St Catherine’s School Review, Rankings, Fees, And More

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of the United Kingdom, St Catherine’s School stands as a beacon of academic excellence and holistic development. As you embark on this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the heart of St Catherine’s, unearthing invaluable insights into its rankings, tuition fees, captivating facilities, and the essence that sets it apart. Join us in unraveling the tapestry of educational brilliance that defines this fine institution.

St Catherine's School

Table of Contents

Key Features of St Catherine's School

  • Boarding: Yes
  • Local authority: Surrey
  • Pupils: 625; sixth formers: 166
  • Religion: Church of England
  • Fees: Day £22,395; Boarding £37,950 pa
  • Ranking: 47

St Catherine's School Results

2023: 88% 9-7 at GCSE; 59.6% A*/A at A level.

2022: 90% 9-7 at GCSE; 79% A*/A at A level (95% A*-B).

At St Catherine’s School, the teaching and learning process is characterised by a quiet and purposeful atmosphere, where girls are fully engaged and focused. The school upholds a traditional teaching approach, which has yielded outstanding results. The system provides girls and their parents with clear GCSE grade expectations right from the start. Rather than fostering competition between pupils, it fosters an environment where subjects are collaboratively pursued. The school’s head emphasises that the groundwork for success at Russell Group Universities is laid as early as year 7, highlighting the importance of early preparation.

The commitment to excellence is reflected in the curriculum structure, which features IGCSEs for core subjects and art, alongside GCSEs for RE and languages. St Catherine’s offers an array of language options at GCSE and A level, including French, German, Spanish, Latin, and Greek. The study of Latin and Greek begins in the first three years, with a brief introduction to Greek in year 9. Additionally, the school places emphasis on practical skills, as exemplified by Microsoft Office Specialist Qualifications completed before the end of year 10, and a short course in religious studies.

St Catherine’s stands out for its dedicated teaching staff and subject-specific study skills clinics, which have garnered praise from parents. The sixth form curriculum encompasses a broad spectrum of 28 subjects, with each girl selecting three for in-depth study. Science and maths remain popular choices among students, while an element of fun is infused through the inclusion of subsidiary subjects like Spanish film or French business.

While St Catherine’s prioritises traditional academics, it also integrates practical and creative learning experiences. A glimpse into a culinary arts theory class reveals a unique approach to education, where students learn not only the culinary arts but also the art of marketing dishes using descriptive language. The classroom itself is modelled after Masterchef kitchens, reflecting the dedication and innovative spirit of the teaching staff.

Boarding Experience in St Catherine's School

Boarding at St Catherine’s School is an integral and widely embraced aspect of the St Cat’s experience. Particularly prominent in the younger years, the boarding community is predominantly composed of international students hailing from a diverse array of nationalities. Within the boarding houses, this rich cultural tapestry is thoughtfully interwoven by age range, fostering an environment of camaraderie and cross-cultural exchange.

Weekends for the boarders are a vibrant medley of activities that range from the thrill of ice skating and exciting visits to theme parks, to serene walks through the woods, accompanied by comforting cups of hot chocolate. It’s a holistic blend of adventure and relaxation, designed to provide an enriching and enjoyable break from academic pursuits.

In the words of one parent, the boarding experience at St Catherine’s has been likened to a ‘female Hogwarts’, a testament to the enchanting and transformative nature of the journey. A parent shared that while there may have been initial tears upon the start of weekly boarding, those tears gave way to immense pride as they witnessed their daughter’s remarkable growth in independence. So profound has been the impact that their daughter now eagerly opts to remain at the boarding house over weekends, such is the depth of her affection for her boarding family.

By the time the sixth form stage is reached, boarding assumes an even more significant role, with half of the cohort embracing this immersive lifestyle. The splendid new boarding house, aptly named ‘The 6’, mirrors the ambiance of a miniature university halls of residence. A welcoming common room beckons with colossal flat screen TVs, and a well-appointed kitchen offers an array of amenities, including a generous supply of tea, coffee, toast, and fruit, fostering a sense of comfort and community.

Extra Curricular Activities in St Catherine's

St Catherine’s School boasts a diverse range of extra-curricular activities that cater to every interest and passion, creating a vibrant and enriching experience for its students.

Creative Pursuits: The school’s commitment to creativity is exemplified through its well-equipped facilities. The expansive DT studio, dedicated history of art classroom, and photography studio with a dark room provide the ideal environment for students to explore their artistic talents. The presence of an artist in residence adds an extra dimension of inspiration. The annual fashion show organised by sixth formers showcases their innovative textile creations.

Performing Arts Excellence: St Catherine’s places a strong emphasis on performing arts, offering students an array of avenues for expression. A dedicated dance studio and a professional-grade 350-seater auditorium set the stage for exceptional performances. The drama studio, equipped with an audio relay system, ensures seamless productions. Around 20 students undertake GCSE drama annually, with 100 engaging in LAMDA. The tech crew provides opportunities for those who prefer to work behind the scenes. Musical performances flourish, with a packed schedule of events, including choral evensong at Winchester Cathedral and the annual carol service at Guildford Cathedral. With over 600 music lessons weekly and 12 choirs spanning both the senior and prep school, music thrives at St Catherine’s.

Co-curricular Enrichment: The school’s ethos of ‘benefits of “busyness”‘ comes alive through an extensive co-curricular programme encompassing more than 100 clubs and activities. At the freshers’ fair each autumn, a diverse array of options is presented, from advanced Mandarin and chess to print making and the intriguing ‘dog club’, where girls explore the DNA, history, and training of various breeds. The Duke of Edinburgh Award, a rite of passage, is celebrated with a ‘wall of honour’ display for gold awardees.

Sporting Excellence and Enjoyment: St Catherine’s embraces a culture of sport that balances competition with enjoyment. Lacrosse takes centre stage, with six senior teams participating in national competitions. The school’s prowess extends to netball and swimming, with dedicated coaches contributing to their success. Other non-mainstream sports such as table tennis, trampolining, equestrian activities (off-site), and sailing broaden the horizons of sporting engagement. The school maintains its commitment to traditional sports like rounders, reflecting a love for the game. Top-tier facilities, including a fitness suite, a 25m indoor pool, and a multi-sports hall, create an ideal setting for physical activity.

Admissions Process: Entering St Catherine's School

St Catherine’s School takes pride in its discerning and selective admissions process, designed to curate a community of engaged and curious learners. Parents commend the meticulous organisation of the process, noting the helpful and professional assistance provided by the staff.

For entry at 11+, the school’s rigorous evaluation includes a set of assessments that encompass English, mathematics, science, and verbal reasoning. While just under half of the 11+ entrants typically originate from the school’s prep year, the figure was observed to be around a third during our visit. This initial phase of assessment serves as a foundational step in identifying candidates who align with the school’s ethos and standards.

As part of the admissions journey, St Catherine’s extends an invitation for prospective pupils to participate in a taster morning during the autumn term. This experience offers a glimpse into the school’s vibrant learning environment through four mini lessons, allowing students to engage with various subjects and interact with current students. This interaction encourages a deeper understanding of the school’s atmosphere and values. The school is particularly interested in candidates who exhibit curiosity, an eagerness to explore the world, an interest in those around them, and a passion for education.

For those considering entry at 12+ and 13+, St Catherine’s reserves a limited number of places, particularly for boarders. The admissions process for sixth form is comprehensive, including a general paper, tests in chosen A-level subjects, a cognitive abilities test, and predicted GCSE grades. The expectation for A-level subjects is reflected in the anticipated grade of 7s. Potential sixth formers engage in an interview, either in person or via Zoom for overseas candidates. The competition for the 10-15 annual places at this stage is robust, enabling the school to be particularly discerning in its selection.

SEN Support in St Catherine's School

Here is a list of the special educational needs that the school supports:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Aspergers
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Mental health

St Catherine's Testimonials and Reviews

Fran Garvey

The St Cat’s boarding community became a second family to me in the years my own family were overseas. I will always keep fond memories of my time there, and of the friends I made who are as close as sisters to me even now as an adult.

Anna Glagoleva

Boarding helped me to adapt faster at my new school, since I had an opportunity to live and spend more time with my classmates. Its friendly ambiance made overseas students like me feel like at home – movie nights, trips during the weekends and just casual evenings in the common room.

Charmaine Chan

Boarding has taught me how to organise my time well and helped me focus on achieving my goals.

Remi Looi-Somoye

Sixth form boarding was living with my best friends, being able to pop next door to get help with my homework, having easy access to early morning and after-school activities, and occassionally sleeping in until the bell for first period.

Frequently Asked Questions about St Catherine's School

By 1961 it was recognised by the Ministry of Education as a grammar school.

Best-Schools have published in February 2023 their League Tables. St Catherine’s are placed 3rd in the UK with 78% of girls securing A*-A at A Level.

No, boarding schools in the UK welcome students from all over the world. Many schools have a diverse student body with students from various countries.

Boarding schools prioritise the safety and well-being of their students. They have trained staff, supervision protocols, health services, and designated staff members to address students’ emotional and social needs.

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