Physical Education

Physical Education at St Catherine’s is an important and well-regarded aspect of school life.  Physical Education does not only help girls to develop their talents, but also to promote a healthy lifestyle, but the values of commitment, resilience, discipline, dedication, teamwork, leadership, challenge, respect, perseverance, balance and time management, friendships and memories are all developed over time. 

Our aims:

  • To involve all girls in physical activity in order to develop a knowledge and understanding of a variety of sports.
  • To create an environment where the girls will enjoy participation in physical activity and so foster a desire for activity in leisure.
  • To assist the girls in the development and maintenance of an appropriate level of fitness.
  • The sports included in the curriculum are Lacrosse, Netball, Swimming, Gymnastics, Health Related Fitness, Cross-Country, Rounders, Tennis and Athletics.
  • We also offer a wider range of activities in the 5th and 6th form as well as GCSE, AS and A2 level.

Extra-Curricular Sport

Staff List

Mrs Nancy Moore - Director of Sport
Nancy completed BA Hons in Sport and Human Movement Studies at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff. She then went onto her PGCE at the University of Southampton. Nancy joined St Catherine’s in September 2000. In the past she has been involved in tutoring as part of Merriman House but now focuses on being the Director of Sport at St Catherine's specialising in the individual sports, as well as being the Australian Exchange Co-ordinator. Outside school, Nancy spends her time with her two children, competing in triathlons and loves skiing and travelling.

Miss Laura Cox, Head of Netball 
Laura is Head of Netball and the lead teacher of A level PE and, to support this, she is a specialist marker for the OCR exam board for A level Sports Psychology.  She also co-ordinates the St Catherine’s Sports Volunteers programme.  Until recently she was Assistant Coach for the ‘Netball South’ francise, as part of the National Performance Foundation League.  Outside of work she is a season ticket holder at Surrey Storm and loves watching these games and pretty much any live sport!  She also plays on the staff netball team which is currently top of the local league. Whilst her sporting life keeps her incredibly busy, her goal is to finally get a dog of her own and train it into a super-pup!

Miss Emily Gray, Head of Lacrosse
Emily completed a BSc in Sports Science with Management at Loughborough University. She then went on to complete her GTP at Berkhamsted School, where she then worked for 6 years. She has represented England since she was 14, playing in an U19 World Cup, winning a bronze medal in 2007, 2 x Senior World Cups and 2 x European Champions winning 2 gold medals. Emily continues to play for Senior England and has aspirations of achieving more in her England career. In her own time she enjoys spending time with her friends, travelling and socialising. 

Mrs Lorraine Kowalewska, Netball Specialist
Lorraine studied Primary Education with Physical Education at Roehampton University.  She has also been a level 2 netball coach since 2012 and is in the process of completing her Level 3 netball coaching qualification. She has coached netball for over ten years and she also plays for the Superleague Franchise Surrey Storm based at Surrey Sports Park. Her sporting highlight was playing in the Fast Five Netball tournament in 2018 at Copper Box in London with Sharni Layton in her team (she is an amazing defender and ex-international Australian GK). Alongside teaching role she is part of the Sixth Form boarding team and her husband and daughter both live with her in boarding. They all really enjoy the community feel, particularly making use of the amazing facilities at school.

Miss Krystyna Sawicki, Netball Specialist
Krystyna completed her BSc (Hons) in Physical Education in the Secondary Years at the University of Chichester. Whilst at University Krystyna captained the 1st Netball Team as well as being selected for the English Universities Team in 2018, where she was given the opportunity to play alongside current England and Superleague players. Krystyna currently plays for the Downs Regional Netball team with the hope to advance to the Premier League team. Alongside netball, Krystyna regularly goes to the gym and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Miss Tamsyn White - Netball specialist
Tamsyn studied Physical Education and Teaching with QTS at University of Chichester.  St Catherine’s is her first school in which she has taught, joining in September 2012. Tamsyn played netball for her University 1st Team throughout her degree and currently plays for Sussex NRG in the Regional League and the un-defeated Staff Netball Team! In her spare time, Tamsyn enjoys snowboarding, travelling and spending time with friends and family.

Mrs Vic Alexander - Lacrosse specialist
Vic studied Physical Education and Mathematics at the University of Brighton (Chelsea PE College). St Catherine's is her third school in which she has taught, joining in September 2001. She represented England in lacrosse for over ten years; her career highlight was playing in the World Cup in 2001 where the team achieved a bronze medal. Vic has also run three London marathons achieving a PB in 2012 of 3:49. Vic is very competitive and loves winning! She is still involved in lacrosse, tennis, running and netball. She also enjoys reading, socialising and spending time with humorous people!! Vic is also Head of Sixth Form Boarding.

Miss Emilie Chandler, Lacrosse Specialist
Emilie studied a BA Hons in Physical Education at Leeds Beckett University.  Emilie has represented England Lacrosse since the age of 15 as a goalkeeper, where she was on the U19 set up for 3 years before moving to the Senior England Squad where she is still currently involved. She also represented Great Britain at the World Games in 2017 where they narrowly missed out on a bronze medal. Emilie is a resident member of staff who is regularly seen in all boarding houses. Outside of school, Emilie enjoys staying active, going on holidays and spending time with family and friends.

Miss Arabella Pearson, Lacrosse Specialist 
Arie completed a BSc in Sports Coaching and Science at Loughborough University and is currently completing her ITT while at St Catherine’s. During Arie’s time at Loughborough she played Lacrosse for the women’s 1st team and represented Wales at the 2015 U19 World Cup. Arie is a St Cats Alumna who also spent her gap year in the PE Department so knows the school very well! Outside of School and Lacrosse Arie enjoys running, traveling and spending time with her friends.

Mrs Annabelle Blake, Tennis Coach
An LTA CCA coach and SRA Advanced coach, Annabelle has coached tennis and squash at St Catherine's for many years and encourages over 200 girls a week to plan tennis and squash throughout the year. She coaches team players in all year groups and many have enjoyed success at various tournaments that take place in the Summer Term. During the Spring Term girls in L4 and U4 are entered into the Road to Wimbledon National Singles Tournament, having their first experience at organising matches. A licensed coach, Annabelle is up-to-date with modern coaching trends; in addition to attending regular courses, most recently with Judy Murray and Sven Groeneveld, the internet also provides a key area of research in both tennis and squash coaching. Annabelle is actively involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme at St Catherine's, helping the girls achieve their physical section, as well as being a supervisor and assessor on the expeditions.

Miss Joanna Paish, Individual Sports Specialist
Jo studied Physical Education with QTS at the University of Brighton (Chelsea PE College). She joined St Catherine’s in 2018 and is enjoying working with such a diverse team of staff.  Jo loves to represent the schools individual sporting athletes as well as the team sports including: Gymnastics, Trampolining, Cross-Country, Golf and Swimming. Jo is a resident member of the boarding community and is often found in the sixth form CB or the Bronte boarding houses.   Jo is a keen runner and has recently completed her first marathon and Great North run. Jo also enjoys reading, watching movies and traveling, having recently completed the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.

Mrs Emily McWilliam, Swimming Specialist (Maternity Cover)

Miss Gayle Vickers, Swimming Specialist (on Maternity leave) 
Currently on maternity leave. Gayle coaches swimming to all Senior girls and also the Prep School swimming squads. She studied music at the University of Warwick (BA QTS) while also taking her Personal Training examinations up to Level 3 and full swimming coaching qualifications. In her spare time she loves walking Guincho her very needy cockapoo, learning the drums and playing her trumpet in the school jazz band! Some of her sporting highlights include: Lacrosse: representing England U18, U21, and Senior level in Lacrosse for over 12 years and received a Junior and Full Cap. Triathlon: Since 2010 representing GB in her age group in Triathlon at the European and World Championships and also in the 70.3 Ironman World Championships. In 2014 she was British Champion for her age group in the Sprint distance, was 5th in the European Championships in Austria (2014) and also Geneva (2015). In the World Championships in New Zealand and London gained a top 10 placing. Gladiators : In 2008, I competed in the television version of Gladiators; selected to be a contestant out of over 80,000 people and reaching the semi-finals of the show.

Mrs Helen Harkness, Gym & Dance Specialist
Helen is also the Boarding Housemistress of Symes House. 
Helen completed her BEd Hons in Physical Education at Chichester University (previously West Sussex Institute of Higher Education). Prior to joining St Catherine’s she was a Head of Department teaching both PE and GCSE Dance, before moving her career into pastoral management.  Helen has a duly role at St Catherine’s along side PE teaching she lives on site and runs the Year 9 Boarding House.  She has a passion for skiing and running and enjoys watching and taking part in musical theatre and dance.  Helen loves recreational sport and the simple joy of being involved.

Curriculum - AS/A Level

Examination Board: OCR

AS PE Specification

A Level Specification

Why study Physical Education?

Studying PE gives you an insight into all theoretical concepts of the sport you play. It covers the physiology, psychology, biomechanics and sociology aspects of sport and provides an in depth understanding of how to improve your own, and others’, performance. It is a well-respected subject, combining positively with other Science and Arts A Levels.

Course Content

AS: Focuses on the anatomy and physiology of the body, exercise physiology, biomechanics, including technology in sport, how the mind interprets and develops sports skills, the teaching and learning of skills, the social issues in sport such as drugs etc. and a look at other countries in comparison with the UK, in achieving excellence. The Practical looks at your skill in one sport and evaluating and assessing others’ performance for improvement.

A Level: Extends knowledge within applied anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, skill acquisition, sports psychology, sport and society, contemporary issues in physical activity and sport. The Practical focuses on performance or coaching, demonstrating skill and tactical awareness in competitive situations in one sport, as well as evaluating and assessing others’ performance for improvement.


  • AS: 2 x 1hour 15min written paper (70%), practical (30%)
  • A Level: 1 x 2 hour written paper, 2 x 1 hour written paper (70%), practical (30%)

Coursework Requirements:

  • AS - Practical assessment in one sport + EPI
  • A-Level - Practical assessment in one sport + EAPI

Curriculum - GCSE

Examination Board: AQA

GCSE PE Specification

GCSE Topics:

  • Anatomy & Physiology

  • Movement analysis

  • Individual Differences

  • The Demands of Performance

  • Fatigue/Stress 

  • Injury

  • The difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise

  • Characteristics and benefits of leisure and recreation

  • Health, fitness and a healthy active lifestyle

  • Training

  • Aspects of training

  • Diet

  • Psychology 

Reading Lists & Website Links


Teach PE

BBC Bitesize


A Level

  • OCR A Level PE Book 1, John Honeybourne, Sarah Powell
  • OCR A Level PE Book 2, John Honeybourne, Sarah Powell
  • OR the Combined book: OCR A Level PE (Year 1 and Year 2), John Honeybourne, Sarah Powell