Senior Curriculum

St Mary’s Independent School is especially proud of its outstanding academic results. Year on year, St Mary's students achieve some of the best results in Hampshire. As a non-selective school, this is an exceptional achievement.

Our success stems from a broad Senior curriculum geared towards maximising the potential of each individual pupil. The emphasis is on establishing a confident and self-motivated attitude towards learning that will ensure pupils get the most out of their studies at school and also prepare them to enjoy a lifetime of learning.  Students are taught study skills to support them in their learning, whilst daily homework complements the process of learning and builds positive habits. The aim is to securely embed high levels of memory recall, knowledge, understanding, creativity and essential study skills in preparation for GCSE and beyond.

The senior department curriculum is coherently planned to build seamlessly from the Prep curriculum. Based on the National curriculum, it extends pupils' learning and prepares them well for the next stages of their educational journey through offering a rich variety of experiential learning and well planned academic lessons to bring the curriculum and daily lessons to life. We believe in learning through doing and strive to inspire our pupils with a passion for learning that will last them a lifetime.

All students within Key Stage 3 (years 7 – 9) study the National Curriculum subjects of:

English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geography, History, Music, French, Creative Arts, Computer Science, Physical Education, PSHE and Religious Studies.

The curriculum at Key stage 4 (years 10 -11) consists of a traditional set of compulsory subjects as well as a diverse choice of optional subjects. Students are strongly encouraged to follow an EBacc programme with the opportunity to study up to ten GCSEs. This prepares students well for further study at A level and beyond, as well as a range of technical and vocational studies.

GCSE examination courses in English, Mathematics, Religious Studies, Geography and the Sciences begin in Year 9, to enable our students the best chance of attaining high GCSE results.  This staggered start supports students' learning and also leads to deeper understanding.

Compulsory GCSE subjects:

Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, English Language, English Literature, French, History or Geography and Religious Education.

Optional Subjects:

Art, Music, Classical Civilisation, Physical Education, Economics, Media Studies, Computer Science

All students follow a non-examined course in PSHE ensuring they are well prepared to live a healthy and successful life within our local community and global society. They are also encouraged to participate fully in the co-curricular life of the school, for example public speaking competitions and the school play.

ASSESSMENT is an integral part of the curriculum at St Mary’s and pupils are encouraged to take charge of their learning through being fully involved in the assessment process. Assessment weeks are followed by specific feedback and input designed to help pupils to address gaps and move themselves forward in their learning. A rigorous approach to formal examinations as part of this process ensures that pupils are well prepared to be successful in external assessments. 

Student Progress Reports are generated each term to help evaluate the progress of students towards their target grades. These reports offer students valuable information about their current progress and attitude towards learning.  This information is shared with parents, along with two full narrative reports each year (Christmas and Summer) which provide even more detailed information. Parents’ evenings provide an opportunity to formally discuss the academic work of their child. We encourage an open dialogue that makes sure that parents are aware of any issues affecting the progress of their child. This is achieved through communication with the child’s form tutor, direct email to teachers and an ‘open-door’ approach to the Heads of Department and Senior Leadership Team.

Revision classes, targeted learning support and mentoring systems provide additional quality support for students to make sure that they feel confident and able to make progress. The small class sizes and individual attention given to our pupils help them to build resilience and a desire to achieve the best that they can.

Curriculum Contacts

Examination Officer: Mrs K Thom (

Deputy Head Teacher: Mrs K Thom (