All those who have benefited from an education at St Mary’s Shaftesbury know what an impact the school has had on their lives. Not only do girls benefit from a superb academic education and a broad curriculum but they also leave St Mary’s with a network of life-long friends. The school’s unique ethos encourages girls to be themselves, to thrive and to be part of a supportive community for the rest of their lives.

We want to continue to ensure that St Mary’s can offer an all-girls Catholic education for future generations. However, St Mary’s and the education it offers can only be sustained and enhanced with increased financial support. School fees pay for the operational costs of the school and each year we try to keep fees affordable for parents.  Donations reduce the pressure on school fees, offer more girls access to an education at St Mary’s, preserve and develop the buildings and enhance the breadth of education offered.

As we approach our 75th anniversary in 2020, we are launching an ambitious programme of development, something that many independent schools have been doing for a while but which represents a new and exciting venture for St Mary’s; to enrich the school and the education it provides. We will be focusing on two areas:

Beech Tree Bursaries:

We are very aware of the sacrifices many parents make or have made to fund a St Mary’s education for their daughters. We seek to broaden access to an education here and to welcome more talented girls, who might think that the opportunity of attending St Mary’s is out of reach. In keeping with our charitable status, and as part of our commitment to support more families, we wish to raise money to provide Beech Tree Bursaries.

St Mary’s Shaftesbury Trust:

At St Mary’s, we are privileged to have wonderful facilities and are surrounded by beautiful countryside. Coombe House was built by the Beaufoy family in 1886 and in 1945 the Hampstead IBVM Community bought it, naming it St Mary’s Convent.  Over the years, the school has expanded its provision to provide the girls with a new Art block, Mary Ward (the sixth form house), a swimming centre, a Music school and improved sports facilities.  However, some of the school’s buildings are now in need of refurbishment or development.

If you feel able to help and wish to give something back to the school, then there are a number of ways in which you can support us:

Major Gifts

If you would like to invest in a particular area of the school, you can make a one-off gift, of £5,000 or more, to an area of your choice. This allows you to contribute more personally to something that particularly matters to you or your family.

One-Off Gifts

One-off gifts, no matter how big or small, will allow the school to support an area of the school which requires particular development. This is prioritised by the Headmistress and Chief Operating Officer each year and agreed upon by the Governors.

Regular Donations

Regular gifts to the school will be extremely important for various projects or aspects of a St Mary’s education that cannot be funded by school fees alone. These gifts will allow us to plan with more certainty, particularly with regard to bursaries. Whether it is £10 or £100 per month, your gift will make a real difference to St Mary’s and its pupils.

Our donations form can be downloaded from here.


Leaving a legacy to is the greatest gift you can offer the school. It is a testimony to your profound affection and support for St Mary’s and its future.

St Mary’s School, Shaftesbury is a charity (292845), so any gift you make can be tax-efficient and the school can benefit from considerable Gift Aid if you are a UK tax payer. We are able to claim back the basic rate of tax paid on all donations if you sign a Gift Aid declaration.  The School will receive 25p for every £1 that you give without costing you anything.

If you wish to discuss donations further please contact:

Maria Young, Headmistress on

Stephen Cole, Chief Operating Officer, on

Thank you for your support.