St Catherine’s is a school rooted in God’s love and a commitment to nurturing young people.
Most of our pupils are Catholic or Christians of other denominations – and we warmly welcome girls of all faiths, seeing the diversity of our community as a particular strength. All parents seek our emphasis on the deeper values of respect, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, generosity and self-discipline, and our community enjoys gathering as one. As well as regularly celebrating the girls’ gifts and talents together, our school masses welcome families and local parishioners, and our Christmas Carol Services – for Prep and Senior families – are popular and happy events.
At St Catherine’s, we are inspired by our founding Mercy Sisters, whose call to action and contemplation encourages a sense of purpose and reflection. Our School motto, ‘Non Verba sed Facta’ (not words but deeds) encourages us to develop our students into young women who will be committed to serving others in whatever capacity they can.
St Catherine of Siena’s saying ‘Be who God wants you to be and you will set the world on fire’ inspires our commitment to personal giftedness and growth, and to the capacity for each girl to whole-heartedly lead and serve as she finds her place in the world.
Faith, Prayer and Wellbeing
The call to a life with Christ is offered gently and sensitively to the girls, whose journeys are respected throughout their time at St Catherine’s. They are encouraged to question and discuss views and values, and we see this as key to their authentic development, regardless of faith and background. Our RE programme also provides opportunities for girls in all years to learn and enquire.
The faith life of the School includes daily prayers in form time and assemblies, regular school Masses and special liturgies. The girls’ creative participation is especially evident in their assembly presentations which demonstrate their compassionate and spirited engagement with matters of heart and spirit, and sensitive and ambitious responses to their complex world.
The pupil-led Chaplaincy and Wellbeing Committee meets regularly and takes an active approach to matters of wider interest at St Catherine’s. As well as helping to organise masses, liturgies, music and retreats, this group supports the girls’ Christian commitment to the earth, with a number of ecological initiatives, and also speaks for wellbeing issues like friendships, the need to relax and find calm during times of pressure, and the importance of happy social events. The committee is chaired by the Head Girls who also take a key role in welcoming new pupils and creating a friendly chaplaincy space.
Girls of all ages are offered retreat experiences which vary from special sessions held within the school day, whole day retreats offsite, and residential retreats for the Sixth Form.
The School Chaplain and Assistant Chaplain organise the themes and experiences to suit each age group, and external speakers and youth ministers often help to deliver sessions. Each retreat offers girls the opportunity to reflect on her faith, her gifts, her relationships and her own journey through life. The sacraments are often included, and enjoyable music, drama and art activities are enjoyed by all – as is the emphasis on relaxation and good food. We strongly believe that these moments form a key part of each girl’s faith development as time to pause, rest and reflect are as important as times to learn.
Girls in Prep are also given opportunities to visit Chaplaincy and play a full role in the faith life of the School. They love their retreats in this warm and welcoming space, and the opportunity to learn Christian stories and values, build their friendships, enjoy music and have fun with creative activities.
Social Justice and Service
At St Catherine’s we see the focus on social justice as a very important part of the girls’ education. We aim to help girls to appreciate the world them, and to be well-informed, thoughtful and brave as they respond to inequalities and injustices. The Chaplain and Form Tutors guide girls in their assembly presentations, as they present their ideas and invite peers to respond by committing to action or charitable works. The Mercy ethos is still alive and well in girls’ engagement to the world around them, and the pupil-led Charities Committee provides a platform for the girls to make sure that their passionate responses lead to initiatives and change. Girls enjoy the opportunities for service offered within the Duke of Edinburgh programme, the Sixth Form Core RS programme, and through other events and programmes throughout each year.