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St Mary's School Ascot

Coordinates: 51°23′39″N 0°40′13″W / 51.3943°N 0.6703°W / 51.3943; -0.6703
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St Mary's School Ascot
St Mary's Road

, ,

Coordinates51°23′39″N 0°40′13″W / 51.3943°N 0.6703°W / 51.3943; -0.6703
TypePrivate day and boarding school
MottoLatin: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
(For the greater glory of God)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderMary Ward
Local authorityWindsor and Maidenhead
Department for Education URN110120 Tables
Chair of the GovernorsClementine Vaughan
HeadmistressDanuta Staunton
Age11 to 18
Enrolment386 pupils (2019)

St Mary's School Ascot is a Roman Catholic independent day and boarding school for girls in Ascot, Berkshire, England.[1] It is a member of the Girls' Schools Association. It was named 2015 "Public School of the Year" at the annual Tatler Schools Awards.[2] It was ranked No. 1 in the U.K. by The Daily Telegraph in the 2018 GCSEs.[3]


St Mary's School was founded by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM). The school chapel was built in 1885 and funded by Cecilia Marshall, and the First Mass was celebrated there on 2 July 1896. The Chapel is dedicated to Our Lady of Humility and St Cecilia. It was consecrated by Bishop John Baptist Cahill in 1906.[4]

Since 1984, it has been run by the St Mary's School Ascot Trust. In 1998 the school had its first lay Headmistress, Mrs Mary Breen.

In 2006, the school opened its new sports centre, named the Orchard Centre after the Catholic family from which the school's two previous headmistresses came. The Centre was opened by ballerina Darcey Bussell. A Performing Arts Centre has also been built named the Rose Theatre. It opened in April 2009.

In 2018, the school inaugurated its new Upper Sixth (Year 13) Courtyard: new boarding houses area for girls.


St Mary's has enjoyed success in both GCSE and A Levels examinations.

It was listed in The Independent's top 100 schools for 2012 based on the most recent A Levels results.[5]

In 2018 the girls' school achieved 1st place in the U.K. based on their GCSE results with a 97.5% A*-A or 9-1 rate - one of four schools to surpass 97% for the top grades, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).[6]

In 2018, girls placed 21st in the U.K. in their A Level results according to the Best Schools: UK School League Ranking based on their 75.77% A*-A results.[7]

In 2019, girls placed 12th in the Top U.K. Boarding School Ranking based on their 77.1% A*-A results.[8]

In 2022, the girls' school achieved 10th place in the U.K independent school GCSE table with 94.7% of girls achieving 9-7 grades.

Pastoral care[edit]

As St Mary's is a Catholic school, girls are required to attend chapel and worship services. Throughout the Liturgical year the whole school community gather together to celebrate Feast Days and Holy Days of Obligation. Spiritual retreats are also organised for each year. The boarding areas are stationed around the school and the girls sleep within their year group.


Most pupils at St Mary's are boarders. The house system is based on the boarding programme and each house has a mix of boarders and day girls. Each girl between Year 7 and Lower 6th (Year 12) belongs to one of the six main houses - Babthorpe, Bedingfeld, Dawson, Poyntz, Rookwood and Wigmore - which are named after Mary Ward's fellow nuns.[9] Only girls in Upper Sixth (Year 13) are members of the Mary Ward house.

Each house has a captain, vice-captain and other leadership roles (e.g. prefects, drama captain) who are elected by house pupils.

House Colour
Mary Ward  

The Heads of House are the first point of contact for girls and parents and most also teach at the school. All Heads of House have an office in the main body of the school and live on site with their families. Every house organises activities and social events on the weekends, which parents are encouraged to attend.[10]

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ 2011 ISI Inspection Report
  2. ^ "TATLER SCHOOLS AWARDS 2015 - THE WINNERS: Public School of the Year". Tatler. September 2015.
  3. ^ "Best independent schools in 2018: Full league table for GCSE results". The Daily Telegraph. 1 September 2018.
  4. ^ "St Mary's School Ascot - Chapel". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ "The Top 100 Independent Schools at A-Level". London: 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Best independent schools in 2018: Full league table for GCSE results". London: 1 September 2018.
  7. ^ "A Level Passes Grade A* and A". London: Best Schools.
  8. ^ "Top UK 100 boarding schools by A-levels results". London:
  9. ^ "St Mary's School Ascot - House System". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  10. ^ "St Mary's School Ascot - Weekend Activities". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Agnew, Harriet; Jenkins, Patrick (16 January 2015). "London: Sexism and the City". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  12. ^ "St Mary's Ascot". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "St Mary's Ascot". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  14. ^ "> 1 CROWN OFFICE ROW (Chambers of Philip Havers QC) > London, ENGLAND > Lawyer profiles > Philippa Whipple QC". The Legal 500. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  15. ^ "26 famous people who went to school in Berkshire". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  16. ^ Hodgkin, Emily (28 December 2017). "Lady Amelia Windsor's posh boarding school costs £39,000 a year". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  17. ^ Gaughan, Gavin (26 July 2009). "Obituary: Zena Marshall". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Absolutely fabulist". the Guardian. 22 January 2000. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  19. ^ Roberts, Andrew (30 April 2009). "Antonia Fraser: Interview". The Daily Telegraph.
  20. ^ "No Ordinary Lady - Town & Country Magazine UK". Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  21. ^ Minutos, Diez (29 September 2012). "La infanta Elena en Londres con Victoria Federica y Froilán".
  22. ^ "Qui est Amelia Windsor, la figure montante de la famille royale d'Angleterre ?". Marie Claire (in French). Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Lady Louise Windsor takes job at garden centre before starting at the University of St Andrews". Tatler. 18 August 2022. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  24. ^ "Where Are They Now: Five Years After Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding". Retrieved 20 March 2018.

External links[edit]