Pastoral care lies at the heart of all we do at St Mary's. Our philosophy is that each girl is known and nurtured as an individual. The school's pastoral care team strives to ensure your daughter feels secure and is a valued member of our community. Maintaining a positive self-image is paramount, as a student's emotional well-being has a direct influence on personal happiness, academic achievement and contribution to school and family life. The Christian principles of trust, co-operation and concern for others are encouraged amongst our girls and are central to chapel services and the Religious Education programme.
In the Junior School, mutual respect characterises the relationship between class teacher and child. The warmth and understanding nature of staff enable concerns or issues to be discussed in a caring and supportive environment.
Teachers and the school counsellor encourage students to manage friendships, relationships and conflict by teaching skills and strategies and supporting students whilst they develop these strengths.
The Dean of Students is responsible for overseeing pastoral care in the Senior School. This includes maintaining close contact with home, helping new students settle in and monitoring students' welfare by liaising with teachers and counsellors.
When a student enters the Senior School in Year 7, she remains in her Year 7 class, with her class teacher as her primary pastoral carer. From Year 8, girls are placed in a small pastoral care group, known as her Link, in the care of a Link teacher. These groups consist of girls from Years 8 to 12, so students remain in the same group, in the care of the same teacher, throughout their time at St Mary's.
At times students need additional support and assistance and they can access this by contacting one of the counselling staff. Girls are welcome to make an appointment to see a counsellor, and parents and staff can also refer girls for support. The counsellors are available to talk about any issue that may be affecting a students well-being and progress.
The school believes in discipline which is firm yet just, administered with understanding and concern for both the individual and the welfare of the school community. Above all, the school holds that the best form of discipline is self-discipline. Courtesy and good manners are expected at all times.