History, Ethos, Values and Aims

For close to a century we’ve been instilling a love of learning for life in the children we welcome into the St Mary’s School community.


St Mary’s was founded in 1926, at which time there were just 44 pupils. In the 90 years since, we’ve gone from strength to strength and despite growing to around 150 pupils, have maintained small class sizes and the welcoming, nurturing community atmosphere that has always been such an important feature of life at St Mary’s.

In 2006, we became part of the Cognita Schools Group, who have continued to support us in the creation of a stimulating, exciting and nurturing school.

Since our inception, we have had just five headships, which is a testament to the inspiring and special learning environment that we’ve created.


The ethos at the school is fundamentally a very simple one – to instil a love of learning for life in all our pupils and to provide them with a safe, inclusive and nurturing learning environment that helps them grow personally and academically.

We believe that hands-on experiences are essential to complement and enhance children’s education and our teachers work hard to inspire and enthuse pupils at every stage of their learning journey.


Our school values are Honesty, Independence, Collaboration, Respect and Courage.


Coupled with the promotion of our core school values we aim:

• to encourage the development of a love of learning within a structured, broad and balanced curriculum

• to nurture individual pupil diversity emphasizing individual talents in a wide range of fields, including academic, music, sport, art and drama

• to prepare pupils thoroughly for the entrance requirements of their senior schools, usually in the independent sector

• to develop learning skills through encouraging a sense of curiosity, open-mindedness, perseverance, objectivity, reflection and critical thinking

• to develop a sense of self-respect and become well-balanced and healthy individuals in both body, mind and spirit.

• to celebrate achievements and successes at every opportunity

• to encourage children to respect each other and the world in which we live

• to work in partnership with parents, in the best interests of their child

• to offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities and activities to broaden their experiences and to help develop character and personality.

St Mary's School Henley