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Welcome from the Principal

St. Mary's is a school that inspires excellence and fulfils potential.

As Principal of St. Mary’s Grammar School, I am pleased to welcome you to our website. Whatever your interest in St. Mary’s may be, I do hope that you will find our website informative and that it will provide you with an insight into the diversity and richness of the St. Mary’s experience. As you browse these pages, I trust that you will appreciate our passion for learning and our commitment to working with young people to inspire excellence and fulfil potential.

St. Mary’s was founded in 1927 by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux and, since then, has grown to become a leading grammar school in Northern Ireland today. As a school, we are very proud of our history, traditions and achievements over the past 90 years.

St. Mary’s is a warm, friendly, successful and growing community of learning where each pupil can be assured of our dedication and commitment to ensuring that he/she enjoys a quality educational experience and fulfils his/her academic and personal potential at each Key Stage. We value and seek to develop the unique gifts and talents of each pupil within a caring and creative environment. Our excellent pastoral care arrangements ensure that every pupil is enabled to achieve his/her best.

As a Catholic school, we strive to build upon the values of home and foster a strong sense of faith and belief in all pupils. Our Christian ethos permeates all aspects of school life and Christ’s command – ‘love God and love one another’ - is at the heart of our work. We are guided by our school motto - ‘Gloria Deo Soli’ or ‘Glory to God Alone’ - and seek to create opportunities whereby the person and message of Christ may find expression.

In St. Mary’s, we provide a broad and balanced education for all pupils that is ambitious and stimulating. We are one of the few schools in Northern Ireland that already offers many more courses than the minimum required under the Entitlement Framework. We are committed to encouraging our pupils to explore their interests in a wide variety of ways. Our aim is to inspire and engage pupils in their learning, and to develop pupils as confident, mature, independent, critical thinkers who are open to new ideas and experiences.

As a school, we are justifiably proud of our superb record of academic success. At GCSE and A Level, our pupils consistently achieve outstanding grades. This is the result of their ability and hard work, and the expertise, dedication and inspiration of the staff of St. Mary’s. Such success is also due to the interest, support and encouragement of parents/guardians.

St. Mary’s is a Specialist School for Science and Sport. This designation recognises our commitment to excellence and our success in promoting achievement, not only in Science and Sport, but also across all aspects of school life. Our specialism has resulted in improvements in examination outcomes, enhanced curriculum provision and enrichment activities, as well as improved accommodation and resources.

St. Mary’s draws its pupils from a wide catchment area encompassing three counties – Derry, Tyrone and Antrim. In our current school population, we have pupils from over 45 different primary schools. This affords our pupils the advantage of mixing and forming friendships with young people from a diverse range of places and backgrounds.

As a sustainable school at the forefront of educational developments for 90+ years, we face the future with tremendous confidence. This year we are delighted with the completion of our new buildings, namely our music technology block, our sixth form centre and new teaching rooms. We know these state of the art facilities will greatly enhance the learning experience of our pupils. Pupils enrolling at St. Mary’s can be assured that they will have access to the highest quality of education with modern facilities and resources. They will be able to choose educational pathways matched to their interests and aspirations, and receive careers advice that will lead them to Further and Higher Education programmes or to employment. We are confident that every pupil who joins St. Mary’s will go out into the world as a well-rounded, mature young adult, fully prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

Ms D. Gillespie