Home from home
Boarding at St Catherine’s creates a home from home space for our girls where each has the opportunity to be with people who make her feel safe and secure, with whom she shares experiences and has fun. Living within a boarding house gives her the opportunity to talk things through, validate and make sense of her thoughts, emotions and experiences. It can help her to problem-solve difficult situations, as well as widen her thinking and enabling her to see other’s perspectives. Your daughter’s Housemistress will support her as needed and in consultation with you.
Through boarding, girls learn to build good relationships with a diverse selection of people who have many different interests. St Catherine’s creates a supportive community around your child, where she can grow and develop in intelligence and confidence.
Boarding at St Cat’s has taught me to be confident in myself, self-disciplined and independent. Louise
Pastoral care is at the heart of St. Catherine's. You daughter's Boarding Housemistress has responsibility for her wellbeing and happiness in the evenings and at weekends whilst she is the Boarding House. All Boarding Housemistresses are available to answer parents' concerns and queries either by telephone or email and will contact parents when the need arises. Parents of younger boarders receive regular updates on life in the boarding house and news of events and special activities so they can join in their daughter's School journey.
During the School day, your daughter's pastoral and academic welfare is also the concern of her School House Housemistress and is supported too by your daughter's allocated Tutor. The Housemistresses and House Tutors know their girls very well and so are able to offer support swiftly when the need arises. They look after the academic and personal welfare of the girls, ensuring that girls are as happy as they can be, achieving their best academically and developing into the well-rounded individuals who will make a positive difference to the world around them. We believe in building strong relationships with both our girls and parents so that we can work most effectively as a team to ensure the best outcomes for each girl. The Boarding Housemistresses, School Housemistress and House Tutors liaise closely to ensure an overall picture of your daughter's welfare and progress.
All of our boarding house staff live on-site, establishing a sense of community and ensuring that our girls enjoy a broad mix of study, extra-curricular activities and relaxing in their boarding houses with friends.
When more specialist support may be required to help a pupil through specific emotional challenges, we are fortunate to have the expertise of a Resident Psychologist and two counsellors on hand in school. The Pastoral Team is always there to support our pupils and to see them become the best that they can be.
Our girls are highly active, and we offer a number of options to provide them with well-balanced meals and give them the energy to sustain them through busy School days. All meals are freshly prepared and cooked on-site each day. Morning in boarding starts with the option of hot breakfast and toast, pastries, fruit, yoghurt or cereal. Lunch and supper includes two hot meal choices along with a vegetarian option. We also offer soups, sandwiches and a salad bar along with a range of hot and cold desserts and fruit. We have a team of five chefs including a pastry chef who makes cakes and patisserie items every day. Our culinary team regularly consult both girls and staff on the menus and we offer a truly international range of flavours and cuisines to suit all specialist diets.
The boarders have the opportunity to share their culinary cultures with each other through the celebration of national events, for example Chinese New Year and Nigeria Day. Our boarding girls will cook their favourite authentic dishes alongside our catering team giving them the opportunity to share their culture with their friends. The girls even get involved with decorating the dining hall to reflect cultural events!
All boarding houses have cooking facilities and girls often enjoy cooking together at weekends under the supervision of the Housemistress.
A variety of snacks is available for girls in their boarding houses throughout the day including baskets of fresh fruit, biscuits and snacks.
St Catherine’s provides an inclusive community where we are committed to supporting the wellbeing, personal development and mental health of your daughter. We believe in creating a culture which supports the physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development of each girl and creating an environment where girls feel they can openly discuss matters with their peers and also with their teachers. We understand that this is particularly important during the challenging teenage years and as the girls enter into adulthood.
We recognise that wellbeing is not just about supporting each girl but also actively involving all girls and staff to create a nurturing environment where we build positive self-esteem, emotional intelligence and goal setting so that each girl can fulfil her own potential.
Our Medical Centre
The Medical Centre is available for use by all girls and staff and we have a team of five qualified nurses along with resident psychologists and three counsellors. We are committed to protecting the welfare of our girls and we aim to provide a caring and open environment where girls can with confident to approach members of staff for support in privacy.
If your daughter is taken ill, we will immediately contact you or a guardian by phone and email and ensure you are kept up to date. We understand what a stressful time this can be, but our medical team are on-site or on call 24 hours a day including weekends during term time and can be contacted directly via the medical mobile number which is 07789 354664 and diverted to the Nurse on call. You can see our full Medical staff team here.
We have a comprehensive Safeguarding policy and trained staff to ensure that your daughter stays safe. To view our Safeguarding policy, click here.
There is just one compulsory exeat which is the weekend preceding the first Monday in May. This is a UK public holiday and School is closed. Girls can stay with their Guardian or friends.
The major holidays are:
Autumn Half Term - one week at the end of October/beginning November
Christmas - approx 3 weeks - December/January
Spring Half Term - mid February
Easter - approx 3 weeks March/April
Summer Half Term - one week at the end of May
Summer Holiday - approx 8 weeks July/August returning first week in September
Please click here to see a full calendar of future holiday dates.
We consider it essential that every girl has a guardian who can support your daughter whilst you are either overseas or living some distance from School in the UK. We will call on your daughter’s Guardian in case of an emergency or to provide a home in the UK when needed. All girls either go home in the school holidays or stay with pre-agreed guardians. It is compulsory for every International Boarder to have a designated guardian. Guardians are welcomed into the School community in the same way as parents and receive all our general communications that we sent to parents to keep them informed of our activities.
We always recommend the Association of Educational Guardians for International Students AEGIS . There are some local guardianship agencies which are accredited by AEGIS. and our Registrar can offer you further information should you need support in identifying a Guardian for your daughter. To learn more about AEGIS please click here.
We work in liaison with you to organise your daughter’s travel to and from School. You and your daughter will advise her Housemistress of her travel plans and flight arrangements and our efficient administrator organises an end of term coach transfer to London or taxis for individuals or groups of girls to match their travel plans.
Alternatively, guardians or family in the UK are welcome to organise the transfers to and from school themselves. Sometimes overseas boarders do not return home immediately and might go to their guardian to await a flight at the right time the next day, or may spend a few days with a day girl friend. In those situations, the relevant adult would pick them up and parents would be asked to give their consent.
We publish all our term dates, holidays and our one May exeat well in advance to help you with your travel plans. You can find these here. We expect all our students to arrange to be in School for the full duration of every term.
St Catherine's is a Church of England School. We welcome girls of all faiths and none and we have our own resident chaplain, Rev'd Dr Benji McNair Scott. Our beautiful chapel is a place of reverence and is much loved and alumnae remember it with great affection and gratitude. It is always open as a place where girls can come and be still and pray if they so choose.
Boarders attend evening Chapel every Wednesday, led by our Chaplain. It is a time for reflection, prayer and quiet in the middle of a very busy and full week. This is followed by a communal meal for all the boarders and Resident staff. Boarders also attend a weekly service at the local village church, Holy Trinity, Bramley every Sunday morning. We celebrate three holy days throughout the year: Advent, Ash Wednesday and Ascension Day. Once a year, each School House puts together a Sunday communion service which the girls and their family members attend. These are lovely occasions, stamped with the Houses’ individual mark. Leavers’ Communion in May is also a very special occasion for our Upper Sixth girls and their parents who are welcome to attend. Boarders may also join the Chapel Choir.
For more information about our Chapel and its role at St Catherine’s, click here.