There is a wide range of clubs and activities available at St. Catherine’s, a few happening before school and some at lunchtime, but most happening after school. The boarders have their own programme of later evening and weekend activities too.
Girls can take part in scheduled music and sporting events, but can also further their enjoyment in other areas. The opportunities are wide, and may vary slightly each year depending on the enthusiasm and talents of the current staff. Clubs include History or Geography, Languages or Debating, Science or Puzzles, Pottery or Papier Maché. There is certainly much to be enjoyed.
The two new free Chess guides in partnership with the English Chess Federation: Chess for Beginners and Chess for Improvers, both written by our resident chess coach Andrew Martin IM, can be found under the Chess dropdown list below.
- Activities Week
- Australian Exchange (U4 girls only)
- Charities Board
- Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme
- Philanthropy Board
- Residential Visits & Tours
- Young Enterprise
In the last full week of the Summer Term, the normal timetable is suspended and all girls take part in a programme of activities for a week, the theme being that of challenge.
This enables all girls to widen their experiences in a variety of areas and to develop transferable / key skills beyond the usual curriculum and the formal classroom or laboratory.
The current programme for Activities Week is as follows, is covered by school fees, and all girls take part.
The U3 spend half the week in Lasham in Hampshire where they get involved in outdoor activities. They spend the rest of the week based in school and have a day ‘live action role play’ with the Drama Department, a day of creativity with the Art Department and a day of ‘STEM’ inspired practical challenges.
The theme for L4 is 'Challenge', in particular personal and group challenge in an outdoor activity programme based in the Quantocks. During the week the girls will participate in lots of team-building and co-operative activities.
Undertake two separate trips. One is to the Great War battlefields of France and Flanders, where they visit a number of interesting and thought-provoking sites guided by expert Battlefields Guides. The second is where they head off into the Surrey Hills to learn some camp craft and camp cooking as well as learning useful navigation skills and how to pack a hiking rucksack efficiently! The U4 expedition provides a valuable grounding for all sorts of adventures later on, in terms of practical skills gained and a little self-reliance and self-knowledge gained along the way.
The L5 spend the week in France, Spain or Germany. These countries reflect their choices of Modern Foreign Languages at GCSE. Dual linguists are likely to be recommended which language they should focus on by their modern languages teachers.
The Upper 5 will have spent the week before Activities Week in school enjoying an introduction into Sixth Form life. In Activities Week, a good number embark on the assessed expedition for the Silver Award within the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. The others take part in voluntary service in the local area. Previous projects have ranged from helping in infant schools or senior citizens’ day centres to reclaiming the Wey and Arun canal bank.
The L6 are based in school on a very important pre-university week. They have the opportunity to visit some universities, as well as learning about UCAS applications, interviews and completing the first drafts of their personal statements.
These are after school sessions specifically aimed at middle school classes. Open studio enables students to take part in new projects.
This is a weekly session for boarders who are senior artists and want to use the art facilities in the evening to further their coursework and to complete weekly preps. It is an informal atmosphere run by the gap students. The girls have access to the art room and computer suite.
SENIOR ART Session/LIFE DRAWING
We offer after school sessions for senior girls in order for them to work on their GCSE and A2 studies. There is a relaxed atmosphere with staff on hand to help if required but it is not a taught session, unless special arrangements are made. We would encourage senior girls to make use of this provision as they have access to all the equipment they need and a creative environment in which to develop their work. The 6th form shed is available for the senior artists at all times and over weekends.
The Australian Exchange is offered to girls in the U4 year only. The successful girls from our school will spend the Spring term at St Catherine's School in Melbourne. In the Summer term, their host sister joins their exchange family in the UK. Each half of the exchange is approximately 12 weeks. A member of staff accompanies our girls to Australia to ensure that they are well settled with their host families.
Applications of interest are sent in by the students early in the Autumn term to the Headmistress' PA.
There is then an interview process which takes place in late September. Girls are given a variety of questions from a panel of teachers and successful applicants are notified in writing. Feedback is always given to unsuccessful applicants as well.
Pairings are then made between our students and the Australian students and then introductions take place. There is a parent information evening for the selected families late in the Autumn Term.
Mrs Nancy Moore is the Australian Exchange Co-ordinator at our school.
From a St Catherine’s Exchange Family: The entire family has enjoyed the exchange and would whole-heartedly endorse the exchange programme. Our daughter benefited enormously. It offers the opportunity to experience many new frontiers: visiting Sydney, surfing in warm waters, living in a city and developing lasting friendships across the globe are all an integral part of the exchange. However, by far the most important ingredient, is the positive experience she acquired by living with a different family and coming through the odd moment of feeling a long way from home. There can be little better for building the self-confidence of a thirteen year old. The programme requires a high level of commitment from the family but this is repaid many times over by the positive benefits for your daughter. We were initially unsure as to whether the exchange was a good idea, but were persuaded otherwise by our daughter and she was correct.
- To promote an awareness of the international links we have as a school in Africa and Afghanistan and any other links we form in future years.
- To attract funding for specific projects through fund raising activities.
- To be a focused group as a catalyst for 2 or 3 major fund raising events bringing together Upper and Lower Six girls and developing their skills and strengths in leadership and organisation.
Approximately 30 sixth formers - coordinated by Mrs Jean Arrick . They are selected from written applications and girls who are invited to join this group will be required to come to weekly meetings and have the commitment to get involved in all the fund raising activities.
The international links mentors for each year are co-opted for specific roles relating to making contacts within our partner schools through letters and cards. In future years it is envisaged that the international links mentors would be the representatives of the group.
- Fund-raising: various major events per year; including: Sixth Form Dinner Dance, The Big Cat Walk Fashion Show, Jumble sale, but the specific events are decided by the board.
- Annual Fun sports day organised for our link school, St Peter's Walworth Grove, London.
- 6th form trips to various overseas destinations to complete projects which are supported by the charities board fundraising.
- Chess Club
- Guides to Chess
- National Girls' Schools Chess Championships
- School Matches
- Play Chess Online
Home Learning on YouTube
Dear Chess Players,
I'm pleased to say that I have created a new You Tube Channel.
In these extraordinary times, educators are turning to home learning as a way for you to practise your skills. There is no reason why the same should not happen in the case of chess.
So you will find a number of videos on my you tube channel - some are aimed at children and beginners, others are topical chess videos on a variety of subjects designed for more advanced players.
If you are able to play chess at home daily or even once a week you will most certainly see your skills improve.
Chess FIDE Senior Trainer and International Master
Weekly Lunchtime Clubs:
We run a weekly lunchtime Chess Club. Girls can just turn up, learning to play or playing against each other and Mr Nguyen.
There is also a weekly masterclass held after school. This aims at girls who want to learn more about tactics and/or want to participate in matches against other schools. The class is run by Mr Martin, International Chess Master. Students also get the opportunity to take part in the UK Chess Challenge each Spring term.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mr Nguyen firstname.lastname@example.org
- St Catherine's, Bramley, is the proud sponsor of the ECF National Schools girls' team event.
- Founded in 2014, the National Girls’ Chess Championships have surpassed expectations, year on year. This is the most dynamic national chess competition for young women: an exceptional assembly of like-minded girls.
- In 2014/15 the tournament almost doubled in size from the previous year and the 2015/16 event was even more popular.
- At the 2019 tournament we welcomed schools from all over the country and we warmly invited new participants.
- At St Catherine's, children and parents can now play chess online with the English Chess Federation (ECF).
- Remember: regular practice will seriously improve your game.
- The link for playing chess online is below. Sign up and start play; it really is as simple as that.
- The website below is great for practising your chess abilities. However, there are some suggested actions beforehand:
- Select an anonymous username
- Disable the chat feature
St. Catherine’s engages in a number of external competitions annually, including Oxford, Cambridge, ESU Mace, LSE and Imperial. We also engage in “friendly” debating with RGS and GHS. Debate club runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and aims to build students’ confidence in presenting their arguments and encourages them to keep abreast of world affairs.
What our Debating Prefects have to say:
Debating is an activity that requires you to be able to think intelligently and concisely under pressure, something I consider to be a fundamental life skill. It also teaches you how to construct a clear and coherent argument, whilst picking apart the argument of the opposition. It does not matter if you have no prior knowledge on a particular subject either, as through practice, you will be able to tell where the fundamentals in every argument lie; this is always where the most interesting debating takes place!
For me debating is, more than anything, a chance to express your own thoughts and opinions backed up by evidence and reason. It gives you the opportunity to show your passion for current affairs. You also get to hear the different viewpoints of a variety of other people which can often influence your own take on issues. As well as this you learn that sometimes you must take a stance and defend something that you may not actually believe, which I think although can be difficult is a vital skill. In fact, simply being able to address others and speak coherently in front of an audience is really an invaluable skill. Lastly, debating is something which will not only improve your eloquence but also your general knowledge and reasoning ability and it really is so much fun too.
Contact: Mrs Jean Arrick: email@example.com
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a highly prestigious programme aimed to enrich students’ education beyond academic achievements. Within the programme, there are three awards to aim towards, starting with bronze and developing towards the challenging, yet rewarding, Gold Award. St Catherine’s fully supports any students who want to complete this programme.
Within each stage of DofE, there are four key components: the expedition, volunteering, physical and a skill, as well as gold consisting of a week-long residential trip, all of which give students the opportunity to widen their experience and knowledge outside the classroom.
The expedition for Bronze DofE consists of two days of walking and one night of camping whilst cooking all your own meals and setting up and maintaining your campsite. In Silver and Gold, you do much of the same things but for more days and longer walks. Of course, the expedition can be challenging, possibly due to weather or difficult terrains, but it is also a highly rewarding experience and an opportunity to bond with people in your year group.
As already mentioned, the reward is regarded very highly by universities and employers and it shows perseverance, ability to work in a team and a skill set that would not have otherwise been obtained. Not only this, it is always an incredibly fun experience that is always enjoyed by everyone. You also receive your Gold aware at Buckingham Palace or St James' Palace from a member of the royal family.
Written by the Duke of Edinburgh Ambassadors, Amelia and Emilia:
St Catherine’s Equestrian Team
St Catherine's regularly fields teams, and individuals, to take part in competitions organised by the National Schools Equestrian Association. Girls compete in all disciplines: dressage, show jumping and arena eventing on their own horses.
The school currently has teams ranging from those girls jumping 60cms grassroots courses, through to those jumping over 1m. Over the past few years, St Catherine’s has regularly sent qualifying teams to the National Schools' Championships and to the County Championships. We are always keen to welcome new riders.
For more information, please contact Mrs Andrea Fuller
The Philanthropy Board was formed two years ago last and now is a group of approximately 30 Upper and Lower Six girls. A major event which raised £2,000.00 for School Club Zambia and Shikshan Sangsthan’ school in India was a very successful father daughter dinner which was held in January. This group meets every Monday lunchtime at 1.30pm.
We focus on running family events and this year are organising St. Cat’s Film Festival in aid of Cure Ethiopia and CS Don. Last year was the Music Festival which raised £,5,000.00 for Action Against Hunger. We also join the Charities Board girls in running the fun sports day for the children at St. Peter’s School, Lambeth. Our meetings are very relaxed and we are proud of the support we give to small charitable organisations.
St Catherine's offers girls the opportunity to take part in residential trips and tours in school holidays which underpin academic study or enhance the enjoyment of extra curricular sport and music-making.
A pattern of activities has established over time to let parents and girls plan holidays and financial management of such opportunities and is available here.
Approximate costs can be gleaned from the publication of the final cost of the last such trip which is given on the chart. Note that these sums do not factor in pocket money. Some sports tours also include fund-raising elements and parents work together with the PE Department to support this.
Individual ClarionCall emails will be sent to those invited to consider taking part in all these trips/tours, well in advance of the tour itself. This grid is therefore a record of past activities and forecast of the known future plans. Please accept that a past pattern of activity may repeat but may be subject to variation. Trips and tours should not be assumed to be offered ahead if they are not published here.
If you have any queries concerning forthcoming touring opportunities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a weekly club aimed at middle school classes. This club enables students to take part in new projects and trying out new materials and techniques.
AFTER SCHOOL CLUB
This is a twice-weekly after school club where students can extend their class work or finish up any outstanding work.
Young Enterprise is an educational charity that runs a range of school-based schemes that are designed to develop business and entrepreneurial skills.
At St Catherine’s, students in the Lower Sixth have the opportunity to set up and run their own private limited company as part of the Young Enterprise’s ‘Company Programme.’ The philosophy of this programme is that students should ‘learn by doing’. With this in mind the students: elect their own management team and allocate roles and responsibilities; design and produce a product of their own; raise start-up finance; and finally wind-up the business, producing an end of year balance sheet and profit and loss account in the process.
The Company Programme is designed to be run over a school year. The students meet once every week and are assisted by visiting business advisors and their link teacher.