Malvern St James Girls’ School


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  • Category: Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Girls
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 0 (Boys) 400 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 4 - 18 years
  • Founded: 2006, with roots back to 1893

General Information

“Full of girls who are going to change the world.” Good Schools Guide 2017

Malvern St James Girls’ School is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the foot of the Malvern Hills and is a leading independent boarding and day school for girls aged 4-18. Our values today reflect those of our founding schools, set up in the nineteenth century by pioneering proponents of women’s education. In this inspirational setting, MSJ continues a fine heritage of academic rigour, outstanding enrichment and leadership opportunities, and preparing girls for rewarding careers and lives beyond school.
MSJ is an exceptional place for learning and living. Every girl matters to us, and our size (at around 400 pupils) means that we can offer an individually tailored education. Our focus is on inspiring teaching to deliver excellent academic results; and equally on encouraging intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, considered risk-taking and collaboration that universities and employers will value. Our enrichment programme is as long as it is broad, and has something to fire the imagination of every individual: clubs for budding engineers and scientists, extra-curricular languages, drama, music, Leiths, journalism, photography, sport of every kind, Young Enterprise, Debating and Model United Nations … to name but a few.
Life at MSJ is underpinned by first class pastoral support which makes us a happy and friendly community, relaxed yet purposeful, with a real sense of family. When girls reach the end of their time here, they are thoroughly prepared to embrace life’s challenges. The diverse list of graduate courses at the most prestigious institutions and the competitive career paths that girls go on to is testament to MSJ’s culture of ambition and achievement. Our alumnae network helps our community to forge valuable links for life.
As a school we have a roughly equal number of day girls and boarders, allowing us to offer the best of both worlds and a very flexible boarding programme. We have full, weekly and flexi boarding options, designed to meet the needs of modern family lives. Our position in the town of Great Malvern, situated in the heart of England, means we benefit from excellent transport links and cultural opportunities all around the UK, including a direct train service from London.
Our girls work hard but have fun on the way, making lifelong friends and memories. Please do come and see for yourselves what makes MSJ tick and meet our happy, poised and confident girls and young women, who are free to be themselves and find the things which will instigate a life-long passion for learning.


We have cutting-edge facilities with an award-winning STEM Centre; Drama, Art and Pottery Studios, library, science centre and a multimedia language centre. Sports facilities include a state of the art fitness centre, sports fields, Astroturf pitches, tennis and squash courts, climbing wall and indoor swimming pool

The architecture of the five boarding houses varies from Victorian through to modern contemporary. Each House is set in a quiet location adjacent to the main site and has its own garden. Common rooms and recreation rooms are found in every House.

We offer a busy and varied weekend programme of activities to suit all interests, including watersports, rock climbing, abseiling, music, drama, and expeditions leading to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

Entrance Requirements

Preparatory Department: informal assessment. Senior School: cognitive ability tests (CAT 4) and an English comprehension examination or the Common Entrance examination. Sixth Form: two subject entrance papers and general essay.


Academic, Drama, Music, Art, Riding and Sport Scholarships are available. Scholarships offer fee remission of up to 40%.

Open Days

2018. Mon. 26th November.


2017/2018(per term). Day £2,815 - £6,335; Weekly Boarding (from Year 3) £6,335 - £10,720; Full Boarding £7,060 - £11,825.


ISI Educational Quality Inspection 2017
ISI Focused Compliance Inspection 2017
Good Schools' Guide Review of Malvern St James 2017

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mrs Olivera Raraty

Contact for enquiries: Mrs Emily Harris, Director of Marketing and Admissions

Malvern St James Girls’ School
15 Avenue Road
Great Malvern
WR14 3BA

[t]: 01684 584624
[f]: 01684 566204

Location Description

It is situated at the foot of the beautiful Malvern Hills in the heart of Worcestershire. Inter-City trains run from Great Malvern, the M5 and M50 are nearby and London, Birmingham and Manchester airports are within easy reach.

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School News

Malvern St James girls' independent day and boarding school Worcestershire

On 2 October Malvern St James Girls’ School welcomed author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson to talk to a gathering of book fans. Laura stopped

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off at the school as part of her tour to celebrate the publication of her latest books in the popular Amelia Fang series – Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords and Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief.

Pupils from Malvern St James Girls’ School were joined by those from Malvern Parish CofE Primary School and Great Malvern Primary School.

With plenty of audience participation, pupils (and staff!) were introduced to characters from the Amelia Fang series and given tips for writing their own stories. Everyone enjoyed drawing along with Laura, hearing about her favourite books when she was growing up (The Witches, The Snowman and The Twits) finding out that Laura is afraid of the dark and learning about where ideas for her stories come from. Laura shared her top tip for writing with the children – “Take a notebook everywhere you go so you can write down ideas”.

Highlights for the children included meeting Laura and seeing her Amelia Fang-inspired outfit, learning how to draw Amelia Fang’s pet pumpkin, Squashy, and seeing their ideas come together in a hand drawn book cover design, created by Laura right in front of their eyes. Laura even treated her audience to a sneak peek of the title and front cover for the next Amelia Fang book which will be published next March – Amelia Fang and the Half Moon Holiday.

Some comments from the pupils themselves:

“I liked seeing Laura Ellen Anderson because she was energetic, lively and very kind. Her drawings were really fun, interesting and cute.” Ilana Coldicott (Year 6)

“Laura was very inspiring.” Freya Wall (Year 6)

“Meeting her, seeing all of her books; it was really fun. And I love her drawings.” Elizabeth Motteram (Year 6)

“It was very engaging. I loved it and can’t wait to read the books.” Claudia Sefton (Year 6)

Laura Ellen Anderson is the creator of Evil Emperor Penguin and illustrator of Witch Wars, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider, as well as many other children’s books. She is also the first female to have illustrated a Terry Pratchett book.


Malvern St James Girls Independent Worcestershire MSJ Competition Winner Takes to the Skies

Freiya Elton, a Year 8 pupil at Malvern St James Girls’ School, is celebrating after winning a prestigious competition which saw her taking part in

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this summer’s RAF 100 flypast over Buckingham Palace.

Freiya was one of over 6700 young people from all over the world who entered a competition run by the Never Such Innocence organisation, in conjunction with the Royal British Legion and RAF100 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Freiya’s poem The Sopwith Camel was selected as the winner of the ‘War in the Skies’ strand in the 11-14 year olds’ category.

Following her win, Freiya has read her poem to the 300 strong congregation gathered at the Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London in May for the Awards Ceremony; been given a personal tour of the RAF aircraft display and sat in a Spitfire at Horse Guards’ Parade. Her most recent experience was taking part in the RAF100 flypast in the RAF’s Voyager aircraft.

On the day of the RAF 100 flypast Voyager, and a number of other aircraft involved in the historic display, took off from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

“Voyager is the RAF’s sole air-to-air refuelling tanker and also operates as a strategic air transport aircraft. That makes Voyager pretty important – the other aircraft need fuel to do their job!” said Freiya.

“When I went into the aircraft I thought it was impressive. The staff were so friendly and one of the RAF crew answered all of the questions that my Mum and I had. I sat by the window and as we flew near to London I could see the sea very close – wow! We came across the land heading towards Buckingham Palace, it was a bit bumpy, and I saw 2 aircraft nearby, flying in the same direction. I looked down and saw the London Eye and the Olympic Stadium – we were flying so low, it was amazing. On landing back at Brize Norton my mum received a message from my sister saying she’d just seen us flying over Buckingham Palace. That was surreal!”

“Who would have thought that entering a poetry competition could result in becoming part of history!” said Freiya. “I had a fabulous time. Thank you RAF.”

Never Such Innocence was founded by Lady Lucy French in March 2014 to enable young people to play their part in the centenary of the Great War through learning, poetry art and

music with annual international competitions. The RAF 100 ‘War in the Skies’ strand of Never Such Innocence was a poetry and art competition to mark the 100 Year Anniversary of The Royal Air Force.

Malvern St James independent girls day and boarding school Worcestershire

Malvern St James Girls’ School, the all-girls independent boarding and day school for 4-18 year olds, is delighted to announce an excellent raft

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of GCSE results for 2018 with girls achieving a 100% pass rate. In terms of all the I/GCSEs entries graded 9-7/A*-A, at MSJ this was an impressive 61.1% compared to 20.5% across the UK.

This year, ten girls have achieved eight or more 9-8/A* grades in their I/GCSEs, whilst three girls have received a clean sweep of 9/A* grades which is extremely rare nationally as only a couple of hundred students are estimated to have been awarded these results in the UK as a whole.  Twins, Hattie and Kay Baxter from Malvern, have between them achieved nineteen 9/A* grades. Genevieve Manning from Cradley in Worcestershire, also achieved a clean sweep of 9/A* grades. We are thrilled for them on their extraordinary achievement!

At MSJ, 24.4% of all entries were graded at 9 which compares to 4.5% in the UK as a whole, while 39.7% were graded at 9 and 8 combined which compares to 11.5% nationally.  Similarly at MSJ, 59.2% of entries graded 9-7 compared to 21.6% nationally.

This is the first full year of results at MSJ reflecting the new reformed I/GCSEs and despite the well-publicised additional pressure young people now face, MSJ girls have not only triumphed academically but continue to maintain a healthy balance by pursuing their passions outside the classroom such as in Sport, Riding, Music, Debating or Drama at a very high level.

Out of the cohort, 96.1% of girls achieved 9-4/A*-C; this is no mean feat in what has been widely declared by all educationalists as a more rigorous exam year with reforms across the majority of GCSE subjects now grading papers 1-9.

Mrs Olivera Raraty, Headmistress of MSJ, comments, “I am extremely proud of all the girls who have all worked so hard to achieve these fantastic results with many individual personal successes, as not all students find examinations easy. With the new reforms, the GCSEs are now very much harder so I am absolutely delighted”.

Overall, an amazing 18% of pupils gained the top grade 9 in English Literature, which means that their ability surpasses the previous top grade of A*. In Mathematics, an impressive 48% achieved grades 9-8 and 65.4% of girls bagged grades 9-7. This is an exceptional result.

In the Languages suite of subjects, girls have performed very well. Modern Foreign Language, French, has 71.4% of entries at grades 9-7, 100% of entries for Greek at grades 7-9 and 83.3% of entries for Latin at grades 9-7. The School is delighted that girls are opting for difficult global languages including extra-curricular Chinese, where all girls for whom the subject is a Modern Foreign Language, achieved 100% A*-A grades.

In Humanities and Social Sciences, there is also a raft of excellent results. Geography has 69% of entries at A*-A; History has 68% of entries at A*-A; 80% of entries for Economics were at A*-B, whilst 92.9% of Religious Studies entries were at 9-7 grades. For Computing, 80% of entries were at grades 9-8 and 100% of Business Studies entries were at A*-C.

In Creative subjects, Art has done particularly well with 84.6% of entries achieving grades 9-7. The results for Music are similarly strong with 75% grades 9-7.

Mrs Raraty continues, “Together with the range of extra-curricular commitments the pupils take on, these results show that you can balance diverse individual interests and achieve impressive academic results.  The sheer breadth of these girls’ individual profiles and today’s results show the value of an MSJ education. They have done superbly well”.


Picture caption:  Three Malvern St James girls have achieved a clean sweep of 9/A* grades. From left: Kay Baxter, Genevieve Manning, Hattie Baxter.

Malvern St James Independent Girls Worcestershire Malvern St James bursary scholarship student heads to Oxford for Engineering

Malvern St James Girls’ School pupil Chloe Parker from Bredon, Gloucestershire, has gained 4 A*s at A level and will take up her place at

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St Edmund Hall, Oxford, to read Engineering Science. Her A level subjects include Further Maths, Maths, Physics and Product Design.

Chloe is recipient of MSJ’s The Founders’ Award, a bursary scholarship, introduced in 2016 and awarded to the school’s most talented students. It recognises academic excellence, extra-curricular commitment and community leadership.

Almost 40% of Malvern St James’s A level year group will go on to read STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects at university. For example, Maths at Oxford and UCL, Veterinary Science at Liverpool and Computer Science at Manchester. The school has earned a reputation for outstanding STEM take-up and grades, as well as a strong showing of girls who pursue STEM careers. Business and Management are also popular university choices this year, with almost 20% of students opting for these courses, including Management Science at UCL and Business Management at King’s College London.

Headlines for STEM results this year include A*s or As awarded for 69% of Maths entries; 100% of Further Maths; 44% of Physics; 80% of Chemistry; and 63% of Biology entries. Product Design achieved 100% A*-B grades.

Across all subjects, almost half (47%) of girls have achieved at least 3 A or A* grades. Headlines include over one quarter of A level entries (27%) at A*; well over half at A* or A (57%); and significantly over three-quarters (80%) at A*-B.

Headmistress, Mrs Olivera Raraty, comments, “I am delighted for our students who have been incredibly determined and focused. I also thank staff for their dedication and perseverance: this year has been harder than most because of the new A level course specifications, which have been rushed through at the same time as the GCSE system has been completely overhauled. The English education system has been pulled through the hedge backwards in terms of what staff and pupils have had to contend with, all in such a short time frame. It has been a herculean task; I’m pleased to see that students have risen to the challenge.”

Photo: Local girls from left to right – Ellie Manns, Chloe Parker, Daisy Butt, Izzy Lee, Imogen Townsend, Mary Beth Prindezis and Sarah Jackson

Malvern St James Independent Girls Worcestershire OLYMPIC FUN AT MSJ

192 children from local schools, including Hanley Swan St Gabriel’s with St Mary’s C of E Primary School and Malvern Parish C of E primary

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School, recently took part in Malvern St James Girls’ School’s Junior Olympics and were welcomed by the school’s Prep Department for this annual event.

The children who took part were mixed up into teams and represented countries including Great Britain, Brazil, Iceland, Spain and the USA. Events included Shotput, Javelin, 60m Sprint, ‘Marathon’ (a lap of the track), Beanbag relay, Long jump and High Jump.

Schools that took part were Hanley Swan St Gabriel’s with St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Birchfield School (Albrighton), The Manor Preparatory School (Abingdon), The Richard Pate School (Cheltenham), Malvern Parish C of E Primary School, Much Marcle C of E Primary School, Prestfelde Preparatory School (Shrewsbury), The Kingsley School (Leamington Spa).

Certificates and medals were presented to the winning competitors by MSJ’s Headmistress, Mrs Olivera Raraty. “The Junior Olympics is a wonderful event and we were delighted to have so many children from local schools taking part. There was a real sense of determination and sportsmanship all day and everyone had great fun,” commented Mrs Raraty.

One visiting competitor summed the day up in three simple words, “fun, fantastic and joyful”.

Roseanna Gray (Year 6, MSJ) said, “We would like to say a big thank you to the teachers for making the day such a fun experience, all the schools for taking part and to the Catering Department for providing a delicious lunch. It was a really wonderful day.

Malvern St James Independent Worcestershire Malvern St James Young Enterprise to represent county at the West Midlands Finals

Malvern St James Girls’ School is through to the West Midlands Final for Young Enterprise Company of the Year, having beaten off stiff competition from

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30 other teams from schools in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire region, including The Chase, King’s School Worcester, The Chantry School, Pershore High and Bromsgrove School.

The winning team – called Moments – will take their place in front of the West Midlands judges on June 13th to present in four categories – trade stand, company report, presentation and interview. Their product is a portfolio of items including postcards, 15 Reasons Why I Love You booklets and coupon books that can be redeemed for promises.

The girls have benefited from business advice from their advisor Rupert Parsons of Acacia Dentists in Bromyard, who has been involved with Young Enterprise at MSJ for a number of years.

A second MSJ team, called Zealous, who created handmade candles also garnered awards for Most Creative Business, Best Finance Directors, Best Company Report and Best Company at the South Worcestershire heats; and then Best Company Report in the Herefordshire & Worcestershire heats. Despite not progressing to the West Midlands Finals, they can be pleased with a very honourable performance.

Over 250,000 young people take part in Young Enterprise every year. It is a charity that aims to make the connection between school and the world of work, enabling young people to develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed. Each Young Enterprise Company has to create a product with a business team and strategy behind it, and then sell it at a Young Enterprise Trade Fair open to members of the public.

Olivera Raraty, Headmistress at MSJ, says, “Young Enterprise is a big thing at MSJ. We feel strongly about the importance of fostering entrepreneurship in our students; encouraging them to put themselves out of their comfort zone, allowing them to have the confidence to try new things and to take risks. By doing a scheme such as Young Enterprise, it allows the students to experience, albeit on a small scale, what is needed to successfully launch and run a business. One of our alumnae who came in to visit us earlier this year, and is now running her own very successful Artificial Intelligence agency, started out doing YE at school. She said that it helped her enormously.”

“I am also really pleased that a local business, Austin & Co on Church Street, has agreed to stock some of Moments’ postcards this Summer. We appreciate their support, and hope that it will be a mutually successful partnership.”

Prime Minister Theresa May recently visited her local Young Enterprise fair, where the companies sell their products. She called it a “fantastic showcase for the creativity and innovation of the young people involved”, and “a hugely positive impact on communities.

Photo: MSJ’s Moments team at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Presentation Evening. Their advisor, Rupert Parsons, is to the right of the picture.

Malvern St James girls' independent day and boarding school Worcestershire

Last week the Prep Department prepared for the spectacular production of ‘Pantastic’. It is a fun-filled musical, based upon the famous J. M. Barrie story

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of ‘Peter Pan’ – a boy who never grows up, who takes three children to Neverland to have some fantastic adventures there.

During production week, we had all-day rehearsals and we could all feel the excitement building as the week progressed. We all had lots of fun getting ready to perform on stage and had mind-blowing costumes too! Mrs Jones helped with most of the costumes and Miss Hayles designed and made the mermaid costumes for the Pre-Prep mermaid dance.

Mr Fry was a truly wonderful Director. Mrs Aris and the Pre-Prep teachers did the choreography. Mrs Woodhouse played the piano brilliantly and I accompanied her on the drums. The lighting and backdrops were done so well by Mrs Ewence and Alice in year 6 helped her during the performances. Miss Bryan did a super job with the scenery. Natacha in year 6 designed the superb ‘Pantastic’ logo. Mrs Smith, the mother of Hettie who played Wendy, did the girl’s hair and make up very professionally.

There was such an exciting atmosphere backstage as we all waited for the performance to begin as we could hear the audience in York Hall waiting to be entertained. There were about 200 audience members watching the matinee and over 300 in the evening performance! The girls definitely deserved a good audience, for they have been working on this production non-stop.

And then it was show-time! The acting from everyone was spot-on. Everyone was absolutely outstanding and there was so much characterisation compressed into every line. From Peter Pan to the ticking crocodile, each and every girl was impressive and there were many moments of laughter we all enjoyed hugely. The girls sang with all their hearts and special congratulations to the main actors and soloists in the production. Years three and four set the mood as they sang the songs in the play and they loved every moment. The Pre-Prep girls were absolutely great performing their mermaid dance, which the whole audience enjoyed thoroughly. The entire show went swimmingly with every single girl playing their part beautifully which all went towards a really fabulous show. After we all took our bows, it was lovely to see so many happy faces full of pride at what we had achieved.

Well done to the entire Prep Department for a really fantastic ‘Pantastic’ production!

Malvern St James girls' independent day and boarding school Worcestershire

Congratulations to our Head Girl, Chloe Parker and Old Girl Eleri Clarke (2017), who were presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award Certificates by

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the explorer and polar adventurer, Mark Woods in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex on Monday 19 March at St James’s Palace, London.

They had a fantastic day meeting up with other Gold Award holders and reminiscing about the different activities they did in order to achieve their Award. Chloe helped with a local Brownie and Guide groups, facilitated Debating and Speech at School, as well as representing MSJ in Lacrosse. Eleri volunteered at a charity shop, did ballet to a high standard, and attended a medical seminar in Nottingham. Both of them did their expedition in 2016 in one of the wettest periods of weather the UK has seen for a long time and coped exceptionally well!

Both girls always gave their best and maintained high standards of commitment and determination throughout their participation in the Award. They are excellent role models for the younger girls. Everyone at MSJ is extremely proud of them.

Malvern St James girls' independent day and boarding school Worcestershire

Malvern St James Girls’ School overcame rain and the bitter cold to become English Schools Football Association Under 11 Girls’ County Champions after winning the

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Worcestershire tournament held at South Bromsgrove High School last Tuesday (13th February).

The girls of Malvern St James qualified for the event as Malvern District champions and were pitted against representatives from the other Worcestershire districts (Worcester – Claines Primary; Wyre Forest – Sutton Park Primary; Redditch – Walkwood Middle; Bromsgrove – Parkside Middle) in a league-based competition.

Malvern St James had won their district competition (an event in which the Malvern St James ‘B’ team finished in third place) unbeaten and without conceding a goal. They repeated that feat on Tuesday, a series of results that saw them crowned county champions at the end of the afternoon.

Ian Fry, Prep teacher and teacher in charge of football at Malvern St James, said, “This is a fantastic achievement for our girls. They have worked so hard and thoroughly deserved their success at the district competition. The quality of the opposition was obviously higher at the county event, but the girls again deservedly came out on top. To represent Worcestershire at the Midlands Regional Finals is a huge honour and will be a fantastic challenge for us and a great experience for the girls. The progress the girls have made since the beginning of the year has been phenomenal. There is certainly work to be done on improving further before the regional competition, but I know the girls will be up for the challenge. I could not be more proud of all my team.”

Malvern St James will now go on to represent Worcestershire at the ESFA Midlands Regional Finals on Saturday 28th April 2018 at Nottingham University’s Riverside Sports Ground.

Malvern St James independent girls' day and boarding school Worcestershire

Malvern St James Girls’ School, the all-girls independent day and boarding school for 4-18 year olds, is delighted to announce an excellent raft of GCSE

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results for 2017.

Results overall for A*-C are up again this year to 97%, reflecting a three year trend; this is no mean feat in what has been widely declared by all educationalists as a more rigorous exam year.

Twenty girls (39% of the year group) have achieved eight or more A*-A or 9-7 grades, and others have come very close. Four have received double 9s in their English Literature and English Language papers. Overall, 12% of pupils gained the top grade 9 in English, which puts them in the top 2% of students in the country, and means that their ability surpasses the previous top grade of A*. These are the new, reformed – and more demanding – GCSEs for English Language and English Literature, introduced in 2015.

Mrs Olivera Raraty, Headmistress of MSJ, comments, “The cohort of students receiving their results today are the first to be measured under the new specification. The job has been harder for them, and with no coursework, everything hinges on the final exam.”

MSJ students take the Mathematics IGCSE paper – not the GCSE (the IGCSE is widely regarded as providing a better step-up to A Level Maths, which many girls go on to study) – and this remains on the old system of A*-E grades. In this subject, 69% of girls bagged an A*-A, 92% an A*-B and 100% an A*-C. This is an exceptional result.

In the STEM suite of subjects, in addition to Maths, girls have performed superbly. Biology sees 76% of girls receiving A*-A and 90.5% achieving A*-B; Chemistry, 71% achieving A*-A and 90.5% A*-B; and Physics, 71% A*-A and 100% A*-B.

In Humanities and Social Sciences, Geography has 86% of entries achieving A*-B; History, 82% A*-B; Economics, 77% at A*-A and 82% at A*-B; and Business Studies, 100% A*-B.

Girls have performed well in Languages with French gaining 80% A*-B; German gaining 100% A*-A; and Spanish gaining 77% A*-B. Nationally, there is a real decline in language take-up, so the school is delighted that so many students are opting for languages, doing extremely well in them and continuing on to A Level.

In Creative subjects – Art, Drama, Music, Product Design, and Food and Nutrition – results are similarly strong.

Mrs Raraty continues, “This shows strengths in subjects across the board, and the breadth of interests and talents of our girls.”

“The girls have performed brilliantly. I’m over the moon for them, as for most this is their first taster of public examinations and it has been extra nerve-wracking being the first to experience the reformed system. They have worked hard and it shows. These results are an excellent foundation to move forward on to their Sixth Form courses, where they will specialise in A Level and BTEC subjects that they love.”


Photo: ‘Good Results’ – Girls open their results at MSJ. From left to right: Charlotte Pyle, Emily Lewis, Holly Harvey and Nicola Connell

Malvern St James independent girls day and boarding school Worcestershire

Today, Thursday 17th August, is Results Day for A Level students up and down the country. After many nail-biting weeks, the big reveal is here.


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Malvern St James Girls’ School, the all-girls independent day and boarding school for 4-18 year olds, it has been an outstanding year with many exceptional achievements.

Out of a cohort of 61 girls, over a quarter of all A Level entries (28%) achieved A*, over half (54%) A*-A, and over three quarters (76%) A*-B.

There are some very impressive individual performances, with more than one third of girls (twenty-three) gaining three A* and A combinations, four girls gaining four straight A*s and five girls gaining three straight A*s.

Four girls have confirmed places at Cambridge and Oxford Universities to read History and Politics, Engineering, Modern & Medieval Languages, and Biomedical Sciences respectively, with one further awaiting confirmation for Mathematics at Cambridge.

This year’s results represent the highest pass rate in the last four years at 99.5%, and across all grade levels they are amongst the very best achieved in the same period, with A* grades in particular significantly up. Overall, 90.6% of students achieved A*-C grades.

Looking at performance by subject, out of 26 total subjects taken at A Level, three achieved 100% A* grades; six achieved 100% A*-A; 11 achieved 100% A*-B; and 20 achieved 100% A*-C.

Stand-out subjects include Further Mathematics which achieved 100% A*-A grades; German, Geography and History achieving 100% A*-B; English Literature achieving 82% A*-B; Mathematics, 78% A*-B; French, 67% A*; Product Design and Latin both achieving 100% A*; and Extra-Curricular Russian 100% A*-A.

PE (BTEC) achieved 100% Distinction* (regarded as equivalent to an A Level A*) and Music (BTEC) achieved 100% Distinction* and Distinction.

STEM subjects are a real strength of MSJ, with far more girls than average studying these subjects at A Level. In addition to the impressive Maths and Further Maths awards, almost 43% of girls achieved an A* or A in Chemistry and almost two-thirds an A*-B; in Physics half of girls achieved an A*-A and almost two-thirds an A*-B; whilst in Biology, more than a third achieved A*-A and half achieved A*-B.

The school has also seen excellent results for those girls who have taken the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which is becoming increasingly well regarded and advocated amongst universities. It is seen as excellent preparation for study at university and in occasional cases universities will offer on the strength of an EPQ. MSJ has achieved an almost clean sweep of A*-A in the EPQ results.

Such exceptional results mean that the overwhelming majority of students have sailed into their first choice university and course. Over 60% have offers for the top 10 UK universities.

Headmistress, Mrs Olivera Raraty, comments, “I am delighted with today’s results which see our girls heading to the best universities in the UK, as well as some to America and other international destinations. They have worked hard to achieve these results and they are very well-deserved.”

“There has been widespread comment about A Level results this year as Year 13s are the first to sit the new reformed examinations. Media reporting has highlighted the significant uncertainty about outcomes, as these exams are more demanding. In light of this, our results are all the more impressive as they reflect the huge amount of hard work by the girls themselves and very dedicated teachers in preparing for the new specifications.”

“This set of results shows the value-added aspect of an MSJ education. Whatever a girl’s starting point, we will ensure that she has the very best teaching and learning experience which will allow her to achieve her personal best. I am just as delighted for girls who have achieved a B or C in a subject they found difficult as I am for the girls who have achieved straight As. What is important is that each and every girl gets the opportunity to study a course they enjoy and can do well in at university, and the experience is a fulfilling one.”

“I would like to thank the teaching staff and house staff who have guided these girls through their Sixth Form career and have contributed to today’s success. Youngsters cannot achieve unless they feel happy in a purposeful and caring environment, and this is a particular strength of MSJ. Girls are challenged and stretched, and always well-supported.”

This year’s A Level students are the first cohort to graduate from MSJ under the leadership of Headmistress Mrs Olivera Raraty, who took up the role in September 2016. Previously, Mrs Raraty was Senior Deputy (Academic) at Notting Hill and Ealing High School in west London and Assistant Director of Studies at Wycombe Abbey School, both high-achieving and sector-leading schools. She has been credited with reinvigorating academic life at MSJ and encouraging innovation in the classroom and beyond.

It has been a buoyant year for the School. In the Spring, the rigorous Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) awarded MSJ the highest rating of ‘excellent’ for pupils’ academic and other achievements and their personal development. The report refers to the leadership of the school having an ‘ambitious vision’ for all of its pupils.

Mrs Raraty continued, “I’m proud of today’s academic results, but I am just as proud of what our Leavers have brought to broader school life. Through their time here, they have shown determination, maturity and a sense of fun. They have been fully involved in our school community and its leadership, as prefects, captains, club and society leaders, and mentors to younger years. They have also shown themselves to be talented sportswomen, musicians, actors, debaters, charity fundraisers, linguists, artists and more. It’s this rounded education and the soft skills it fosters that will equip them for taking their place in the wider world and bring them personal fulfilment. I wish them the very best for the future, and I hope that they will continue to come back to school to talk to younger generations about their experiences.”

Malvern St James Independent Girls Worcestershire Lawnside Reunion

Lawnside School was one of the first girls’ schools to be founded in Malvern in the mid Ninenteenth Century. It closed its doors for the

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last time in 1994, but last week 100 past pupils, from all around the UK and the world, came back to town for an Old Lawnsidians’ Reunion.

Girls who had been at the School from the 1950s through to the1990s came from as far afield as Hong Kong, Australia, the US and Canada to join Miss Duseline Stewart, Headmistress from 1971 until 1990, for the event. Teachers and House staff who still largely live locally, also attended.

Lawnside is now part of the Malvern St James Old Girls’ Assocation, and a Lunch was held at MSJ, followed by the opportunity for Old Girls to wander around Malvern before gathering in the grounds at Lawnside House on Albert Road South for a group photo. Finally, they went for Tea at Elmslie House which was previously part of Lawnside School, known as The Grove.

One Old Girl commented, “I hadn’t been back to Malvern for 30 years and had forgotten what a beautiful place it is. Lots of lovely memories came flooding back”, whilst another said, “Some of us hadn’t been reacquainted for 44 years and it was just like yesterday. Such memories!” Others remembered power cuts in the 70s: waking up to ice on the inside of the windows and having to get dressed under the bedclothes, it was so cold.

For those who returned to see their former classmates and teachers, it was a day filled with laughter, chatter, reminiscing and rekindling friendships. One Old Girl was the last in three generations of her family to attend the school, there were several nonagenarians amongst the crowd, and at least one mother and daughter visiting together. In the words of one Old Girl, “I am still buzzing after such a spectacular day.”

The school was cherished for its creativity, individuality and its strong Arts emphasis – George Bernard Shaw was a famous visitor to the school. Music and drama were always a particular strength of the school’s curriculum. Miss Stewart, who lives locally in Herefordshire, led reminiscences about the School.

She said, “It was so rewarding to meet my Old Girls and find that they were taller and older, but basically the same as they had been at school.” When Lawnside shut, the girls joined St James’s & The Abbey School in West Malvern. Subsequently, St James’s merged with Malvern Girls’ College, to form the existing school, Malvern St James.

Malvern St James Old Girls’ Association and everyone who attended the reunion are very grateful to the residents of Lawnside House for allowing them access to their gardens, and Anna and Bernard Taylor, owners of Elmslie House, for not only opening up their house, but also providing a sumptuous and much talked about afternoon tea.

Next year’s Malvern St James Old Girls’ Association reunion will be celebrating 125 years since the founding of Malvern Girls’ College, which was based in the current MSJ building, and a 40 years on Reunion for The Abbey School which was based in Malvern Wells.

Malvern St James has a thriving Old Girls’ Association and regularly welcomes Old Girls back to the school, not only for reunions but also to give talks and run workshops for current pupils. MSJ girls have recently enjoyed talks by Old Girls Caroline Lucas MP and Gay Haines, both of whom are Old Girls in The Times/Debretts Top 500 Most Influential Britons list. They will welcome Jennifer Kirby, star of the BBC’s Call the Midwife, to present Prizegiving this next week (7 th July).

Malvern St James Girls Independent Worcestershire


Malvern St James Girls’ School, the leading all-girls’ school for day pupils and boarders aged 4-18 in Malvern, Worcestershire, has achieved the highest rating of

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‘excellent’ in its inspection report published by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) this month. There are two outcomes assessed by the ISI in its Educational Quality Inspection: ‘the quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements’, and ‘the quality of pupils’ personal development’ and each achieved an ‘excellent’ in the inspectorate’s headline judgement.

Key Findings, which summarise the report, state that ‘pupils develop excellent levels of knowledge, understanding and skills … (They) communicate fluently and persuasively and have highly developed levels of numeracy, literacy and ICT skills … (and they) excel in sport, performing and other arts, and a range of extra-curricular activities’. The inspectors also observed that ‘a sense of fun and laughter is rarely far away’.

Malvern St James is led by Headmistress Mrs Olivera Raraty, who joined in September 2016. Previously she was Senior Deputy (Academic) at Notting Hill and Ealing High School in West London and Assistant Director of Studies at Wycombe Abbey, both leading girls’ schools in the day sector and boarding sector respectively. She brings with her a wealth of expertise in all-girls’ education accumulated over several decades.

Mrs Raraty commented, “This report is an endorsement of the quality of learning and life at MSJ and recognises the school’s many strengths in academic attainment, academic enrichment and extra-curricular activities. Teaching at its most effective was observed as ‘adventurous, and models the need to take risks … (pupils) make rapid progress as a result’. Girls were seen to ‘relish’ an academic challenge and to ‘acquit themselves with distinction’. I am pleased that the inspectors noted that our girls go on to study science and mathematics at A Level ‘in large numbers’, that they are well prepared for universities with the most demanding entry requirements, and refer to our ‘carefully tailored programme making available subjects such as Greek, Mandarin, BTEC P.E. and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) for all’. Also noted is the encouragement and support they receive from staff which allows them to ‘excel in teamwork and problem solving, encouraged by abundant opportunities in the classroom and an attitude of positivity’.”

“The ‘excellent’ rating in pupils’ personal development demonstrates how girls benefit from the pastoral support they receive, and the culture of the school and its community ethos. There are many references in the report to the spirit of collaboration, teamwork and a sense of belonging that imbues the school, and I’m delighted that the inspectors saw the sense of fun which is such a big part of who we are. They also observed that ‘even the youngest

pupils are willing to offer a partially correct answer in class rather than remain silent. They are not afraid to make mistakes … teachers establish pupils’ perseverance and resilience through their gentle but firm encouragement’.”

This willingness to ‘have a go’ and not fear making a mistake is a crucial element of the ‘growth mindset’ which is a core part of our philosophy at MSJ. In essence, it is the belief that with a positive mindset, failure forces us to think around a problem and overall it fosters perseverance, encourages innovation and achieves greater progress over time. If girls believe that it’s OK to try and fail, rather than having to be perfect all the time, they are more likely to take intellectual and creative risks and enjoy the ride, which means working harder and going further in the long run.

The ISI report went on to remark that pupils are ‘self-confident’ but also have a ‘highly developed capacity for constructive self-criticism’; they ‘contribute to the school and wider community’ and show ‘highly developed social awareness’. It was noted that girls have an excellent sense of personal and moral responsibility, and preparation for life beyond school is good because ‘although guidance is always available, the choices are always theirs’. Mrs Raraty comments, “All of this is really important in developing young women who are ready to take their place in the world and can do so with confidence but not arrogance.”

She continues, “I am very pleased with the report’s overall findings but no ‘excellent’ school can afford to stand still. There is always something that can be done better. The one recommendation from the report, for teachers to share best practice from the inspirational and excellent teaching found in the school, supports my vision and ambitions for us to be an exceptional place for teaching and learning.”

The school’s boarding provision has also been inspected in the Focused Compliance Inspection for Schools with Residential Provision and met all required standards. There are only two judgements in this inspection: ‘met’ or ‘not met’.

Mrs Raraty adds, “Overall, I think these two reports – Educational Quality Inspection and Focused Compliance Inspection – give all staff and students a great sense of confidence and energy moving forward. I feel a bounce in the step of the whole community: we knew we were doing well and it’s wonderful to have that officially recognised by the rigorous testing of the schools’ inspectorate.”

Malvern St James was formed from the merger of Malvern Girls’ College and St James’s School in 2006. Malvern St James is the only girls’ school in Worcestershire which goes through to Sixth Form. The school has five girls holding offers to Oxbridge this academic year and 60% of its Sixth Form are holding offers for the top 10 UK universities (according to The Times’ best universities league), including one holding a scholarship offer. Four girls are holding offers from US universities, including two scholarships with unconditional offers.

The school’s Senior Maths team recently reached the National Finals in London and they were placed in the top 2.5% of schools in the country. Last month, Flora Barber was commended in Oxford University’s Christopher Tower Poetry Competition – recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for this age group (16-18 year olds), and earlier this academic year Lucinda Hobden won Cambridge University’s Peter Lawrence Essay Prize in Modern Languages. One of our Young Enterprise teams has won the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Finals, and is now progressing to the West Midlands Final in June.

Alumnae of the school include two of this year’s Sunday Times/ Debretts list of Most Influential Britons – Caroline Lucas MP and Gay Haines, as well as tech entrepreneur Sara Murray, who founded, and Jennifer Kirby, acclaimed RSC actress and new star of the BBC’s Call the Midwife.

Malvern St James Girls Independent Worcestershire

Malvern St James Girls’ School’s mock election was given a boost when government minister Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire’s Conservative candidate, came to talk to the

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Year 9s and Year 6s about what it’s like to be an MP and key issues on the doorstep. The girls have been focusing on “Facts Matter”, a campaign which encourages everyone to look beyond the political slogans, soundbites and headlines to get to the truth of party policies.

And Harriett had a great message for them, “When I was at school, I would have laughed out loud if you had told me that I would end up as an MP and government minister. In fact, one of my teachers told me I should be a glove buyer at Harrods! It never even occurred to me to think of a career in politics – there were so few women in this area. But here I am.” The teacher who advised her that she should be a glove buyer, should note that the grown-up Harriet is now in command of a £178bn budget for defence over the next decade.

The girls were really pleased to welcome a female politician who has a positive message about encouraging other women to smash the glass ceiling and be part of wider female representation in councils and in Parliament. Harriett commented, “I would strongly recommend politics to any woman. You can influence your community at a local level and at a national level. I was a late starter in this world, not getting involved until my 40s. But it’s great to start young: that’s why it’s so good to see all of you organising this mock election in school.”

Harriett took lots of questions after her talk, which covered a broad spectrum of issues about nuclear weapons, why she chose Conservatism, the best and worst bits about a job as an MP, the economy, and how to combat apathy amongst younger voters.

Harriett’s closing comment was, “The one thing I say – even to my own family – is ‘I don’t mind who you vote for, but please vote for someone’. It’s important to register when you’re 18 and to use your vote as an expression of what you want for society.”

Harriett visited all of the political parties’ stands so she could meet the girls individually and give them pointers on their campaigns and things to think about. Whatever party MSJ students are supporting during the mock election, it was beneficial to meet someone who has walked the walk as an MP, has an insider’s insight into life at Westminster, and is a serving minister under a female Prime Minister.

MSJ’s Headmistress, Mrs Olivera Raraty commented, “The MSJ girls will be scrutinising policies carefully over the next few days, ahead of school’s election which takes place before Half Term. I’m grateful for Harriett’s expertise and her encouragement that, later in life, the girls can be anything they want to be. It’s good to feel that we may be fostering the politicians and MPs – perhaps even the Prime Minister – of the future.”

Malvern St James Girls Independent Worcestershire

Girls and staff at Malvern St James Girls’ School took to the Malvern Hills recently to fundraise for Malvern Special Families. Malvern St James aims

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to raise £10,000 for the local charity, as part of the school’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

A snake of 450 girls and staff, dressed in neon and sporting brightly coloured face paint, walked from Malvern St James, to the Beacon and back. Staff from Malvern Special Families greeted them as they reached the peak.

Malvern Special Families’ Community Fundraiser said, “A great big thank you to everyone for the massive achievement of getting everyone up to The Beacon. We really enjoyed and it was great to be able to be there and congratulate people on making it to the top.”

Mrs Olivera Raraty, Headmistress of Malvern St James, commented, “Everyone felt a real sense of achievement and enjoyed doing this as a whole school community. We’re so lucky to have the hills on our doorstep – what better place to go for a walk, and raise money for a good cause in the process.”

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