Lord Wandsworth Leaderboard

St Mary’s Rated EXCELLENT By Independent School Inspectorate

Published by St Mary's Colchester Senior School on Monday 20th of March 2023

Following a recent Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) inspection, St Mary’s is thrilled to have been rated excellent across its Kindergarten, Lower School and Senior School!


Principal, Mrs Nicola Griffiths, expressed her delight:


“The girls at the school and the children in our Kindergarten really showcased all that St Mary’s had to offer, and it was wonderful that the inspectors recognised the talents and outstanding behaviour the pupils here exhibit in abundance.”

This ‘Excellent’ rating is the highest award given and covers the two inspections areas ‘the quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements’ and ‘the quality of the pupils’ personal development’. The inspection also included a ‘focused compliance inspection’ where the school was judged as having met the eight required standards.


Mrs Nicola Griffiths, who joined St Mary’s as Principal in September 2021, announced:


“I have great pleasure in sharing the news of our ‘Excellent’ rating from the outcome of our ISI inspection which took place in February. It was wonderful to read the key findings, which emphasised the high levels of attainment across the curriculum for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), in National Curriculum tests for Year 6 and at GCSE level, as well as the excellent communication skills demonstrated by the girls at both the Lower School and Senior School. I was thrilled that the inspectors picked up on the strong relationships between our teachers and pupils, which nurtures a positive mind-set to learning amongst the girls. The numerous leadership options were recognised, along with the girls’ strong decision-making and collaboration skills.” Mrs Griffiths went on to say “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the pupils, parents, staff and Governors for their support. I am very proud to be part of such a wonderful community which puts the pupils at the heart of everything we do.”

The inspectors from ISI conducted a thorough visit to St Mary’s Kindergarten, Lower School and Senior School where they observed children and staff in lessons, reviewed examples of pupils’ work, conducted interviews with members of staff and school governors and attended form meetings and assemblies. They also gained an insight into the wide variety of extra-curricular activities available as well as taking a look at the curriculum offer alongside facilities and resources. Parents, staff and pupils’ input was also reviewed and collated via pre-inspection questionnaires.


The report states that ‘Pupils reach excellent levels of attainment in lessons, work and public examinations’. This is evident from the results seen across the school. At the Kindergarten and Lower School, 94% of children in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) achieved expected outcomes in 2022 and 94% of Year 6 pupils achieved expected levels in reading and writing, with 97% achieving the same level in mathematics. At the Senior School, GCSE results have been high in comparison to national averages, with almost half of the grades awarded in 2022 were level 9 to 7 (equivalent to A/A*).


In lessons, the youngest pupils were observed ‘forming letters neatly and accurately’ while in subjects such as maths and history, the girls were commended for their aptitude for complex problem-solving and analytical skills. The quality of the participation in creative subjects such as art, drama and music at both the Lower School and Senior School was also highlighted, with girls praised for performances of a ‘high standard’ and for creating ‘accomplished’ artwork.


It was recognised that St Mary’s pupils ‘enjoy their sport at the school’ and that ‘participation levels are high’. This combination of opportunities available to the pupils,’ supported by the emphasis on pastoral care and the St Mary’s culture of monitoring pupils’ progress and wellbeing, allows the girls to develop and express themselves to be reflective learners. Inspectors detailed that they had observed pupils’ behaviour, which was ‘overwhelmingly positive’.


With limited places available at both St Mary’s Lower School and Senior School, anyone interested in finding out more about the complete education, rated ‘Excellent’ by the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) should attend an Open Day or arrange an individual tour. St Mary’s Registrar, Mrs Justine Tierney can be contacted on 01206 594256 or registrar@stmaryscolchester.org.uk or via the Admissions section of the website.

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