Meet the Principal

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Meet the Principal

For our ambitious pupils here at The Marist, ‘right’ is the combination of a down-to-earth, grounded environment that, ironically, forms the perfect launch pad for stellar performance in many areas, including academic success.



Because with their feet firmly on the ground, our pupils have the confidence, and the encouragement from us and from their friends here and their parents, to reach for the stars. They succeed, and get used to succeeding. They become familiar with high expectations of themselves. They aim naturally at high-reach universities. Take a look at our track record of university entrance.

Another surprising way of looking at The Marist is from the perspective of risk-taking; the risk that entails leaving your comfort zone, breaking new personal ground, knowing you may go wrong and also knowing that it doesn’t matter. You will pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and have another go.

This too takes self-confidence and the certainty that your friends are behind you, cheering you on, wishing you well and ready to applaud your achievement, in whatever field.

Just look around you. Look at our woods, our gardens, our buildings, our games fields and sports hall. You will, I’m sure, see what we mean when we say there is, here, room to make mistakes and space to put them right.

As we see our pupils thrive here, where firm foundations are there to encourage tremendous ambitions, seeing them do things they never dreamt they would try, and eventually succeeding, we also see something else which is very close to our hearts:

We, parents and the pupils themselves are of course focused on high achievement, in sports, in all our clubs and activities and most importantly in our classrooms.

However, the way of life here, in the way the older pupils look out for and mentor the younger ones, the happiness, the laughter, the sheer realness of the relationships mean that human qualities, life skills, emotional intelligence are always to the fore.

We say here that your academic qualifications are important, they will get you in the door of where you want to go, but when combined with personal qualities… it’s then that you have the winning combination.

And on the point of academic qualifications, I should tell you that we consistently rank in the top 1% in the country for exam results.



The main reason is of course our teaching staff. Again, ask our pupils. You may also have heard of the measure called ‘Value-Added’. In brief it measures predicted grades on entry to the school versus grades actually achieved on leaving. I am pleased to say that we have possibly the best value-added scores in the county; half of our students achieve two full grades above those that were predicted for them at year 7. That is a most notable achievement. In simple terms, what it means is we make the biggest difference. That makes me proud.

Our direction of travel is clear: we will aim ever higher academically – our totally new 6th form provision is testament to that – but never at the expense of the kindness that is the heart of our school.

If your daughter comes to The Marist, she will not simply be one of many. She can be sure that we will soon get to know her hopes and her fears, her aptitudes, her aspirations and ambitions. That will give her huge confidence and a rock-solid basis for growth. And that growth, you can be sure, will happen faster than you ever expected.

The Marist: Feet on the ground. Reaching for the stars.

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Jo Smith, Principal, The Marist School

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