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Malvern St James Girls' School Great Malvern, Worcestershire Visit
school
Malvern St James Girls' School
Great Malvern
330 pupils, ages 11-18
Girls only
Day and Boarding

Malvern St James Girls' School

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Our View

Malvern St James is one of only a handful of all-through, all-girls boarding-schools in the UK. Pupils from the age of four are carefully nurtured in this warm and confidence-building environment, which is unashamedly all about the girls.

Small numbers and exemplary pastoral care give children the opportunity to discover what they enjoy and what they’re good at – the foundations for positive self-esteem and successful learning. Malvern St James really believes in the virtues of girls being educated around other girls, giving them the space to be themselves without social constraint or construct.

Where?

Malvern St James’s buildings and boarding houses are dotted around a few quiet streets just outside the centre of the picturesque Worcestershire town of Malvern. It’s easily accessible by car and within walking distance of Great Malvern train station, which serves the local area and has a direct route to London. An extensive network of buses also beetles around the surrounding areas, bringing children to what was once a fashionable hotel where guests took Malvern’s famous water cure.

Head

Headmistress since 2016, Olivera Raraty has always worked in girls’ education, and her years of experience have only served to fuel her passion for it. She spent several years teaching in London before moving to Wycombe Abbey as head of history and politics, and then to Notting Hill and Ealing High School as deputy head academic.

When she arrived at Malvern St James, there was room for a little invigoration, but she didn’t want to change the spirit of the school. ‘Parents here aren’t pushing for three A*s,’ she says. ‘They are keener on their daughters being rounded and grounded and given the chance to pursue their passions in a supported way.’

She feels that the advantage of a single-sex environment is that girls don’t have to conform to a male agenda. They have more time to develop their own personality, so that when they interact with boys, in any environment, they do so on their own terms. Crucially, she emphasises that values are a vital and fundamental part of education – respect for human dignity is paramount, regardless of gender.

Admissions

This part of the girls’ school encompasses the seniors (Years 7 to 11) and sixth form (Years 12 and 13). The main entry points are in Years 7, 9 and 12, although MSJ will accept girls in other years if spaces are available. Girls are encouraged to attend a taster day and then register to sit entrance examinations. Along with a confidential report from their current school, and an interview with key staff, the results of these exams are reviewed to assess potential and inform future teaching. MSJ isn’t overly selective, and a girl’s overall ability and personality is more relevant than exam results alone.

Academics and destinations

In Year 7, the curriculum remains deliberately broad and diverse, with a great deal of topic-based teaching to help girls explore a variety of subjects and better understand their skills and interests before deciding on GCSEs. With this in mind, MSJ recently appointed a new head of STEAM – a philosophy of education that embraces the teaching of skills and the subjects of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths in a way that better resembles real life. The head is a huge advocate of this approach as a multidisciplinary way of creatively applying logic.

A broad range of GCSE and IGCSE subjects are available, with pupils studying the five core subjects and then selecting the remainder in accordance with their passions, future plans and abilities. The majority of girls are expected to study three A-levels, as well as an EPQ or AS-level.

Most lessons are taught in subject-specific areas around the campus, all of which have the most beautifully planned and presented display boards. The main teaching corridor is also home to the tutor offices, which all genuinely have ‘open doors’ for the girls to pop in with any questions or concerns.

Destinations are varied and the school’s small size means that girls get an impressive amount of support in applying for university, apprenticeships and gap years, with the majority securing their first choice.

MSJ is a recognised testing centre for SATs – a bonus for those wanting to head to US universities – and career choices are further informed by a diverse variety of lectures from inspiring alumnae. Talks extend far beyond the workplace to examine childcare, menopause, the gender pay gap and many of the other issues that women have to face throughout their working lives.

Co-curricular

Expressive arts are stellar at MSJ; there’s a 100 per cent participation rate in music, drama, dance and art, which is testament to the teaching, the facilities and the understanding of their importance in a rounded education packed with individuality.

The art and design block is enormous, with stunning works gracing the walls and textile and 3D creations hanging from the high ceilings. The department boasts a brazing hearth and the recent addition of programmable kilns, which have allowed girls to experiment with a far wider range of materials and techniques such as precious metal clay and glass fusing.

Sixth-formers have their own vast, light-filled art room on the top floor, with a dedicated space for each student and the freedom to work on their portfolios until 9pm each night and over the weekends if they wish.

Drama is taught as part of the curriculum in the lower end of the seniors and can then be taken at GCSE and A-level. With its tiered seating, the drama theatre is the perfect environment for rehearsals and smaller performances, while major productions spill into the vast York Hall. The foyer is adorned with photographs that would impress the most discerning West End theatre-goers, and there is even a personal note from author Michael Morpurgo, thanking the girls for sending him the programme for the recently staged Adolphus Tips.

The music department is housed in its own building slightly apart from the main school site and has 20 practice rooms, a large rehearsal area and a space for percussionists. Girls are encouraged to join the schools’ ensembles and choirs, and the latter perform for the community as well as within school.

Smaller numbers mean that MSJ is, by its own admission, not a big hitter for team sports, although that doesn’t mean that sport is any less important or inclusive – and there are plenty of team fixtures against local rivals such as Hereford Cathedral.

The sports hall and pitches are located across the road from the main campus; seniors, after a road-safety course, may make their own way here unescorted. Hockey, lacrosse, netball, athletics and tennis are the core sports, with specialist cricket coaches recently appointed to extend the portfolio.

A further jewel in the co-curricular crown is the on-site Leith’s cookery school, where older pupils can take part in courses teaching everything from knife skills to wine pairing – a real bonus, and a recognised qualification that’s especially valuable for those looking at gap-year job opportunities or a career in hospitality.

Community outreach is an important part of the ethos here, and we were particularly impressed by the biennial extended trip for the sixth form to MSJ’s sister school in Gambia. Girls teach, paint and care for the school while gaining a first-hand insight into life for children and their families in the developing world.

Boarding

MSJ is home to around 100 boarders; flexi, weekly, full and B&B options are all available, and day girls get three free nights a term to use as and when they wish. Girls tend to board more as they go up the school, with around 80 per cent boarding by the time they reach the sixth form. Boarders are allocated to year-group houses, two of which have been recently refurbished (a third is currently closed for a total spruce-up).

Batsford is home to the prep-school boarders, and a further four houses accommodate Years 8 and 9, 10, 11 and 12, and 13 respectively. We had a sneaky peek around Greenslade, the Year 13 boarding house, which was purposefully refurbished to create a university-style accommodation with stacks of communal spaces. Every girl has her own study room, with a bed, desk and sink area, and each floor has a kitchen, pantry and laundry facilities to further prepare them for life beyond school.

Pastoral care is excellent, perhaps best exemplified by the recent Gold-standard School Mental Health Award delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. MSJ was deemed to offer outstanding provision, including youth mental health first-aid training for both staff and sixth form, mindfulness and wellbeing lessons as an integral part of the curriculum and impressive and creative peer-support structures – a very worthy accolade indeed.

School community

With a strong local contingent and the universal buy-in to the single sex ethos, MSJ parents have a lot in common, and this makes them a really supportive and cohesive bunch. In addition, the school goes to great lengths to be part of the community, whether it’s renting out sports facilities to local groups or reaching out to the 24 local schools that form part of a wellbeing collective initiated by MSJ.

And finally....

In a world so influenced by social media, self-esteem has never been more important. Staff at MSJ work incredibly hard to help girls find their strengths and pursue their passions in order to build confidence in their own abilities and establish values that will influence their behaviour far more than peer pressure or gender stereotypes. It is a calm and thoughtful environment where every girl can and will shine brightly.

Gallery See All

Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
Malvern St James Girls' School gallery image
  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered

    GCSE

    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Food Technology
    French
    Geography
    German
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Russian
    Spanish

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physics
    Politics
    Psychology
    Religious Studies
    Spanish
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£5,990
    Year 8-
    Year 9£6,580
    Year 10£6,580
    Year 11£6,580
    Year 12£6,580
    Year 13£6,580
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£10,810
    Year 8£10,810
    Year 9-
    Year 10£13,470
    Year 11£13,470
    Year 12£13,470
    Year 13£13,470




    Bursary contact:
    Finance Manager Mrs Joanna French
    finance@malvernstjames.co.uk
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Great Malvern
    Journey time to London by train: 150 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Birmingham (44 miles)


School Updates

  • WATCH: Malvern St James - All-through School Focus

  • WATCH: Malvern St James - Senior Boarding Focus

  • WATCH: Malvern St James - 10 Questions with the Headmistress

  • WATCH: Malvern St James - School Tour 2021

Malvern St James Girls' School is
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Essentials

Address
15 Avenue Road, Great Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 3BA

Contact
admissions@malvernstjames.co.uk
01684 892288

Website
malvernstjames.co.uk

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days Register for open Day

Open Day
11 March 2022


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