Academic

In the first three years at St Catherine’s all girls follow a general academic programme that is designed to give each girl a broad curriculum in advance of her I/GCSE options in U4. I/GCSE Options are taken in the Spring Term of the U4. U5 year girls also choose their AS options in the Spring Term after the curriculum at St Catherine’s may be divided into specific areas:

Careers

A comprehensive package of Careers advice and guidance is available to the girls both within the curriculum and also outside normal lessons. The formal careers programme begins in U4 with a weekly lecture that aims to inform and inspire girls with regard to their career potential. U4 girls are supported in their GCSE option choices through a combination of talks and personal discussions with Heads of academic departments and Tutors. In the 5th form girls attend Careers lessons and complete the Morrisby profile. This is designed to assist them in making A level choices based on their academic ability, natural aptitudes and career interests. During the Sixth form the focus shifts to consider university applications and higher education courses together with careers implications.

In addition to the curriculum time girls also benefit from a wide range of external speakers, career focused events, and the biennial careers convention at St. Catherine’s which allows girls to speak to practitioners representing a wide range of professions.
 

Creative Arts

There are 6 creative arts subjects: Art, DT, Drama, Food & Nutrition, Music, Textiles.  These subjects are taught on a rotation basis in the first two years.  There are three 10 week rotations, with four of the creative arts subjects taught in each rotation. Each girl will have two rotations of each of the six creative arts subjects in years U3 to L4 inclusive.  In U4 all girls take Music and Drama and opt for two from Art, DT, Food & Nutrition and Textiles.  There is no requirement to study a particular creative arts subject in U4 if a girl is considering it for GCSE, but it is worth bearing possible future option choices in mind in order to embed appropriate skills.  All creative arts subjects are available as single GCSE, AS and A2 options.
 

English

All girls study English throughout their first five years at St Catherine’s.  At IGCSE level two separate examinations are taken in English Language and English Literature.  In the Sixth form English (Literature only) is available at AS and A2 level.
 

Grey Matters

During the U3 a short course is given entitled Grey matters. This course looks at learning styles, how the brain works and underpins all work carried out throughout the curriculum.
 

Humanities

All girls study History, Geography and Religious Studies (RS) in the first three years at St Catherine’s.  RS is a GCSE option, History and Geography are IGCSE options.  Girls are required to choose either the short course RS (1 year), taken in L5, or the full course RS (2 years) as part of their GCSE options.
 

Information Technology (IT)

All girls study IT form U3-U5 at St. Catherine’s. Girls take IGCSE ICT at the end of L5. The course is designed to equip the girls for the world of work as well as further studies after they leave us.
 

Languages

In U3 all girls will study French, German and Spanish, opting for two of these languages at the end of the U3 year to carry forward for the next 2 years of study.  Girls who demonstrate particularly strong ability in languages may be invited to continue with all 3 languages in L4-U4, subject to uptake. This procedure is under annual review.
 
In addition all girls study Latin in the first three years and there is a short taster session in the U4 of Greek. All these languages are available as GCSE, AS and A2 options and each girl is required to select at least one modern foreign language at IGCSE level taken from French, German and Spanish. In the Sixth Form Italian GCSE,AS and A2 are available it the subject can be timetabled along with other options.
 

PE

All girls take part in a PE lesson throughout their time at St Catherine’s. In addition the curriculum option of GCSE,AS and A2 PE exists for those who wish to pursue PE as an examined subject.
 

Life Matters (formerly PSHE)

A comprehensive curriculum of personal, social and health education is taught by experienced teachers throughout the first 5 years at St Catherine’s. These lessons embrace a very wide range of issues and are designed to help promote an awareness and understanding of social, moral, cultural and ethical dimensions.
 

Sciences and Maths

All girls study Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics throughout their first five years at St Catherine’s.  Girls are placed in science divisions (sets) from the L4 onwards and in Maths divisions from the midpoint of the U3 onwards.  Movements between the divisions is possible and this normally happens at the end of an academic year. Maths and the separate sciences are available at IGCSE, AS and A2 level. The option exists at IGCSE level for either double award or triple award science, a marked difference to many other schools.  However, girls selecting double science are then able to select an additional GCSE option and broaden their GCSE profile.
 

Thinking Skills

St Catherine’s is accredited as a De Bono thinking school .  Thinking Skills, incorporating the six De Bono thinking hats and Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT) skills underpin all we do in the curriculum. Girls are encouraged at all stages to think and learn independently, think ‘out of the box’ and to task risks. Getting the ‘wrong’ answer is regarded as a positive step forwards and helps to raise the bar still higher!
 

Public Examinations - IGCSE or GCSE

The breakdown of GCSE and IGCSE subjects is as follows:
 
  • IGCSE: Biology, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, French, German,  History, Information Technology, Maths, Physics, Spanish
  • GCSE:  Art, DT, Drama, Food & Nutrition, Geography, Greek, Latin, Music, PE, Religious Studies, Textiles.
  • AS and A2: Girls opt for four AS subjects and have complete flexibility in their choice of nearly 30 subjects. New subjects include Business, Classics, Economics, Government and Politics, History of Art and Psychology. 
 
In addition, all girls in Sixth Form attend a program of Curriculum enrichment which includes further work on Careers, preparation for university and other Higher Education, talks from visiting speakers on current relevant issues, such as Student Finance, current affairs and global perspectives, plus the opportunity to take elective options such as cooking on a student budget, brushing up skills in Modern Foreign Languages and so on.
 
The flexibility to continue with four subjects to A2 level or to drop one AS subject and pick up another is highly valued by the girls. Unlike other qualifications (where there is less flexibility) the girls can decide whether they wish to pursue a single strand in their curriculum (eg all languages,  three sciences, all  arts ) or whether they wish to mix curriculum areas (eg 2 sciences, 1 language and 1 humanity).  
 

The curriculum for all year groups

A breakdown of the subjects studied, including options, is given below.

YEARS U3 & L4 (Years 7 & 8 Core Curriculum )
Art
Biology
Careers
Chemistry
Design Technology (DT)
Drama
English
French
Geography
German
History
Home Economics (HE)

Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
Latin
Mathematics
Music
Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE)
Physical Education (PE)
Physics
Religious Studies (RS)
Spanish
Textiles
Thinking Skills

 

YEAR U4 (Year 9 Core Curriculum )
Art
Biology
Careers
Chemistry
Design Technology (DT)
Drama
English
French
Geography
German
History
Home Economics (HE)

Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
Latin
Mathematics
Music
Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE)
Physical Education (PE)
Physics
Religious Studies (RS)
Spanish
Textiles
Thinking Skills

 

All Upper 4 girls study Music and Drama, but select two from Art, DT, Home Economics and Textiles, which will be studied throughout the year.

Senior School (GCSE/KS4)

IGCSE - Core Subjects
Double Award Science
English
Mathematics
One Modern Foreign Language (French, German, Spanish) 
ICT

Non-Examined Subjects
PE
Life Matters

HALF-GCSE 1-YEAR COURSES (Year 10 - Lower5)
RS

OPTIONS
Art
Biology (IGCSE)
Chemistry (IGCSE)
DT
Drama
French (IGCSE)
Geography (IGCSE)
German (IGCSE)
Greek
History (IGCSE)
HE
Latin
Music
PE
Physics (IGCSE)
RS
Spanish (IGCSE)
Textiles

Sixth Form (AS/A2)

Biology
Business Studies
Chemistry
Classics
DT
Economics
English
French
Further Mathematics
Geography
German
Government and Politics
History

Art & Design
History of Art
Latin
Mathematics
Music
PE
Photography
Physics
Psychology
RS
Spanish
Theatre Studies
Textiles

GCSE Italian
Key Skills: Communication & ICT

NON-EXAMINED SUBJECTS

Careers
Year Games
Life Matters