The Year 13 geography A level students spent 3 days working on their fieldwork skills and exploring the Jurassic coast. These are places that they have been learning about within the geography curriculum throughout their time at St. Mary’s and so it was a joy for them to finally see them in real life. They visited the urban settlement of Boscombe where they investigated regeneration, the iconic coastal locations of Swanage Bay, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove and explored the unique town of Poundbury. The students worked late into the evenings preparing them to produce independent investigations of the highest quality.

We are proud to announce that St Mary’s CE High School has been awarded the Emotional and Mental Wellbeing in SchoolMark, achieving ‘Advanced Practice’ in their whole school approach to supporting students, staff and their families.

Designed as a self-review tool which guides schools through a process of reflecting on current practice and identifying both strengths, and areas for improvement, the Schools Mark replaces the Healthy Young Minds in Herts Kitemark Accreditation which St Mary’s previously held.

Aligned to the eight principles proposed by the Department for Education’s guidance for promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges, the Schools Mark was co-designed with education professionals by the Emotional Mental Wellbeing in Education Team; part of Hertfordshire’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health System,

The eight areas are: Leadership and Management; Environment and ethos; Curriculum, teaching and learning; Pupil voice; Staff development, health and wellbeing; Identifying need, impact and monitoring; Working with parents, families, and carers; Targeted support and appropriate referrals.

Here are just some of the Assessor overall positive comments:

  • St Mary’s has a clear and thorough commitment to supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of pupils and staff.
  • St Mary’s ensures that emotional and mental wellbeing has a high profile within the school across pupils and staff.
  • Personal Development is embedded across the curriculum and delivered through teaching.
  • High participation in external wellbeing activities such as Feeling Good Week, Just Talk, 5 Ways to Wellbeing and The Anna Freud and Mind charities are demonstrated.
  • The school has made effective use of external speakers to amplify the messages they teach and continually look to grow the pool of agencies they work with.
  • St Mary’s promotes an active school council with opportunities for students to become Wellbeing and Anti-bullying Ambassadors as well as 6th form mentors.
  • Students are encouraged to express their views and opinions through adhering to Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines.
  • St Mary’s High has an exemplary referral process for internal interventions, with pupils identified and supported quickly.
  • The school provides many opportunities to recognise staff needs through drop-in sessions, ‘time to talk’ session and a menopause support group with the wellbeing area being accessed by both staff and students offering a space to talk and decompress.
  • It is clearly evident that the school supports all vulnerable groups.
  • The school website has a wealth of information for parents/carers and families about emotional wellbeing and mental health support, offering information evenings, workshops and training.
  • School explained how they are responding to examples of high level, complex needs of families, and going above and beyond to ensure that students feel supported and heard.

We celebrated British Science week 2024 with a wide range of activities, such as STEM lectures, lunch time experiments, whole school Science quizzes and a model competition.

On Monday Mr Bradley used rocket fuel and dry ice and made some rockets explode… there were some loud bangs across Science…

Also on Monday, Mrs Ogunwemno showed our students how does a pluck work and dissected lamb kidneys.

Tuesday, Mr McDougall entered the fields of genetics and isolated DNA from peas.

On Wednesday, our Year 12 Biologists and Mr Araujo guided our younger students through a moss safari.

Thursday was also very exciting with Year 13 Biologists and Mr Araujo testing different types of food to find their nutrients and making flame tests.

The model competition was won by Dilan in Year 7 with a model of the International Space Station. To complete the podium were Travis and Sergio, also in Year 7 with different models of the Solar System.

It was a busy  but inspiring week!

Club 9 – Geography students in Year 9 were invited to take part in a simulated Climate Summit. They were allocated roles and had to vote for changes to government policies and pitch for investment from the United Nations. They worked in teams to establish aims and priorities for their group and were very persuasive in their requests for funding.

Every one of the students who took part engaged fully with the activity and worked to solved climate change globally. We were encouraged to see budding climate policy makers in our midst.



The A level geographers took the opportunity to extend their knowledge of the global climate crisis by attending a lecture given by Dr Liam Saddington at the Royal Geographical Society. The students were given the experience of listening to a Cambridge University Lecturer talk about his research into the sinking South Pacific Islands. He gave them first hand research on the issues and broadened their thinking on topics such as global governance and international agreements.

On the Wednesday 31st January, 26 Year 10 and 4 Year 9 mathematicians took part in the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge. This national challenge consists of 25 maths problems, which test students’ logical thinking, ability to problem solve, and extension of understanding to the mathematical ideas they cover in their maths lessons.


Our Bronze awards winners were Talliah (Yr 9), Maya, Jason, Rafael, Aaron, Efe, Jakub and Johan (Yr 10)

Our Silver awards winner was Jahara (Yr 10)

Well done to all those that participated! For anyone who would like to take part next year, the UKMT website has a comprehensive collection of past papers which can be used for practice. These challenges are meant to be fun, and are meant to push you out of your comfort zone, so they are an excellent resource for students who enjoy a challenge.

Ahead of next week’s British Science Week we had received a visit of STEM ambassador Dr Andrew Cornish, engineer at the National Rail network to deliver a lecture on “Railways and Science”. A very fruitful morning!

Well done to the Year 7 & Year 8 girls football team who were narrowly defeated by Leventhorpe school.

The final score was 3-2, with St Mary’s not able to capitalise on the many chances they had throughout the game, hitting the post twice as well as missing some clear cut chances to extend their 2-0 lead in the first half.

There were some excellent individual performances as well as great team work and encouragement from all who played.

Well done to the whole squad: Frankie, Alexia, Sofia, Andra, Yasmin, Itohan, Filomena, Michaela, Kheira, Eva, Kayla, Ruby, Chelsea, Shumaila and Rihana.

Ms Andrews


Our two Young Enterprise teams, Embrace (selling bracelets) and ReCorked Charm (selling sustainable products from cork) attended a trade fair at the Atria Shopping Centre in Watford where they competed against other schools whilst selling directly to the public.

Despite the earlier Saturday morning start the teams were bright and alert and once we arrived they immediately managed to set up their stalls ready for a full day of selling. Throughout the day the students faced many different potential customers and they were consistently polite and engaging and sales were soon taking place with many products nearly selling out.

During the event presentations our team ReCorked Charm won the Best Trade Stand Award which was well deserved as it looked incredibly professional and customers were drawn to their stall to see what they were selling. Our team Embrace had a very successful day, with a high number of sales resulting in excellent profits for their business.

Both teams are working towards another trade sale with the aim to attend the Area Final at the end of April. We are incredibly proud of them and wish them luck getting into the final.

We are thrilled to share the outstanding achievements of our Year 10 students during their recent work experience week. This invaluable opportunity provided them with hands-on exposure to the professional world, fostering essential skills and boosting their confidence for future pathways.

Throughout the week, students honed various skills vital for success in any career path. One notable area of development was communication. By interacting with professionals in diverse settings, students learned to articulate their ideas effectively, listen actively, and collaborate with colleagues. These communication skills are fundamental not only in the workplace but also in everyday life.

Additionally, the experience emphasised the importance of timekeeping and organisation. Students navigated demanding schedules, met deadlines, and managed tasks efficiently. By mastering these essential skills, they gained a deeper understanding of the importance of discipline and prioritisation, qualities that are highly valued in any profession.

Moreover, the feedback from employers has been overwhelmingly positive, reaffirming the students’ remarkable contributions and adaptability in the workplace. Employers praised their aptitude, quick understanding of tasks, and exceptional work ethic. Quotes such as, “one of the best work experience students we’ve ever had,” and “they’re better than many of the agency staff we’ve been getting,” underscore the students’ outstanding performance and professionalism.

It is evident that work experience plays a vital role in shaping students’ career aspirations and preparing them for the realities of the professional world. By providing them with real-world exposure, we empower our students to make informed decisions about their future paths.

At St Mary’s, we are committed to offering a comprehensive careers education program that equips students with the skills and understanding necessary to thrive in their chosen fields. Work experience is an integral part of this program, enabling students to explore various career options, build networks, and develop essential employability skills.

As one of our students stated, “it couldn’t be any better; it was the best week.” We are immensely proud of our students’ achievements and remain dedicated to supporting them on their journey toward success.