Trips and Visits


Our students have now been fundraising since the start of October, with Beth in 8S having raised over £1000 so far ! Many congratulations to her and everyone for their hard work and commitment to fund raising. Several pupils made very worthwhile sums at the Christmas Fayre, having spent a lot of time producing craft items to sell.

Livvie`s family in 9M have had a sponsored `dry` January and are also planning a walk around Jersey at Easter. Annie is preparing to cycle around the Isle of Wight to raise funds whilst Hannah has decided to walk around it. Ella in 9C did a sponsored cycle around Richmond Park and has set up a Justgiving page to reach a wider audience. Several 8C girls are holding a Movie Night on February 24th for Prep pupils and a pancake sale near Shrove Tuesday is also being planned. A cheese and wine evening is also being discussed at present

It is very encouraging to hear that all Vietnam students are doing chores around the house to earn extra pocket money (as well as helping their parents of course ) and many are babysitting for neighbours and friends. We wish them all the best in the next few weeks and very much appreciate all the support received from their families, friends and teachers.

Sue Parfitt - Expedition Leader

St Issey October 2016

On the first Sunday of our half term break, a group of 21 Year 7 and 8 pupils gathered at Paddington Station at a very early hour to make our way down to Cornwall for a week of exciting activities.  We were based at the Manor House Outdoor Learning Centre in St Issey, just outside of Wadebridge.  While some of the Year 8 pupils had been before, for most pupils it was their first time – and they were very much looking forward to the week.

After settling in on the Sunday afternoon, we went down to the beach just a few miles from the centre for some very lively games before an evening meal and a DVD before bed.  The next day saw the group divide in two and head out for a coastal walk or surfing/body boarding activities, swapping over at lunchtime.  The walk was broken up with lots of stories about smugglers and Cornish folklore as well as seeing some of the locations where Poldark was filmed.  In the evening, we returned to the beach for a bonfire and the opportunity to toast some marshmallows.

The next day we were more adventurous, with the day split between rock climbing and a chance to explore St Ives.  It was a beautifully sunny day and pupils had terrific views over the sea - when they weren’t concentrating on climbing!

We headed to the south coast of Cornwall on the Wednesday and spent the day either kayaking or paddle boarding which was great fun.  In the evening, pupils had a private tour of the Aquarium in Newquay, seeing a variety of sea life from piranhas and an octopus to turtles and clown fish.

Thursday was our last full day and we went as a group on a cycle safari along the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow, where we parked the bicycles and walked into town to try our luck with some crab fishing.  Unfortunately, the seagulls seemed to end up with most of the bacon we used for bait and the crabs managed to evade capture!

Having missed the final of the Great British Bake Off with our visit to the Aquarium the previous evening, we watched the programme a day late and, before the final section, paused the programme and everyone came into the kitchen where Ms Goldburn and Miss Ryan had bought some cakes, icing and a variety of decorations and were   challenged to decorate our cakes before eating them!

Thanks go to Ms Goldburn and Miss Ryan for giving up their time to organise the trip and looking after everyone.  Finally, some comments from the pupils:

It was a fun week, filled with things I have never done before like climbing on a sea-cliff  (Bani Ghumman – Year 7)

I absolutely adored it all and being with my best friends made it 100% better.   (Eleanor Chidwick – Year 7)

I was scared to do the rock climbing at first because it looked a bit high.  However, I did it and it was really good.  My favourite activity was riding a bike with Ms Goldburn.  (Kareena Rana – Year 7)

I enjoyed walking along the coastal path although it was really windy along the trail it was fun because of all the stories we were told like the story of the Padstow sand bar and the giants.  (Eleanor Cole – Year 7)

What I liked most about my stay was the stand-up paddle boarding as I love being in the water and it allowed us to work as a team.  (Silvana Marin – Year 8)

We watched the Great British Bake Off and then we got to decorate cakes.  (Lucia Subak-Sharpe – Year 7)

The most challenging was the rock climbing as you had to find the right places to put your feet.  (Lucy Savage – Year 7)

My favourite activity was surfing as it was really fun catching all the waves down to the shore.   (Bella Williams – Year 7)

We are already looking at dates for next year’s trip – watch out for further announcements and book your place early!

M. Ryan

Vietnam Expedition

This is a unique opportunity open to all students in our current year 8 and above. In groups of 15, accompanied by 2 teaching staff and an Outlook expedition leader, we will fly to Hanoi and spend a couple of days acclimatising to the sights and sounds of Vietnam. We shall visit the Military History Museum to learn about the war from a Vietnamese viewpoint, before catching an overnight train to Lao Cai. Having arrived in the Sapa Valley we will explore local markets and take in the unique culture of the region.

A four day trek will pass through spectacular scenery and allow us to stay overnight in traditional homestays in rural villages. We then return by train to Hanoi where we move on to our community project with Volunteers for Peace Vietnam. Students will be helping with renovation work and constructing pathways as well as teaching English and organising activities with the local children, for 6-7 days.

The last few days of the trip sees us travel back to Halong Bay to enjoy the stunning scenery amongst the limestone towers and crystal clear seas. We stay overnight on one of the junk boats to experience the lifestyle of the region. Finally, we go out for a team meal to celebrate the completion of the expedition and fly back to the UK, ready to share our experiences and photos with family and friends.

St Issey

We have a few places left for this year's St Issey trip taking place at half-term (23rd -28th October). It is open to all years, especially pupils in Years 7 and 8. The cost is £480 which will include return train travel to Bodmin Parkway, Cornwall and a full programme of activities including kayaking, a bicycle safari along part of the Camel Trail;  climbing and abseiling at Halldrine Cove, a visit to St Ives and a coastal walk, as well as beach games and other fun activities.

Further information from Miss Ryan, but be quick -places are going fast!


Sunday 10th July bright and early, the orange kit bags began to appear on the concourse  at Gatwick Airport, with 28 excited students ready for the journey of a lifetime. All the hard work had been done with 2 years of fundraising, gathering kit and anticipation, luggage checked, parents hugged, we were off to Peru at last.

Arriving in Lima we were met by Miguel and Miguel, who were to be our guides for the trip, we set off for our first b&b just for an overnight before travelling on to Cusco; thankfully we opted to fly - we did meet with other groups who travelled by bus for 22hours!

Three days were spent acclimatising in Cusco, getting used to altitude and drinking in the culture, it was an amazing introduction to Peru.

The second phase started with us splitting into our two groups, quite emotional as the girls would not see each other for the next 10 days. One group did the project phase in the mountains, working in the community, using very   primitive plastering techniques to finish a bedroom. This entailed marching in mud while treading in hay to prepare the plaster—great fun1 The second group started off to trek the Salkantay trail (4400m).

On returning to Cusco we prepared for the next phase which was to travel by air to Chulacanas where we had been invited by the Bishop: what a wonderful man and such hospitality; the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Then back to Lima and on to Huccachina for sand surfing and dune buggy riding in the most enormous sand dunes.

The trip came to a close with the celebration of two 18th birthdays in a restaurant called Desert Nights in the dunes and the most delicious barbecue and birthday cakes.

We arrived back to reality at the end of July with a group of students who had had a truly life changing experience.


Peru was such an amazing experience and we both really enjoyed our time there. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Machu Pichu. We had to wake up at 2.00am if we wanted to get to the coaches first, and we did. The views were beautiful and the historical knowledge that we gained was very beneficial.

The entire team really   immersed themselves into the Peruvian culture, trying new foods and buying traditional hand-made clothing. We learnt may things from our experience, including appreciation.

  By Roisin Neligan-Ayling and Zara Hill

I would like to thank Sr. Paula, Mrs. Stevens and Mr. Melling for their support not only this year but for ALL the trips that they have been there for, as without them they would not have been possible.

Janet Saddler


Iceland  Geography Trip

A selection of actual and potential Geography students visited Iceland at the start of Easter. Upon arrival we     experienced a refreshing dip in the ‘Blue Lagoon’. Its mud is said to have therapeutic properties, just what was needed after an early flight! We had a brief tour of Reykjavik, visiting some impressive churches and what must be the world’s smallest parliament building.

Unfortunately the weather was our enemy on Thursday, the driving hail and strong winds made our visit to the erupting Geysir a rather brief excursion. We did however see the sheer power of the Gulfoss waterfall and also learned how Icelanders use Geothermal power to produce all their  electricity and heating.

Fortunately, the weather was superb on our final day with visits to a range of waterfalls, including one we walked behind. We visited the edges of a glacier which looked stunning in the bright sunshine and also enjoyed visits to a volcanic crater and an earthquake simulator.

This short trip really provided the girls with the chance to see some beautiful natural scenery along with gaining some appreciation of the power and role of natural processes in this land of ice and fire. 

Mr D Rock, Head of Geography

Ski Trip February Half Term 

We had another excellent Ski trip to Waterville with all girls on time and raring to go. We had our largest number of Year 6 girls this year, six in total and they did splendidly. They were very chuffed to form friendships with the Senior girls who they will be joining in the Autumn term.The skiing was excellent as was the apres ski. The highlight for a number of the girls was a sleigh ride around the village and surrounding area on a horse drawn sleigh. Thank you for the excellent company and we were delighted that Sr. Paula was able to join us.

Janet Saddler
Ski Trip Organiser

STEM  Visit to Rackspace

Six of us from Year 11 and 12 visited Rackspace; a cloud hosting company, which was an amazing experience for us all. This was as part of a recent initiative to raise awareness of careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). We had a tour of the premises and got to speak to many employees working in technology. It really opened our eyes to what it was like to work in an environment that revolves around computing and the various skills needed, and how being a woman in this field can be empowering within a predominantly male based line of work. The staff as a whole were very friendly and supportive of our keen interest in the colourful environment and what the company could offer young people. 

A big thank you to Miss Baker for taking us. 

Shivani Soni, Year 12


The German Christmas Market Trip

It was with great excitement that 24 Year 7 pupils boarded the coach to the Rhineland on the last day of term. Our first morning in Cologne was sunny and we could see the twin spires of the Cathedral from our accommodation by the Rhine. The girls were awed by the Gothic splendour of the Cathedral and it seemed fitting to be visiting the shrine of the three kings at Christmas.

We took the Christmas train through the medieval streets to the Chocolate Museum which the girls had been really looking forward to. They learnt a lot about growing cocoa and observed first hand the mechanised process of chocolate production. The molten chocolate fountain was appreciated by everyone in the group and, needless to say, we came away laden with chocolate.

On Friday we travelled down the Rhine to Braubach, stopping en route at the famous landmark Deutsches Eck at the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Mosel in Koblenz. The girls were impressed with the Marksburg Castle perched high above the Rhine and they enjoyed the relaxation of a Rhine cruise in the afternoon from Boppard to St Goar. They ordered cake and a drink in a café in Boppard where we were welcomed by the owners who have been serving groups of St Catherine’s girls for over fifteen years. A final visit to the market completed the trip. It was a delight to introduce the girls to Germany and its famous cultural and historical traditions. They were a credit to the school and we were congratulated on their excellent behaviour wherever we went. Thanks to the girls for making it so memorable and thanks too to Mrs Collett and Miss Brabham for accompanying the trip.

Mrs J Gingell
Head of MFL

Visit to Rome

Over the October half term a group of 18 students, accompanied by Miss Ryan and Mrs Blackman, travelled to Rome for a short break exploring the city and the Vatican. Our first afternoon began with a visit to Santa Maria Maggiore, just a short walk from our hotel and then on to Piazza Barberini and the Trevi Fountain before dinner. Unfortunately, it was not possible to throw the traditional coin into the fountain as it was still fenced off for restoration, but we did see the beautifully restored marble. After dinner, we took the Metro back just beyond our hotel and visited the Palazzo Freddo, which has been producing ice cream since 1880. Of course, we had to try some, and students as well as staff enjoyed some of the range of flavours available.

The following morning was an early start as we made our way to the Vatican for a Papal Audience in St Peter’s Square. The overnight rain stayed off us and we managed to find some good seats in the square. At 9.30am, Pope Francis arrived and was driven around the square to be greeted by the 6,000 plus attending the audience. Our students managed to get some good photos and were also able to see the rest of the audience on several big screens positioned nearby. After lunch, we visited the Vatican Museums and spent time in the Sistine Chapel before making our way to St Peter’s Basilica itself. The size of the building and the decoration of the interior impressed everyone.

Our final morning included a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, finishing on the Vittoriano and enjoying the beautiful views across the city. We then made our way to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva to visit the tomb of St Catherine of Siena before stopping for lunch in a restaurant near the Pantheon where we could sample some authentic Roman pizza. A short walk away we managed to find a few more ice cream shops offering even more flavours for our intrepid students (and staff) to test. We finished the afternoon at the Spanish Steps before taking one final Metro ride back to our hotel and on to the airport. It was a wonderful introduction to a beautiful city and we managed to squeeze many well-known sights into our short stay. Hopefully it will not be long before St Catherine’s students return.

Miss M Ryan

School Trip to The Manor House in Cornwall

Over half term we had another great trip to The Manor House in Cornwall. The girls had an excellent time with sea cliff climbing and body boarding being amongst the most exciting activities. A trip to Newquay Aquarium, which was one of our evening activities, was one of the highlights as the facility was opened exclusively for St. Catherine's.

Many thanks to Mr Melling for giving up his time as always to join us.

Janet Saddler
Trip Organiser

Chessington and Legoland

Pupils from Year 8 took part in a workshop at Chessington World of Adventures this week. They found out how ICT is used at Chessington and learnt to program a ride. After the workshop, pupils had the chance to explore the rides and see the animals. Despite experiencing an autumnal downpour, everyone enjoyed a purposeful and memorable trip.

Year 7 pupils went to Legoland, Windsor at the beginning of October. This was an opportunity for pupils to take part in a coding workshop, where they learnt to program their own Lego lion. Pupils also got the opportunity to try out many of the rides after the workshop. The weather stayed warm and an informative day was enjoyed by all.

BMW Mini Visit

On 1st October Years 11, 12 and 13 Business Studies and Economics girls attended a factory tour at the BMW Mini Plant in Cowley, Oxford. For the third time, we were shown around by Mr Stringer, who has worked at the factory, man and boy, since it was British Leyland. We were able to see the bodyshell being welded together in the £750 million assembly plant, where robots rule. Each robot costs £30,000 and that’s before the welding unit, camera or grab is attached. The area is completely spotless and looked nothing like the car factories of years ago. It was also really gratifying to hear the girls asking the most intelligent questions about quality assurance, the qualifications of the engineers and the development of new models. We moved on to where the cars are assembled. A painted shell of a car comes in at one end of the final assembly plant, and then snakes its way along the production line where everything from airbags to windows are fitted. Such is the technology used that no two cars are the same and when every possible option is taken into account, there are over 15 trillion permutations of Mini and each one is made to a firm order. Finished cars are driven to the dedicated rail head for world-wide delivery. Sadly there were no free samples, but the girls really enjoyed the tour.


Rudi Oppenheimer


On Tuesday, 6th October the Senior School had the privilege of listening to the testimony of holocaust survivor, Mr Rudi Oppenheimer, as a result of the school’s involvement with the Holocaust Education Trust. With his quiet sense of humour and sensitivity towards his audience, Mr Oppenheimer gave a graphic account of his upbring

ing which took him from Germany to Lond

on and then to Holland where he and his family were living when the Nazis invaded and began their persecution and then deportation of Jews. Thanks to his sister’s British passport (she was born in London), we learnt that Rudi and his family were considered as ‘Exchange Jews’ (ie the Nazis were happy to exchange them for German prisoners held by the allies) and thus treated a little less severely. However, this did not save them from being held first in the transit camp, Westerbork (June 1943-Feb 1944) and finally the death camp, Bergen-Belsen (Feb 1944-April 1945). Clearly an observant and quick-witted young boy, Rudi was quick to realise that the key to his and his brother, Paul’s, survival at Belsen was going to lie with him being in charge of handing out the prisoners’ ‘lunch’ (which consisted merely of a mug of cold water and pieces of potato peel). Having volunteered to take on this role, Rudi was able to reserve more ‘food’ for them both and he is clearly in no doubt that this was the only reason they survived. Very sadly he was unable to do anything about helping his parents to survive and he learnt about both their deaths by going to visit their beds one morning to find another prisoner lying there. After the liberation of Belsen by the British Army Rudi and his siblings were transported back to Maastricht in Holland. The Dutch, seeing their German passports, in their wisdom held them in a camp in Vaals containing Gestapo officers!


Fortunately, the Nazis were more concerned with their own futures than persecuting their Jewish inmates. It was heartening to learn that after World War II Rudi had a very successful career with Shell where he seems to have travelled the world helping this global organization with its computer systems. Having retired he has since given 1500+ talks for the HET. His message is one which we must all listen to and understand. For we all share in the responsibility of ensuring that no such tragedy should occur again. The response from the girls and staff to his poignant talk was one of universal acclaim and appreciation. We are very grateful to Mr Oppenheimer for coming to share his story with us.

Mr Pearson
Head of Sixth Form