Our Vision 

Having realised, with your support, our vision for the first three elements of our campaign to Create the Future at St Catherine's, we are delighted to be planning the final stage of this exciting project - The CATalyst. 

In 2017 The WonderLab was opened by Maggie Aderin-Pocock, providing a  fabulous space where Prep School girls can explore Science in a fun, hands-on, purpose-built laboratory. In 2021 we opened The 6, welcoming girls into a building designed with them in mind - 44 study bedrooms, a fabulous kitchen and Common Room and all the hot water they could want for post-Lacrosse and early morning showers! In September 2022 we opened The Art & MakerSpace @ The John Palmer Centre, uniting all the Creative Art in a single space for the first time and allowing collaborative thinking and working for girls of all ages.  While the School is committed to building The CATalyst, replacing West Block, and preparing girls in an even more focused way for careers in STEM, we are conscious too of the current economic climate and the effect that it has had on us all.  Whilst the full £16m capital investment in the new building is not possible at present, the Governors have approved a much more modest start on the project with The CATalyst Phase 1.

Moving forward - The CATalyst Phase 1

This will prioritise work in the existing School Block with the creation of the Community Lab and a new Physics Lab to kick off the build. The Community Lab is a ‘super-Lab’ in size and has been designed specifically to accommodate both Prep and Senior outreach activity:  the future location for Summer Science Camps, Coding Workshops and Science teacher training activity, building on the work that has already begun in the Prep School WonderLab. During the School day the Lab will be used by Middle and Senior School girls for core curriculum work and extra-curricular clubs such as Dissection Club, Astrophysics Club, Maths Challenge and the Sixth Form Medical Reading Club. 

Dramatic Arts, Humanities and Maths benefit too

This extension and refurbishment of areas of School Block will also add two additional classrooms for Maths and English while providing additional tutor group spaces to support our pastoral care of the girls.  Finally, it will also see an exciting new home for Middle School Drama in a high-ceilinged space which is currently a classroom (see red box!).  A complete refit there will enable girls of all ages to explore technical theatre production, improvisation, devising and showcase their work in a modern drama studio environment.  To find out more visit about our Drama plans and how you can 'Play your Part' click here

How is this funded and when will it be ready?
This £2.6m investment in the girls’ learning environment is being funded through a combination of the School's reserves, positive cashflow and your generous donations received towards the Create the Future and The CATalyst Campaign. The staged programme of building is intended  also to limit future capital expenditure, mitigating against the need for temporary classrooms when the full CATalyst is built. This will be a significant cost saving at that stage. The new Community Lab and completely refurbished and extended Physics Lab will provide a vision of what is to follow in the next stage and as well as new and inspirational learning spaces for current students.  Our ambition is to open the Community Lab and new Drama Studio in Autumn 2024 and the new Physics Lab in Autumn 2025.
Join us on the journey
If you would like to support the teaching of STEM subjects at St Catherine’s or join the campaign to ‘Play your Part’ and support the Dramatic Arts and the new Drama Studio, please contact Jane Pink, Development Manager 01483 899787 or jane.pink@stcatherines.info

For more detailed plans of the changing interior of School Block and the new facilities click here.
For updates on the Phase 1 of the CATalyst build and our new humanities, maths and drama provision, click here.

"I am honoured to be able to have the opportunity to be able to contribute in a small way to the community of St Catherine's, and to be able to support some of the strategy for the future. I am keenly aware from my work, my research, and indeed through having a daughter in Prep School at St Catherine's, of the need to develop all children for a future which will be significantly different from today. The rate of technology change continues to increase, alongside increasing penetration into all areas of our lives. It's hard to believe that 20 years ago 85% of the UK did not have Broadband; Facebook and YouTube weren't founded; Google hadn't gone public and you wouldn't find Google Maps for another 3 years; and believe it or not, our first camera phone had only just arrived. We were either in some kind of dark age, or alternatively living in enlightened times. Either way the next 20 years will accelerate that pace and we need to prepare our children for a very different future, where STEM will become an increasingly important element." 

Mr K, Current Parent