Form I (Grade 8)

Core offering:

  • English (Home Language)
  • Afrikaans (First Additional Language)
  • isiZulu (First Additional Language)
  • Sesotho (First Additional Language)
  • French (Second Additional Language)
  • Latin (Second Additional Language)
  • Arts and Culture
  • Digital literacy
  • Divinity
  • Geography
  • History
  • Life Orientation
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Physical Education
  • self-eSTEAM programme

Form II (Grade 9)

  • English (Home Language)
  • Afrikaans (First Additional Language)
  • isiZulu (First Additional Language)
  • Sesotho (First Additional Language)
  • French (Second Additional Language)
  • Latin (Second Additional Language)
  • Arts and Culture
  • Economic and Management Sciences
  • Geography
  • History
  • Life Orientation
  • Natural Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Technology
  • self-ESTEAM programme

In Forms I and II, other languages may be chosen as Second Additional Languages at an additional cost to parents. Please contact the school should you wish to discuss this option.

New literacies such as communication in the 21st century, research and design skills, civic literacy, social entrepreneurship, reading and reflection, together with project-based learning, are key areas that will form part of the self-eSTEAM programme in Forms I and II.

Forms III to V (Grades 10 to 12)

To qualify for a National Senior Certificate, girls are required to select from the following subjects:


  • English (Home Language)
  • Life Orientation

Choose one:

First Additional Languages:

  • Afrikaans
  • Sesotho
  • isiZulu

Choose one:

  • Mathematics
  • Mathematical Literacy

Choose three:

  • Accounting
  • Consumer Studies
  • Dramatic Arts
  • French (Second Additional Language)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information Technology
  • Latin (Second Additional Language)
  • Life Sciences
  • Music
  • Physical Sciences
  • Visual Arts

Available as additional subjects:

  • Advanced Programme Mathematics (from Form III)
  • Advanced Programme English (from Form III)



The St Mary’s Accounting department is a vibrant, lively department that aims to furnish its students with the accounting skills necessary to start their own businesses – and at St Mary’s we strive to encourage and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in our girls.

Accounting is offered as an optional subject from Form III onwards. The girls learn principles of accounting and financial management such as bookkeeping, drawing up financial statements and interpreting financial ratios for sole proprietors, partnerships, close corporations and companies. The curriculum is extensive and prepares the students for future careers in finance. It is a challenging subject that teaches our girls to think logically and to work accurately under time pressure.

Consumer Studies

Consumer Studies focuses on developing knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to enable girls to become responsible and informed consumers of food, clothing, housing, furnishings and household equipment and to use resources optimally and in a sustainable manner.

As we are all consumers, Consumer Studies teaches essential life skills. The subject further promotes the application of knowledge and skills in the production of marketable products that will meet consumer needs. Consumer Studies embraces the following areas: food and nutrition, clothing, housing and furnishings, and production and marketing of food.

Dramatic Arts

Dramatic Arts gives girls the opportunity to explore personal and relevant issues in a safe and stimulating environment. With this, comes the ability to express themselves formally and informally. The Dramatic Arts develop analytical thinking and creative problem solving, and girls are challenged to take risks emotionally, physically and intellectually. A fantastic skill learnt here is the ability to work independently, as well as being able to work with a range of unique individuals. There is no doubt that this subject equips girls to deal with life.

Each year a school play is presented, which provides girls with the opportunity to explore their talent and versatility as actors. Technical aspects of the subject such as set design, lighting, sound engineering and costume design are also explored. The subject is wide-ranging and plumbs the talents, overt or subtle, of our girls. In addition to the school play, house plays are staged and directed by senior Drama girls. They make a superb platform for the discovery of talent, and the development of inter-personal skills and time management.

We arrange regular theatre visits, and the girls are required to write formal reviews and analyses of the productions they see.

Economic and Management Sciences (EMS)

Economic and Management Sciences is a compulsory subject for Form II students and is offered to this year-group only. This subject covers basic aspects of accounting, economics and business management, and aims to provide the pupils with a general overview of key concepts in the world of commerce. In EMS we hope to teach girls the value of money, although some parents might question our success at times!

The main focus of the curriculum is on accounting, since we aim to introduce this subject to the Form II girls so that they are able to make an informed choice when selecting their subjects for Form III. This means that our girls know what to expect if they choose accounting as a subject, and we hope to encourage them to become entrepreneurs.


We aim to make the varied subject of Geography relevant, exciting and enjoyable. We study physical, human and economic aspects, as well as map work, aerial photographs and geographical information systems (GIS).

The study of Geography equips young people to understand and react in a constructive and positive way to world issues such as water shortages, power failures, global warming, clouds of volcanic dust, weather extremes, floods, droughts and landslides. We try to reinforce what is learnt in the classroom by visiting places of geographical interest and doing fun, practical activities.


History is a skills-driven subject that encourages students to develop critical minds and be empowered to make positive contributions in society. History asks: Who are we? Where are we? Where are we going? It is a subject that educates students for life. Historical thinking helps to develop a concerned awareness of the problems we face in the modern world.

Teaching strategies include group discussions, class debates and oral presentations. Source interpretation, analysis of evidence, assessment of bias, working with visual as well as written and oral sources, constructing logical arguments and using computer technology are skills central to history. These skills are of value in a wide range of occupations, especially in politics, journalism and law.

History is an important and relevant subject that helps students to be competitive in the international world. Their historical knowledge provides them with a context within which to understand the issues, debates and events that have shaped our world. History students are able to influence the world in a positive way.

Information Technology

Information Technology is the study of the various interrelated physical and non-physical technologies used for the capturing of data, the processing of data into useful information, and the management, presentation and dissemination of data.

Information Technology studies the activities that deal with the solution of problems through logical and computational thinking. It includes the physical and non-physical components for the electronic transmission, access and manipulation of data and information.

In Information Technology a pupil will:

  • Use appropriate techniques and procedures to plan solutions, and devise algorithms to solve problems using suitable techniques and tools
  • Understand and use appropriate communication technologies for information dissemination
  • Appreciate and comprehend the various systems technologies used in the developing of a computer-based system
  • Understand that all ICT systems are built upon software engineering principles
  • Understand and use Internet technologies for various tasks
  • Comprehend and apply the concepts of data and information management, to understand how a knowledge-driven society functions
  • Understand the social implications of ICTs and how to use ICT technologies responsibly

(Extract taken from Information Technology NCS Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement)

As the curriculum of Information Technology is largely focused on programming skills, it is advised that the student is achieving 65% or higher in Mathematics. Students should have access to the Internet and to their own laptop or desktop computer at home.


Home language level:


    The St Mary’s English department encourages critical thinking and engagement with a wide variety of texts. The English teachers have diverse personalities and teaching styles, complementing the varied learning styles of our pupils.

    English is a multi-faceted subject involving verbal proficiency, literary analysis, the pleasures of crafting creative pieces and critical reading of a range of contemporary texts. Our pupils are given wide exposure to all these areas, and are encouraged to use the full range of modern information technology in their exploration of language arts.

    Advanced Programme English

    Advanced Programme English is taught in Forms III, IV and V. It is assessed internally in Forms III and IV and as part of the final IEB examinations at the end of Form V. It has been internationally benchmarked at A level standard and Advanced Programme English students are certified by the IEB separately from their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results.

    Advanced Programme English has been offered to St Mary's students since 2011. It has proved to be a challenging and enriching subject for girls who enjoy studying literature at an advanced level, and engaging with texts critically and thoughtfully. AP students gain analytical and critical thinking skills that stand them in good stead at tertiary level across all disciplines. The subject also concentrates on the fluent and convincing expression of ideas.

    Students who elect to study Advanced Programme English must be able to read texts independently and enjoy reading across a wide range of genres. The assessment is examination based but students are expected to submit an essay or other task each term so that they can develop their skills.

    First additional language level:


      The Afrikaans department is vibrant and dynamic.

      Afrikaans is one of our 11 official languages and is understood by the majority of South Africans. Students planning a career in human resources, medicine and public service would certainly benefit from being able to communicate in this language, not to mention enjoying lifelong access to a wonderful body of literature.

      African languages: isiZulu and Sesotho

      The school’s African Languages department encourages the learning of both the Zulu and Sesotho language and culture. Our curriculum aims to provide four learning outcomes: speaking and listening, reading and viewing, writing and presenting, and language.

      In the classroom, our girls read stories that are rich in culture, assisting them to appreciate and embrace culturally diverse backgrounds, and respect others’ cultures.

      We are motivated to develop pupils who are not only intent on achieving good results, but also contributing to the wider community. Our languages have great currency, and provide opportunities for students who are proficient in them.

      Second additional language level


        French is no longer simply a European language, but also an African language; more than half of the continent is French-speaking. French opens up job opportunities and new horizons, and introduces South Africans to other cultures, as well as literature, art and philosophy.

        It is becoming useful, even vital, in many professions, from law to commerce, diplomacy and even medicine; there are few areas where French would not be advantageous.

        Universities look favourably upon applications that include a foreign language.


        Democracy, law, architecture, engineering, literature and drama all have their origin in the sophisticated world of the Romans, among other ancient civilisations. Our approach to Latin is to show its relevance to the Western world in the 21st century. Through Latin, students understand the etymological origin of 70% of English words; through Latin’s rich literary repository, students gain insight not only into the ancient classical world, but also into our Western way of life and more.

        Latin’s educational worth is indisputable. It is an exacting subject that trains the mind to respond logically, accurately, analytically and critically. These invaluable cognitive skills enhance insight and understanding, and transfer positively to many other disciplines and subjects.

        As not many girls choose to study Latin, St Mary’s is able to offer individual tuition and attention to our students.

        Life Orientation

        Life Orientation is an exciting part of the curriculum. It is examined through a portfolio of work which is generated during each academic year. The subject can best be described according to its outcomes:

        • Self
        • Community
        • Citizenship
        • Careers
        • Physical self

        This subject provides the opportunity for discussion and critical thinking about important life issues. It allows for the use of multiple intelligences and provides the opportunity for all girls to excel.


        The Life Orientation department is passionate about community service. We believe that encouraging ongoing commitment to serving our community in various ways to our girls helps us to remain aware that there are many people who need our assistance – and that a small commitment of time can make a vast difference to others.

        Life Sciences

        Our Life Sciences department develops an interest in, and passion for, the study of organisms and their organisation, life processes and relationships to each other and their environment. This discipline is dynamic, interesting and stimulating, and teaches a wide range of skills that can be employed in many different careers.

        The curriculum and the style of teaching have been adapted to cope with increasing knowledge and advances in technology, such as genetic engineering and biotechnology. It is essential that the students be educated enough to consider the implications of these biotechnological advances.

        At St Mary’s School, we are fortunate to have state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, enabling us to prepare our students for the rigorous demands of tertiary education.


        In Forms I and II all the members of the Maths department teach at least one junior class. From Form III onwards, we arrange our classes according to the girls’ abilities so that they are taught at a rate commensurate with their understanding of the concepts. We offer Advanced Programme Mathematics as an optional, additional subject.

        Annually, girls are entered in the Maths Olympiad.

        Before the Form V pupils write their preliminary examinations in September, the girls participate in a weekend revision camp which we have found to be beneficial.

        Mathematical Literacy

        Mathematical Literacy, which is accepted at university faculties where core Mathematics is not a prerequisite, is offered as a matriculation subject from Form III at St Mary’s.

        The subject focuses on real-life situations and is perfect for the girl who finds difficulty with the more abstract facets of core Mathematics.

        It enables girls to approach problems with confidence and allows them to discover methods that work for them, equipping them with techniques, knowledge, skills, values and attitudes for self-fulfilment and growth.


        Music is offered as part of the Arts and Culture programme in Forms I and II and then as a chosen academic subject in Forms III to V. The curriculum is broad and interesting, from jazz and contemporary music to improvisation, composition and arrangement, ensemble playing, world and South African music, as well as Western classical music.

        In order to benefit from all the streams available, it is recommended that girls are at a minimum level of Grade 2 theory and Grade 3 practical when they start the course in Form III. The practical standard required for the solo instrument at matric level is a minimum standard of between Grade 5 and 6 of any recognised examination board. These include ABRSM, UNISA, Trinity and Rock School.

        Many music students have gone on to study music at university and are highly competent musicians. It is naturally a tremendous source of pride for St Mary’s when former pupils go on to become professional musicians.

        The music curriculum aims to:

        • Equip students with skills to make effective use of music technology for creative processes
        • Develop the entrepreneurial skills and attitudes that encourage a culture of self-employment
        • Provide knowledge of the elements of music and then apply them in the creation, performance and appreciation of music
        • Apply creative problem-solving through performance, composition and analysis of musical works
        • Promote artistic expression through a variety of musical styles and available resources
        • Create an environment where students’ love for music-making is stimulated

        Physical Sciences

        The Physical Sciences challenge, enthral and satisfy the curiosity of the current generation of teenagers. The course follows a spiral approach, in which concepts are first introduced in a simple way and, in later years, these concepts are revisited and studied in greater depth. This conceptual progression allows for increased cognition.

        The course covers concepts within the realms of physics and chemistry, and is further broken down into the following strands:

        • Mechanics
        • Electricity and magnetism
        • Waves, sound and light
        • Matter and materials
        • Chemical change
        • Chemical systems

        The facilities available for our girls to learn Science are modern and cutting edge. Practical work is a large part of the curriculum. Our girls leave St Mary’s extremely well equipped to tackle the sciences at university level.

        This department also administers and designs the curriculum for the Natural Sciences, which provides girls with the opportunities to explore science in a hands-on manner at their own pace, while obtaining the scientific skills required to proceed to senior-level Physical Sciences and Life Sciences.

        self-eSTEAM programme – Forms I and II

        The self-eSTEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programme is founded on project-based and inquiry-based learning. This innovative and forward-thinking programme encourages real-world learning, with real experts and the opportunity for knowledge and skill-set expansion.

        For two weeks, in each term, our our Forms I and II girls become project-minded, fostering authentic learning each day. Meaningful questions are explored through project-based learning alongside inquiry-based learning. There are numerous opportunities to make thorough and reflective observations of local, national and global conditions, format action-driven questions from these observations and develop the skills required to address the identified challenges and consequently find far-reaching solutions.

        There is an organic and authentic integration of content and skills, stretching across various subject areas. The principles of design thinking form a basis of the project cycle, as well as other crucial 21st century critical skills and literacies. These include: defining and understanding challenges, empathising, ideating, prototyping, iterating, creating, innovating, collaborating, communicating, critical thinking, cross-cultural understanding, computational thinking, critiquing, reviewing, reflecting, civic literacy and learning self-reliance.

        Visual Arts

        Visual Arts is an important subject, as it develops creativity and thinking skills. Our economy depends on creativity to help find new solutions to problems. Studying Visual Arts and acquiring visual literacy prepares our girls to pursue a variety of careers, including architecture, advertising, interiors, fashion, graphic design, gallery management and curatorship.

        Visual Arts provides a balance in the curriculum, as both sides of the brain are developed. In the practical side of Visual Arts, we encourage self-expression. The girls develop both technical and conceptual thinking skills. Visual Culture Studies is the theoretical component of the subject, which connects with our cultural past. We study prehistoric art through to the Renaissance, contemporary and African art. This gives the girls a wide knowledge of visual culture and the debates surrounding it.