Bursaries - Testimonials

Rhega-Mai Ward, St Mary's Calne Student 2008-2010 

Rhega-Mai WardNearing the completion of my GCSEs at Highworth Warneford School in the summer of 2008, my family and I faced the challenge of finding another school at which I could study A-Levels; I was hesitant about studying in a typical college environment, as I felt sure that a Sixth Form would provide better support and structure. With this in mind, I was instantly interested in St Mary's Calne when they came to Warneford School for a “Further Education Convention”. It was here that I learned about the possibility of being awarded a Foundation Scholarship: this scholarship allows girls who, for reasons of financial restriction, might not otherwise be able to attend St Mary's Calne.

As luck would have it, I learned that I had been awarded the Foundation Scholarship in June. My visit to St Mary's on the day of my interview really cemented my desire to study there: the staff were helpful and accommodating and the girls friendly, and the grounds impeccably kept – a great recipe for an ideal learning environment.

The transition into the boarding house ran smoothly, and in no time at all I felt right at home. Along with making life-long friends in the Sixth Form, I had two years' of one-to-one German classes with Mr Malcolm, who inspired me to take German at University as on of my three sub-honours subjects. I also benefited hugely from two classes with native German speakers, in which I practised my German speaking and listening skills. Even now, despite not doing my degree in German, I am equipped with the communication skills necessary to easily get by in Germany and Switzerland, and still have a love for the language. There is no doubt in my mind that an opportunity such as this one was entirely unique to St Mary's; this would not have been possible at college, or indeed, a state Sixth Form.

Small classes were the norm at St Mary's. An intimate learning environment nurtured discussion, and nowhere was this more evident than during our philosophy class. Utter enjoyment of these classes led to my application to study Philosophy at university, a process made much less stressful by the support offered from teachers and directors of study. Before Sixth Form, I had not given university a lot of thought – it was something I could do, but at GCSE there was no drive for it. Yet at the end of Lower Sixth my entire attitude had changed: university was somewhere I wanted to be. I've no doubt that St Mary's played a crucial role in my applying for further education. I graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, followed by studying for a Masters degree at Maastricht University.

But it was not purely academics that made St Mary's such a brilliant place to study: the extra-curricular activities were excellent. We had training for netball twice a week, with matches on top of that. The sphere of drama was thriving, and I got to perform with RADA in London in The Royal Hunt of the Sun. Ultimately, St Mary's has prepared me for life in a way college could not have. Calne is not just any other Sixth Form; it is a special place, which cares for and nurtures its girls, ensuring no girl is just a number within system. I am very grateful to those who make such generous bursaries possible - to those who made my time at St Mary's possible.

Registered Charity 1147327 © 2013 The Calne Foundation Trust. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy & Cookie Policy  Privacy Notice  | St Mary's School, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0DF, UK | Tel 01249 857200 | Email: office@calnefoundation.org