Building contractors, Connolly and Fee, launched an art competition for Key Stage 3 pupils. The competition invited pupils to create a suitable design for a mural representing life in St. Mary’s for display on the temporary hoarding at the front of the school as building work on the new school extension takes place. The winner of the competition was Year 9 pupil, Emma Meeke, whose design was judged to reflect both the breadth of the St. Mary’s pupil experience and the spirit of the school community. Emma received a prize of £100 from Connolly and Fee for her excellent design. Meanwhile, Carla Doherty, also in Year 9, was named runner-up in the competition. On Saturday 1 October 2016, both girls, along with some Year 12 pupils and Art and Design staff, came together to complete the painting of the mural. Professional mural artists, Jamie Harper and Ed Reynolds, were on hand to provide technical training in mural painting. The final mural is now on display at the front entrance of the school.
One of the important differences between previous educational qualifications (and the earlier grading of A-levels) and the later GCSE qualifications was supposed to be a move from norm-referenced marking to criterion-referenced marking.  On a norm-referenced grading system, fixed percentages of candidates achieve each grade. With criterion-referenced grades, in theory, all candidates who achieve the criteria can achieve the grade. A comparison of a clearly norm-referenced assessment, such as the NFER Cognitive Ability Test or CAT, with GCSE grading seems to show an unexpected correlation, which challenges the idea that the GCSE is a properly criterion-based assessment.