when St. Mary’s had a boarding house (now the Nursery and Key Stage 1 part of Prep).

Many of our old girls come back to visit us and remember their school days as they wander round. All of them remember St. Mary’s fondly and have enjoyed their time here, however brief.

Like any organisation with over 100 years of history, St. Mary’s has a strong sense of tradition.  It is our firmly held belief that this accumulated experience provides a strong base upon which to build for the future, provided we never let it inhibit progress.

MEET THE HEAD

Meet our Head,
Mrs Jean Ross, and discover
her passion for education
and how St Mary’s could
be the perfect school
for your daughter.

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COME TO OUR OPEN DAY

  • Whole School Open Day

    Saturday 14 October 2017  10.00 – 12.30
    (Early Years to Sixth Form)

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WHAT OUR PARENTS SAY

Mrs Ross the Headmistress assured me that she would help my daughter to become the very best that she could be. With great academic results and a well balanced and happy daughter I believe this has been achieved… Read More

St Mary’s has given our daughter a platform to grow – to be stretched academically & to shine theatrically and musically.  All her needs and ours have been met and we can only applaud St Mary’s staff for their positive attitude… Read More

From the day we first went to look around both my daughter and I have been made to feel incredibly welcome… Read More