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

Malvern St James

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Our View

This 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 (MSJ) 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?

MSJ’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

Dr Gareth Lloyd came to MSJ in January 2024 from his previous headship at Stoke College in Suffolk. He is the first male head in the school’s history and, as such, it was the first time in his professional career that he has ever had to ‘defend his gender’- an experience that gives him an even better alignment with his pupils who live in a world where equality is not yet universal.

Dr Lloyd is a human dynamo – energetic, honest, sincere, emotionally aware and ludicrously talented, speaking five languages fluently (and another five to a ‘passable’ standard), running more than 150 marathons and the composer of the 27-movement Requiem for the Fallen of 9/11. Dr Lloyd is a proud Welshman (he sported a fresh daffodil on the lapel of his well-tailored suit when we visited) and is delighted that, as well as being the safest town in the UK (apparently) and a great training ground for hill running, Malvern is also much closer to his hometown of Bridgend where he grew up.

Asked by one of the pupils why the school should appoint a male head, he prefaced his answer by saying, ‘It’s not about gender, it’s about your own personal values and how they align with those of the school.’ He wants three simple things from his students, they must work hard as life is competitive and working hard opens up opportunities that they may not have even dreamt of yet. Pupils should also play hard through sport, music, drama, coding and so on, as these activities foster teamwork, leadership, empathy, motivation and forgiveness, none of which can so easily be taught in a classroom. And finally, he expects pupils to look after each other both in school and beyond as, ‘What is the purpose of all your achievements if not to bring them together with community spirit and commit yourself to having a positive impact on the lives of others?’

The goal he gives his staff is to inspire happiness and give security in learning. But while he is very motivated by values and integrity, his passion for academic success is no less ardent. Getting out of your comfort zone and building resilience is just as important in the classroom. ‘Don’t think about failure,’ he says, ‘instead think about steps to success.’

Dr Lloyd is experienced in education, personally talented and enormously driven, passionate about educating girls (so much so that he wrote a letter to all parents on the value of an all-girls education), dedicated to understanding his pupils and leading by example. His energy is infectious, and we left his office feeling as though we could take on the world. Dr Lloyd wants every single one of his pupils to be bright, confident individuals, equipped to take on real life and go toe-to-toe with any counterparts with gusto but also with the ability to listen, compromise, forgive and be utterly non-judgmental.

Admissions

This part of the 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. Prospective pupils 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. MSJ runs regular open days (numbers for which are on the rise) and it really is a school you need to ‘feel’ for yourself.

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.

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 interests, 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. Value-added scores are particularly high for GCSE here with pupils often achieving more than one grade higher than their initial predictions.

Dr Lloyd is developing an MSJ Sixth-Form diploma in global competencies, broadly based on developing characteristics of learners which he believes to be vital (these include the learning outcomes of being open-minded, inquirers, communicators, reflective and risk takers). He’s also personally teaching sixth-formers ‘survival language’ in Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish and Mandarin – three-week blocks for each language instilling basic phrases to enable pupils to be culturally versatile and create an immediate rapport. The diploma will also incorporate basic skills in health and nutrition, car mechanics, electrics and plumbing, as well as financial and legal literacy (exploring areas such as why should you make a will?), enterprise and community service. 

Destinations are varied and the school’s compact 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. Morrisby psychometric testing helps pupils better understand both what they’re good at and what they enjoy and it’s worthy of note that this year 73 per cent of students are going on to do STEM-related degree subjects and 48 per cent of MSJ pupils achieved grade 9-7 in GCSE maths, a staggering amount higher than the national average for girls of 16.6 per cent.

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 huge York Hall. The foyer is adorned with photographs that would impress the most discerning West End theatregoers, 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 school's 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 School. Dr Lloyd, (who joins the girls for sport every Thursday) firmly believes that sport can be ‘transformational’ and that with their superb facilities and strong staff body, sport will continue to develop with the success of the Lionesses and the England Red Roses being drawn upon for inspiration.

The sports hall and pitches are located just across the road from the main campus; for seniors, 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 Leiths 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.

Boarding

MSJ is home to around 150 boarders; flexi, weekly and full options are all available. Pupils 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).

Four boarding houses accommodate pupils from Years 3 to 13. We had a sneaky peek around Greenslade, the Year 13 boarding house, which was purposefully refurbished to create 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 considerable lengths to be part of the community, whether it’s renting out sports facilities to nearby groups or reaching out to the 24 local schools that form part of a wellbeing collective initiated by MSJ. Dr Lloyd has also introduced MSJ ID cards for sixth-formers and staff and approached a huge number of shops and restaurants who will offer discounts to cardholders – helping to build a greater mutual community benefit both socially and economically.

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. One ex-head girl used the word ‘sisterhood’ to describe MSJ and it’s a powerful word, imbued with political, emotional and positive undertones, a sense of belonging for everyone without judgement or stereotype. ‘Everything we do at MSJ should be a preparation for life,’ says Dr Lloyd, and with this talented Welshman at the helm, life just got a whole lot more ambitious.

Gallery See All

Senior girls in science
Senior girls playing cricket at Malvern St James
Senior girls at Malvern St James
girls in green lab coats and safety glasses
girl playing the piano
Girls in navy jumpers singing in the choir
Girls sitting opposite each other in the library with laptops
Girls in uniform up a tree in the garden
Girls on a green sofa playing monopoly
  • 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£6,850
    Year 8 £6,850
    Year 9 £7,525
    Year 10£7,525
    Year 11£7,525
    Year 12£7,525
    Year 13£7,525
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£12,370
    Year 8 £12,370
    Year 9 £15,410
    Year 10 £15,410
    Year 11£15,410
    Year 12£15,410
    Year 13£15,410




    Bursaries
    Malvern St James spends more than half a million pounds on means-tested bursaries each year. Bursaries are available to pupils throughout the school (in both the prep and senior), and the school’s bursary pot currently helps more than one in four pupils with fee remission of up to 40 per cent. Pupils do not need to win a scholarship in order to be considered for a bursary. Day girls entering the sixth form can apply for a Founders Award, which can provide fee remission from 40 to 110 per cent. The Elmslie House Award supports a fully funded place in the sixth form for a pupil who has come from the state sector. By 2025, the school aims to quadruple the amount of support available and provide more bursaries of 100 or 110 per cent.

    Bursary contact:
    Finance Manager SallyAnne Kehoe
    finance@malvernstjames.co.uk
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Great Malvern (the school is also on a local bus route)
    Journey time to London by train: 150 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Birmingham (44 miles)


School Updates

  • WATCH: Welcome by Dr Gareth Lloyd, Malvern St James

    WATCH: Welcome by Dr Gareth Lloyd, Malvern St James
  • WATCH: Malvern St James Girls' School Tour 2023

    WATCH: Malvern St James Girls' School Tour 2023
  • WATCH: Why visit MSJ?

    WATCH: Why visit MSJ?
  • Malvern St James Girls’ School Appoints New Head

    Dr Gareth Lloyd has been appointed as the first male Head in the history of Malvern St James Girls' School
    Malvern St James Girls’ School Appoints New Head
  • Outstanding GCSE Results for Malvern St James Girls' School Pupils

    MSJ Pupils are celebrating outstanding GCSE Results, with pupils faring exceptionally well in STEM subjects including Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science and Further Maths.
    Outstanding GCSE Results for Malvern St James Girls' School Pupils
  • First Choice University Destinations for Malvern St James

    Pupils at Malvern St James Girls’ School are celebrating achieving places at their first choice university destinations on A Level Results Day.
    First Choice University Destinations for Malvern St James
  • TeenTech Success for Malvern St James Girls’ School

    A team from Malvern St James Girls' School secured first place at the TeenTech Awards in London.
    TeenTech Success for Malvern St James Girls’ School
  • WATCH: Why study STEAM at MSJ?

    WATCH: Why study STEAM at MSJ?
  • View from the Top: Olivera Raraty on why schools need to build a bridge between science and the arts

    View from the Top: Olivera Raraty on why schools need to build a bridge between science and the arts
  • See Malvern St James Girls' School in our All-through Schools Guide.

    See Malvern St James Girls' School in our All-through Schools Guide.
  • See Malvern St James Girls' School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

    See Malvern St James Girls' School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

Essentials

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

Contact
MSJadmissions@malvernstjames.co.uk
01684 892288

Website
malvernstjames.co.uk

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates

Bursaries


Open Days

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



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