St. Catherine’s is pleased to offer girls a number of different committees through which they can use their voice and air their views, and work together on student-led projects.
In Prep, girls can share ideas in the School Council or the Food Committee; both forums allow for the exchange of ideas and pupil feedback, and help pupils to develop some of the organisational and planning skills needed to implement new initiatives. The girls really enjoy these opportunities to contribute to the life of the School.
In the Senior School, each committee is led by Sixth Form pupils, and includes representatives from all year groups. The committees work to develop a strong sense of moral awareness as well as providing opportunities to give back to the wider community:
The School Council is led by the Head Girl Team, and comprises representatives from every year group. The regular meetings allow the girls to put forward views from their year groups on topics such as the provision of water fountains, the frequency of non-uniform ideas and the use of space around the school. As well as giving the girls the opportunity to share their opinions on developments within the school, the meetings allow the girls to develop their understanding of how to see a project through and how to debate differing opinions in a way that remains professional and respectful.
School Council is also the girls’ opportunity to give their feedback on the catering provision at St Catherine’s, both in terms of the school lunches and the daily breaktime tuck shop. These meetings are attended by the Head Chef, who then looks to work the girls’ suggestions into the menus, whilst adhering to our healthy eating policies and rules regarding allergens. Favourite items become regular fixtures on the menu, thanks to the girls positive feedback, while less popular dishes can be replaced with others. Other changes introduced thanks to pupil feedback include our themed days, when the meat and vegetarian options match so that all girls feel they are sharing the same meal.
At St Catherine’s we are committed to encouraging our pupils to understand their role as people of service and charity, both at school, and in the wider world. This is very much linked to our mission statement and our focus on helping each pupil to develop her sense of responsibility for others. Weekly assemblies allow tutor groups to present on key themes, to consider values, and to reflect on the ways we are called to look after each other.
We feel that it is important that the girls take ownership of their charitable endeavours, choosing causes which reflect their own areas of interest. Therefore, choosing the charities which we will support is done by our student-led Charities Committee. Each year, the girls choose three charities – one local, one national and one international. They then plan and organise a programme of exciting events to raise money for these causes.
For the academic year 2019-2020, the girls are working with Embracing Age to provide support to various local care homes. They are also supporting the Ben Kinsella Trust which deals with knife crime and Justice and Care, which focuses on the eradication of modern-day slavery. Events organised include non-uniform days, guest speakers and our Prep girls making Easter cards for care homes.
St Catherine’s magazine gives a voice to girls across the school and a chance to write about their wide range of interests and opinions. The Magazine Committee is responsible for producing a bi-annual edition by submitting articles as well as encouraging peers to write from the heart. The magazine offers parents and pupils a chance to read about the political and social views of the girls at St Catherine’s, as well as seeing the enormous talent that is present within the community from writers to artists to photographers to the designers, all who contribute to its publication.
Chaplaincy & Wellbeing Committee
The Chaplaincy and Wellbeing committee gives pupils the opportunity to have an input into the spiritual and pastoral care of the school community. The committee is led by the Chaplain and involves pupils from each year group and from all faiths and backgrounds. The committee offers opportunities for pupils to contribute ideas when planning worship as well as incorporating discussions on issues of well-being, from environmental considerations (recycling in school, cutting down on single-use plastics) as well as consideration of the school’s response to bullying especially via social media, with some senior members of the committee taking time to speak to younger pupils regarding this. The Committee encourages its members to consider others in their discussions, and to use meetings as opportunities to develop friendships and connections across different year groups.
The pupil-led Eco Committee meets to discuss sustainability and to suggest initiatives for the School and its use of resources. This has included a review of recycling and a new approach to the management of waste paper in classrooms.
The Committee also works hard to promote environmentally responsible choices regarding travel to school, which this year included an audit of pupil travel choices and pupil-led education about healthy, sustainable choices. The pupils have other projects in mind and plenty to contribute about this most important part of school life.