Houses and Boarding

The House Structure

Houses are at the centre of our pupils’ school lives, whether they are boarders or day girls.  From UII (Year 5) to LIV (Year 8), girls are in Hewarth House.  Here they enjoy close connections with House staff and experience a home-from-home in a cosy, cheerful environment.

Girls in UIV (Year 9) through to LVI (Year 12) are split into three Houses: York, Harewell and Newby where they mix with, and mentor, each other.  As they progress through the years, they assume additional responsibilities and have the opportunity to lead their Houses, before taking on school leadership roles in UVI.  All UVI girls are accommodated in Mary Ward House which fosters their growing independence.

There are House Challenges throughout the year; girls have the chance to sing their hearts out in the ‘House Shout’ or give their all at Sports Day, for example. The sense of belonging fostered by the House system, and the ‘have a go’ attitude it encourages, helps them to face challenges in a positive and enthusiastic way, building resilience and determination.

St Mary's Shaftesbury-Houses and Boarding 1

Boarding at St Mary’s

Our happy and busy boarding houses have always been a key part of St Mary’s.  Girls are stimulated and inspired throughout the whole week, creating a culture of independence, mutual support and close community. We offer a safe, caring and disciplined environment where girls can enjoy companionship, fun and a diverse programme of boarding activities during the week and at weekends. Just under half of St Mary’s pupils are boarders.

Boarding allows girls to explore a wealth of co-curricular opportunities.  Pupils have the time and space to develop their own unique skills and talents and our experienced boarding staff enjoy accompanying the girls on this journey.  Each boarding house has a dedicated and enthusiastic pastoral team which includes a House Mistress and two House Assistants; they are supported by the school nurses and wider pastoral team, including each girl’s tutor.

We are accredited for the Forces Continuity of Education Allowance and have a number of pupils from forces families.