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 pupil-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 includes pupil representatives from every year group. The regular meetings allow the girls to put forward views on topics of interest including the use of space around the school and pupil events. As well as giving the girls the opportunity to share their opinions on developments within the school, the meetings allow pupils to develop their understanding of how to see a project through and how to debate differing opinions in a way that remains open 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 sometimes 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 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 also 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.
It is important that the girls take ownership of their charitable endeavours, choosing causes which reflect their own areas of interest. Therefore, the pupil-led committee chooses the charities which we will support, in addition to the school’s ongoing commitment to Mary’s Meals. Pupils plan and organise a programme of exciting events to raise money for these causes.
St Catherine’s Magazine gives a voice to girls across the school and a chance to write about their interests and opinions. The Committee is responsible for producing vibrant magazines, for submitting articles, and also for encouraging peers to get involved. 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. Throughout the year, pupils also regularly write for school newsletters – celebrating their achievements and school events.
Chaplaincy & Wellbeing Committee
The Chaplaincy and Wellbeing committee gives pupils the opportunity to shape spiritual life and the commitment to wellbeing in 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 about school services, and to discuss and explore wellbeing and faith. Members are encouraged 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.