Ethos & Aims

St. Catherine’s is about education in its broadest sense. Moreover, as a girls' school, St Catherine's ensures that its students develop in an environment which suggests to them in everything they see around them that there is nothing that a woman cannot achieve.

We believe that St Catherine's girls are well placed to pursue their further education when they leave school at eighteen as independent, sensible, caring and competent young women who will have much to offer in life. We provide sound advice and guidance on further education and careers and we prepare them to take their place as citizens of the world.

Academic results are important - the school is comfortably placed in the infamous league tables - but we believe that there is much more to an all-round education for the young women of the 21st century.

Our hallmarks are the breadth of opportunity afforded to our students and the special atmosphere of support and encouragement. The philosophy that happiness at school is the key to success and enjoyment for each individual underpins everything we do.

The Ethos of St. Catherine's School is embedded in its Aims which are:

  • to provide an exceptional all-round education which will prepare girls for happy and fulfilling lives

  • to create a safe and healthy school environment in which our pupils enjoy their education

  • to provide excellent academic teaching, up-to-date facilities and a wide range of extra-curricular activities

  • to foster the personal, social, spiritual, cultural and physical development of our pupils as well as their academic potential

  • to recognise each girl’s unique character and encourage her to see herself as an individual

  • to encourage our pupils to treat everyone with respect and courtesy and show concern for the needs of others, fostering team work and community spirit

  • to give our pupils the right guidance and self-belief to help them develop fully their own talents and abilities, both in and out of the classroom

  • to encourage a love of learning and an ability to think creatively and independently

  • to encourage Christian values, thoughts and deeds

  • to encourage each girl to develop the skills of leadership and a sense of responsibility towards others, within School and beyond

  • to develop a strong partnership between staff and parents to support the girls throughout their school years

  • to encourage the girls to embrace the inclusive spirit of St. Catherine’s as active members of the St Catherine’s Association for life.



Politeness -  – courtesy to everyone, always.











(Intellectual) Curiosity


Awareness of, and respect for, the school community and the wider world.


It is part of the ethos of St. Catherine’s that our able young women of all ages and stages are encouraged to take on leadership moments or role. They start with first steps in the Pre-Preparatory years where putting on an assembly presentation leads the school in worship, and into the Prep. School years where they can take up monitor responsibilities, form captaincies, school council membership and so on, culminating in Year 6 prefect positions of all kinds in preparation for serving the community both in their senior schools and in life in general.

In the Senior School, form captaincies and eco-monitor posts are given out termly, and within the house system there are many opportunities to lead groups or activities as the years go on. All girls may make presentations to their house group on something interesting that they have done, and by the time they reach Year 10, several girls are ready to assume stand-in house captaincies and games captaincies during the study leave of the girls in years 11 and 13 while they take public examinations.

In the Sixth Form, leadership can take the form of being selected to be a member of the prestigious Sixth Form Charities Board, to running a Young Enterprise Company. You can be a Duke of Edinburgh's Award Junior Leader, or a PE Junior Sports Leader. You may be involved in directing the house drama competition of conducting the house singing. The Houses also have prefect posts for all the Upper 6 girls.

Alongside this sits a raft of Subject Mentor positions for girls who work with Heads of Department to promote their subject area or to help support younger girls with their studies and offer advice from the pupil perspective when options are being chosen for GCSE or AS Level.

Finally, the School Officers, taking up post for a year from Easter of their Lower 6 year, play a very significant part in helping run the School. They can be chosen for a great many different posts which play to each girl’s individual strengths. Job descriptions exist at this level and a real preparation for leadership at university and beyond is the goal.

Leadership is something that is often intuitive, but it can also be learned, through a proper programme of experience, built up over many years. We are very proud of our girls as they lead their peers at many different levels and it is our expectation of them that wanting to lead in an area where you are confident is something to be proud of, and to aim for.

Alice Phillips - Headmistress (Senior School)
Naomi Bartholomew - Headmistress (Preparatory School)