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Archive - Sunday, 13 May 2007
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Gold star for girls’ school
AN INDEPENDENT Catholic school in north Dorset has been praised for its exceptional standards with inspectors describing it as "highly successful in meeting its challenging aims."
St Mary's School in Shaftesbury has been given top marks for the pastoral care given to its 325 girls and their exceptionally good personal development.
The school's links with the community are underlined, as is the standard of the girls' attainment and learning which the inspectors say is down to the knowledge and planning skills of the teachers.
A team of six inspectors from the Independent Schools Council spent four days at the Shaftesbury boarding institution, examining the pupils' work and observing their lessons as well as conducting interviews. They watched extra-curricular activities, visited boarding houses and spoke to teachers, non-teaching staff and governors.
They also examined questionnaires sent to pupils and their parents.
"Girls show confidence, resilience, self-awareness, kindness and thoughtfulness in their relationships with others," says the report.
We strive to support and enable our girls to achieve their potential in a warm, caring environmentHead teacher Richard James
"The powerful spiritual life of the school, with the Catholic faith at its heart, offers an excellent framework for strong relationships and the girls' personal development within a caring school community.
"The quality of teaching has a major impact on the fulfilment of the school's aim to educate each girl to the highest standards.
"This is a school that lives its mission statement."
St Mary's is based on the principles of founder Mary Ward, who stressed the importance of educating each individual to the highest standards through fostering traditional values in the spirit of the Gospel.
Head teacher Richard James said: "I'm delighted with the report.
"We strive to support and enable our girls to achieve their potential in a warm, caring environment.
"Our mission statement is at the heart of all we do at St Mary's and it's lovely to have this confirmed in such a positive way."
Two-thirds of the girls at the school are boarders.