The curriculum follows the normal path to (I)GCSEs in Year 11 and A Levels in the Sixth Form, and every effort is made to teach according to pupils’ abilities, and to stretch the ablest well beyond the demands of the syllabus.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

The aim of the first three years in the Senior School is to provide a broad academic foundation which will stretch and challenge all pupils as well as prepare them for the subjects that they will go on to take at (I)GCSE and later at A Level.

All girls normally study English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French, German, Spanish, Religious Education, Geography, History, Music, Drama, Art, Food and Nutrition, Physical Education and Computer Science.  They also have one lesson a week of PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education).

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

All students study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Education and a Modern Foreign Language (French, Spanish or German) for (I)GCSE.

In addition, each girl also chooses three other subjects to study for the two years, leading to a GCSE or IGCSE qualification: these options include Geography, History, French, German, Spanish, Economics, Psychology, Music, Drama, Art, Photography, Graphics, Food and Nutrition, Physical Education and Computer Science.  There is also a non-exam option of Study Skills.

Most subject combinations are possible and advice on suitable subjects is given during the Spring Term of Year 9.

Public examinations at either GCSE or IGCSE level are normally taken at the end of Year 11. Departments choose the best course for their subject and the two qualifications are viewed as equivalent for the purposes of university entrance. Further information is available from the Head of Department of the subject concerned or from the subject teacher.

Art & Design

Art & Design

St Catherine’s has an outstanding Art Department. Over the years all our girls have established a track record of creating extraordinary works of art and exceptional academic success. In Public Examinations our girls have uniformly achieved the highest grades possible for many years. Fine Art, Painting and Photography are long established courses offered at examination level. Over the last five years we have also offered Textiles at GCSE and A Level, alongside Graphic Design at A Level.

We aim to teach the joy of art, both in creating and investigating and we take great pride in celebrating the achievements of the individual artists. Examples of the girls’ work are displayed around the school and contribute to its aesthetic vibrancy. The work regularly draws complimentary comments from visitors and parents.

The Art department has two specialist rooms, one predominately a Fine Art studio with easels and an old style printing press and the other a Photography studio equipped with Photoshop workstations. We also have facilities for ceramics, which are enjoyed by both our Prep and Senior pupils.

KS3

In Year 7 we introduce the girls to a range of approaches to drawing, the essence of tone, colour and painting through the investigation of nature and landscape. The pupils are then taken through an exploration of fashion, figures and collage inspired by Gustav Klimt. The latter project explores contemporary Still Life.

In Year 8 we look at Surrealism, with Salvador Dali laying the foundations to a visual language which each pupil takes to a personally developed painting. The girls then build vessels in ceramics based on fruit and vegetables. Finally, the theme of movement takes the girls into experimentation with photography and fine art.

In Year 9, we enable the pupils to touch on the different Art options offered at GCSE.   We start with a silk painting based on a personally created pattern. Pupils then explore the theme of ‘I, Me, Mine’, taking photos and painting on canvas. The final theme ‘The Decorative World’ experiments with design, text and presentation.

GCSE

We use the Edexcel Board for all options. All the work the pupils create goes towards their final grade. 60% is their Personal Portfolio and 40% is the Externally Set Assignment with a 10 hour Examination.

In all options the coursework is split into two or three projects across Year 10 and the beginning of Year 11. All pupils create three final outcomes, with the latter of these in examination conditions, so the students become confident working independently within 10 hours. Each project has a sketchbook to support and record the student’s development. In these projects the students investigate a range of relevant artists, visit galleries and exhibitions, experiment with new and exciting materials and techniques that lead to creating highly original and individual pieces. At the end of the course there is a ten-hour practical exam over two days, for which they have approximately 10 school weeks to prepare. For this a theme is set by the examination board, which requires the girls to demonstrate all their skills learnt over the two years.

The courses are designed to encourage our girls to create their own style, to work independently and show self-motivation. They are expected to work outside of lessons, in the art studios and at home.

Fine Art

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.” Frida Kahlo

Unit 1, ‘Colour’ introduces the girls to working through the journey of development, refining, recording, and evaluating, leading to a personal response, with their chosen colour and a theme of their own creation. Unit 2 ‘Ordinary and/or Extraordinary’ a previous examination theme, opens up the opportunity for the pupils to play with their imagination. In Year 11, the Unit 3 theme is ‘Reflections’. This enables the girls to follow a wide range of visually interesting interpretations. The pupils explore drawing, painting, mixed media and printmaking techniques. Through the inspiration of artists, and the understanding of what makes a successful composition, all will create final paintings on canvas for each of their units and for their examination.

Computing

Computing

In the rapidly changing environment of technology, pupils need to have a secure understanding of the computer and the necessary software skills for all their academic work and for life beyond school.

Our Computing curriculum has been designed to teach students a wide range of skills that modern day organisations look for in their employees and aims to stimulate interest and enjoyment in the study of Computing.

KS3

In Year 7 pupils will begin learning about ICT Systems. They will then complete a programming project using Scratch. In the Spring Term E-Safety and binary Systems, spreadsheets are covered. They will also learn to programme a Microbit and use vector drawing software to complete some art work.

In Year 8 pupils will create patterns using Python and will learn about networks and security. They will once again use Scratch to create their own game. In the Spring  will learn how to use Photo-editing software and create a simple page using HTML. They will build on their understand of using the Internet safely with a Digital Awareness

In Year 9 pupils will learn about logic gates and algorithms. They will undertake a cyber-security and new technology project. They will then use Python to create their own game and finish the year with a cross-curricular project using a database and spreadsheet.

GCSE

At GCSE, the course gives students a real, in-depth understanding of how computer technology works. Students will learn how to create their own software programs using Python, as well as learn about the internal workings of computers and Networks Pupils will follow the curriculum of the OCR Exam Board.

The course consists of two units and pupils will sit both their exams at the end of the two-year course.

In Year 10 pupils will cover all of unit 1: Systems Architecture, Memory Storage, Wired and wireless networks, Network topologies, protocols and layers, System security, System software, Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental concerns. Pupils will also be practising their understanding of algorithms using Python. They will also cover the following modules in unit 2: Designing Robust Programs, Data Representation and Computational Logic.

In Year 11 pupils will complete a 20 hour coursework project in Python and complete the remainder of the topics in unit 2: Algorithms, Programming techniques and Types of Translators.

Wider Learning Opportunities

In Year 7 pupils attend a robot programming workshop at Legoland, Windsor. Year 8  pupils take part in a workshop at Chessington World of Adventures where they learn how rides work and how IT is used at the theme park. GCSE pupils in previous years have visited the Headquarters of Google and Rackspace as well as attending talks on emerging technologies.

Year 8 pupils can take the Cyber Security First Competition online and a team of 12 pupils from Years 9 and 8 take part in the South West London Science and Technology Challenge Day. in June. Last year the school won 2 of the 4 challenges.

The school runs a Computing Club where pupils practise their coding, use HTML to build websites and use CAD software to print out their designs on a 3D printer.

Drama

Drama

Drama is a popular subject at St Catherine’s. It is taught in form groups as an academic subject from Year 7, and is available as a subject choice for both GCSE and A level. The department is committed to encouraging all girls in aspects of their dramatic journeys, both on stage and backstage. Girls practise different styles of acting, plus scriptwriting, costume design, lighting and sound design, and directing, amongst other things.

The department aims to encourage girls to be creative, collaborative and confident, and to foster a love of theatre and storytelling. All girls are encouraged to get involved. Trips are undertaken to build on pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of live theatre. There are a number of other extracurricular opportunities, including clubs and productions, to allow pupils to explore.

KS3

At Key Stage 3, pupils have a double lesson every week on a half termly rotation with Food and Nutrition. Pupils work through themed units, exploring the history of theatre through a range of stimuli. We use scripts, pictures, music and history to create pieces. Pupils will explore Shakespeare, Greek theatre, superheroes, dystopias, fairy tales and many things in between. They work in a range of styles including voiceovers, physical theatre, and naturalism. Pupils also look at how light and sound can affect atmosphere, and use the facilities in the Drama Studio to explore these further. We also study live theatre, analysing story and performance in professional productions.

GCSE

At GCSE, we follow the AQA syllabus. The GCSE course comprises three modules.

Component 1 is the written exam and totals 40% of the final grade. It includes questions about the roles of different people in a theatre, questions on a studied set text (Blood Brothers) and an analysis of a live theatre production.

Component 2 is a devised piece. Pupils work in groups of between two and six, creating their own piece in response to a stimulus. This is accompanied by a logbook, detailing their creative process. Pupils may choose to be examined as a performer, or a designer of lighting, sound, set, costume, or puppets. A mock of this is undertaken in Year 10. This is assessed internally and moderated by AQA.

Component 3 is two scripted pieces. In groups of between one and six, pupils perform two extracts from a play of their choice. A mock of this is undertaken in Year 10. This is marked externally by a visiting examiner from AQA.

Trips and workshops are also offered throughout the two year course.

Wider Learning Opportunities

There are many wider learning opportunities both in and outside of school. Please see the Drama extracurricular page for more details. In order to support Drama students within school, the purpose built Drama Studio is available for pupils to rehearse, and staff are always on hand to support.

Economics

Economics

Economics is a real and relevant subject, combining academic rigour with real-world application.  You will gain a greater understanding of the world around you, and be able to understand and discuss issues portrayed in the news.  Many people have opinions about issues such as how to solve unemployment or what our immigration policy should be.  If you study Economics, you will develop the understanding behind these decisions and will be able to make sure that your opinions are intelligent and informed.

GCSE

At GCSE, we follow the AQA specification.  There are two modules – How Markets Work and How the Economy Works.  The first module covers microeconomics.  You will learn how prices are set in a market economy, and compare this to a centrally-planned economy.  You will also consider government actions for example, whether high taxes should be put on goods such as cigarettes, whether goods such as drugs should be illegal and whether goods such as agricultural products should be subsidised.

In the second module, you will put this learning into a macroeconomic context.  You will learn how the economy as a whole works, and will consider such issues as the level of unemployment benefits and income tax and the impact of the interest rate on the economy.  You will also explore possible solutions to problems, for example how to reduce the level of unemployment and how to make UK goods more competitive.

Wider Learning opportunities

Opportunities to develop wider learning are everywhere.  We recommend that budding Economists start to follow the news, and girls are very welcome to bring in any news articles which are of interest to be discussed in class.  Most years, our A Level Economics students also run an Economics Society, and this provides an opportunity to delve even more deeply into Economics issues and enjoy stimulating discussion with the older girls.

English

English

The study of English has never been more important than in our digital age. Communication, clarity, understanding and the ability to ‘read between the lines’ enable us to negotiate our fast-paced environment in a safe, enjoyable and informative way. And the wide range of literature available to us in all forms offers an exciting journey into other ways of thinking, doing and living. From their very first English lesson in Year 7, our pupils enjoy innovative teaching that is inspirational, compelling and fun. They are engaged and interested as they begin their journeys of self-discovery and academic excellence. We aim to develop confident, resilient learners who are ambitious and can be proud of their abilities, potential and achievements.

KS3

In Year 7 we study biographies and autobiographies, and pupils get the chance to look into their own lives writing their own. We then look further into the past to explore myths and legends from a variety of cultures, and the girls have the chance to create their own modern myth. We also study the ballad form and sharpen our essay-writing skills with a close reading of ‘The Lady of Shalott’, finishing the year with an introduction to a range of Shakespeare’s writing, including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ supported by an interactive workshop at The Globe.

Year 8 pupils write to analyse poetry and a novel, becoming increasingly independent in their annotation and planning. We enjoy exploring characterisation in ‘Twelfth Night’, and investigate the reading and writing of a range of non-fiction texts. We finish with an introduction to the Gothic through ‘Frankenstein’ and a visit to Strawberry Hill House to learn more about its founder, Horace Walpole, author of the first Gothic novel.

Year 9 builds on pupils’ knowledge with study of ‘The Woman in Black’, supported by an external creative writing workshop, in order to produce their own scary story.  We then move onto ‘Romeo and Juliet’, leading to an analytical essay drawing on ideas from across the whole play and its context. This year we develop further our skills with non-fiction texts too, and enjoy studying WW1 poetry in order to improve our abilities in comparative analysis. We finish the year exploring a novel to introduce the higher skills needed as we move into GCSE.

GCSE

At GCSE, we work towards the AQA exams in both English Language and English Literature. In Year 10 we cover ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Macbeth’, the ‘Love and Relationships’ poetry anthology and Language Paper 2. We finish the courses in Year 11 with Language Paper 1 and ‘An Inspector Calls’, leaving plenty of time for revision and practice as we drive towards the final exams.

Our studies across the year groups are frequently supported by visits to local theatres and the West End, the riverside, important local landmarks, and a range of other locations. We work closely with the School Library on further and independent reading as well as author visits, workshops, World Book Day and the annual Readathon. Our Creative Writing Club offers girls the chance to explore their talents more widely. Pupils enter a range of national and local writing competitions, and contribute to our school newspaper, giving a ‘real world’ context to their craft. We love to read their work and celebrate their successes!

Food & Nutrition

Food & Nutrition

Learning about and putting into practice healthy eating has positive implications for a student’s physical well-being. Studies have shown that food habits learnt at an early age are hard to influence and change. Our Food and Nutrition curriculum allows pupils to develop knowledge and skills that will help them to acquire life skills in cookery and understand their importance in establishing a healthy lifestyle. In addition, pupils will gain an understanding of the principles behind food science.

Students study the subject from year 3 and learn increasingly complex processes as they progress through the school. Special dietary needs are catered for and we are a nut free school. A variety of multicultural dishes feature in all years.

KS3

Year 7  Food and Cooking Skills/Diet and Health

Pupils are encouraged to broaden their practical skills learned in the Prep dept. and/or at home. We aim for them to work independently through recipes as much as possible, in an organised, safe and hygienic manner, by the end of the first term. The EatWell Guide is covered as well as food groups such as cereals, dairy foods, vegetarians, healthy breakfasts and snacks.

Dishes made include fruit  kebabs, salsa, vegetable curry, fruit crumble, macaroni cheese, pizza, risotto, muffins, cheese straws and scones.

Year 8 Food Commodities

Pupils develop their knowledge of ingredients and food groups such as cereals, dairy foods, fruits and vegetables. Multicultural recipes are explored and more complex skills such as bread and cake making are covered in depth.

Dishes made include Irish soda bread, rolls, paella, chelsea buns, pasties, cheesecake, pasta carbonara, fruit tarts , kebabs, pitta bread and tiramisu.

Year 9 Food Preparation

Here the foundations are laid for the GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition specification. The dietary needs of adolescents as well as a range of different cultures are taught, including British, Asian and Mexican cuisine. Pupils are encouraged to focus on a range of finishing techniques in order to achieve high standards of presentation.

Dishes made include quiche, Dutch apple cake, spicy wraps, burritos, pasta bake, cottage pie, sweet and sour chicken, spring rolls, and lemon sponge.

GCSE

Food Preparation and Nutrition (AQA) This is an exciting and creative course which focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials.

Food preparation skills are integrated into 5 core topics which are largely covered during year 10.

  1. Food, nutrition and health- Macronutrients, nutritional needs and health
  2. Food Science – Cooking of food, heat transfer, chemical and functional properties of foods
  3. Food safety – Food spoilage, contamination and principles of food safety
  4. Food choice – Factors affecting food choice, British and international cuisine, sensory evaluation, food labelling and marketing
  5. Food provenance – environmental impact and sustainability of food, food processing and production.

During year 11, the 2 non-examination assessment (NEA) tasks and the written examination in June take place.

NEA Task 1 : Food science investigation; 15% of total marks

NEA Task 2 : Food preparation assignment; 35% of total marks

Written examination consisting of multiple choice and longer response questions, 1 hour 45 mins; 50% of total marks

Wider Learning Opportunities

Wider learning opportunities within school include House Ready Steady Cook competitions and a kitchen garden by the Science block from which we source vegetables during the summer months. Outside of school, we encourage students to enter regional and national cookery competitions, visit food shows/exhibitions, read current media publications and newspaper articles as well as watching television programmes relating to food preparation, diet and health and environmental issues.

Geography

Geography

Geography is a subject for our times; not just interesting and valuable, but providing all the skills and knowledge needed to understand and navigate the challenges the world faces in the 21st Century.

Geography at St Catherine’s aims to reach a balance between Physical and Human areas, so that students understand how the natural world works and how it interacts with human actions. We teach a range of skills from essay writing, to roleplays, from poetry to statistical analysis, with the aim that all our students have the skills necessary to critically analyse important issues such as climate change, pandemics, poverty in the developing world and species loss and extinction.

KS3

Year 7 students join St Catherine’s with a varying experience of Geography and the principal aim of this important year is for every student to reach the same high level. In this way we start with an introduction to Geography which looks at the basic principles as well as then applying these ideas to the cities and rainforests of Brazil. The next unit is on Mapskills which focuses on grid references, compass directions and other skills needed to confidently read a map. The final units are on Weather which seeks to understand this important part of the British experience and which then links closely to our study of Rivers and Floods.

Year 8 students continue to develop the human and physical Geography skills that they learnt in Year 7 and now begin to complete more extended writing and analytical tasks. Topics covered include a study of Japan as a developed country and as a comparison with the UK. We also look at Coasts and how they can be managed and also a very relevant topic on Urban Issues in the UK and abroad, looking at issues like shanty towns in developing countries and problems like crime and house prices in the UK.

Year 9 students are now moving towards the GCSE option choice and we look at some really complex issues with a strong moral element, such as a unit on the Developing World which asks questions about the causes of poverty and what we can do to help. There is also a topical unit on Population that covers issues like the value and role of migration into the UK. Lastly, we look at natural hazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes and how these impact on societies. It is important to note that the GCSE course starts in the Summer term of Year 9 with a unit on ecosystems.

GCSE

St Catherine’s uses the AQA specification for Geography GCSE. Teaching begins in Year 9 with the unit on Ecosystems and continues in Year 10 with a unit on Urban Challenges in Lagos, Nigeria and in London and another unit on Natural Hazards which looks at tectonic hazards such as earthquakes and weather hazards such as hurricanes.  Year 10 ends with a study of coastal management and erosion.

Year 11 looks at rivers and flooding and then moves onto looking at economic Geography with a study of poverty in the developing world and globalisation. We then focus on the topical issue of managing resources such as food and water and how we can provide these essentials to all people in the world. Lastly, we develop our geographical skills in the use of maps and data and write up our fieldwork for the final exam paper.

Wider Learning Opportunities

The department has run trips to Naples in Italy and Iceland in the past and would hope to travel to Sicily in the near future. All GCSE students spend the weekend in Swanage, Dorset completing fieldwork for their GCSE exams. A Level students visit the Olympic Site in Stratford and the sand dunes of Rye in Sussex.

The Geography Department also runs the School’s Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

History

History

The History department at St Catherine’s aims to inspire in its students a love of the subject through historical enquiry of a breadth of topics. The department believes strongly that History is a subject that is widely valued by many and should therefore be accessible to everyone. The department seeks to equip students with the skills required to reach their full potential that teaches students of all abilities, through to Oxbridge level historians.

At St Catherine’s we provide a wide range of vibrant and stimulating courses with an emphasis on combining enjoyment with examination preparation. Both structured and independent learning of British and European/ World history aims to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to create lifelong Historians.

KS3

Year 7 Medieval and Renaissance worlds 1066-1485

Year 8 The English Reformation, Transatlantic Slave Trade and its abolition, The Industrial Revolution and British Empire.

Year 9 The Twentieth Century World.

GCSE

At GCSE students study IGCSE History following the Edexcel Exam Board. The GCSE curriculum modules, broken down into Years 10-11, including exam board details are as follows:

Year 10

Germany: development of dictatorship, 1918–45

Changes in medicine, c1848–c1948

Year 11

Russia and the Soviet Union, 1905–24

A world divided: superpower relations, 1943–72

Wider Learning opportunities

We strongly believe in extra-curricular experiences and trips. At KS3 we run History Club which is focused on “bringing History to life.” We have visited The Black Country Museum, and the Weald and Downland Museum in Year’s 7 and 8. Our future plans include visiting an Anglo-Settlement, where we will learn to build Saxon walls, as well a plan to see the Mary Rose, to complement our Year 8 curriculum.

At KS4, we hold a History film club to support the GCSE content, which enriches the study of our subject. We have visited Berlin on several occasions in the past few years, and our next trip is to Russia. There is History book club held during lunch time. This year we have looked at the role of the graphic novel when learning History, and have investigated Maus and Persepolis to widen our understanding of the History of Germany and Iran. At Sixth Form, the girls are also invited to come to Russia, and they frequently attend the wonderful lectures that are given by the Historical Association, as well as specific lecture days for their A-Level studies.

Mathematics

Mathematics

Mathematics is taught to all girls in Years 7 to 11 and is a compulsory core subject at IGCSE. The department is a central focal point in the school in its commitment to excellence and high achievement. We aim to share our enthusiasm for Mathematics whilst aspiring to present the subject as exciting, stimulating and relevant; one which has a natural elegance and beauty.

The department aims to ensure that all pupils are challenged to attain their full mathematical potential and, to meet this need, we feel that pupils make the best progress when taught in ability sets. Girls are set in accordance with their performance in the Entrance Exams but frequent movement takes place between sets if we feel that it would be of benefit. We provide a wide range of teaching and learning experiences and strive to develop mathematical knowledge and understanding in a way that encourages confidence and self-belief showing our depth and awareness of the skills and needs of individual pupils.

Underpinning the department is a sound structure with a thorough assessment programme providing an excellent data resource which follows the pupils throughout their time at the school. The department firmly believes that pupils should be fully involved in their learning and should be aware of what they are to be taught, how well they understand it and what they need to do to make further progress.

KS3

The Mathematics syllabus in Years 7 and 8 gives pupils a thorough grounding of all the basic number work and algebra needed for confident progress in the subject whilst developing their mathematical intuition through problem-solving activities. Further geometrical and statistical skills are introduced and formalised providing a solid foundation for pupils to start their International GCSE course in Year 9.

GCSE

Throughout Key Stage 4, all pupils are prepared for the Edexcel International GCSE (specification A) Higher Tier with more able pupils being offered an additional Further Mathematics course which runs within normal timetabled lesson allocation.

Wider Learning Opportunities

Mathematics also extends beyond the classroom. We offer considerable support to our pupils on a one to one basis, in lunchtime clinics or in dedicated revision classes. Pupils participate in the annual Maths Challenges organised by the UKMT, with many Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates being awarded each year and pupils in Year 8 and 9 have the opportunity to undertake code breaking activities as part of an organised trip to Bletchley Park.

Modern Foreign Languages

Modern Foreign Languages

In today’s increasingly globalised and connected world, the importance of effective communication has never been greater. We believe that being able to speak a foreign language is a vital skill for the future of our country and, most importantly, for your children.

French, German and Spanish are taught throughout the school. All three languages are offered at GCSE and GCE A level and we use AQA exam board.

We have language assistants for each of the three languages, who work with students in small groups to focus on their speaking skills. Sound and video recordings are frequently used to give pupils access to genuine language sources and to highlight cultural aspects of our Target Language countries. Students are encouraged to use a variety of computer programmes and internet sources for reference, research and language practice.

From Year 9 onwards, pupils have relevant textbooks and workbooks which they keep.

KS3

In Years 7 and 8, pupils learn vocabulary and how to express themselves in the language. The focus is on learning basic grammar and language structures in the context of everyday situations.

Themes at KS3 include Personal Information and Description, Friends and Family, Free-Time Activities, School and Education, Food, and Places in Town.

GCSE

In Year 9, pupils start the GCSE course. Pupils need to develop the skills that they began to acquire in Years 7 and 8 in order to express more sophisticated ideas and opinions. In addition, they must learn to apply complex linguistic structures to their own production of the language.

The GCSE course contains themes such as Identity and Culture, Education and Work, and Global Issues.

Students will sit examinations in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing at the end of the course.

Wider Learning Opportunities

All pupils are offered the chance to go on residential visits to France, Germany and Spain. Recent trips have included German Christmas Market trips to Cologne and Koblenz, KS4 trips to Paris and Madrid.

In addition, we regularly take students on study days (e.g. BFI foreign film study days) and run cultural activities in the school (e.g. interactive theatre, salsa/flamenco/ballet workshops, etc).

Music

Music

Music plays a vital role in the life and community of St Catherine’s. Our vision is to instil a love of music for life and to give our girls every opportunity to take part in and experience music making.

KS3

The curriculum in Year 7 is broad and varied, covering music from Western classical tradition, popular music, World Music and Folk Music. There is a class set of keyboard, guitars and ukuleles and ensemble skills are part of the curriculum every year. Girls are also encouraged to bring their own instruments into class lessons.

Year 7 study modules on rhythm, keyboard skills, ukulele skills, jazz and mash-ups.

Year 8 study modules on major and minor scales, triads, chromaticism, songwriting and musical theatre.

Year 9 study variations, cover versions, reggae, film music and popular music.

GCSE

We study GCSE with the Eduqas board. In Year 10 we cover area of Study 1, musical forms and devices and area of study 3, film music. Students perform a solo every half term on their instrument or voice which is assessed and students are expected to be in at least one of the St Catherine’s ensembles. Students will complete a composition on one of the two areas studied and a free composition.

In Year 11, we study area of study 2, popular music and area of study 4 music for ensemble. Students compose the composition set by Eduqas. They are assessed on their ensemble performances during this year.  Students complete a teacher assessed performance exam, hand in their 2 best compositions and sit a listening exam.

Wider Learning Opportunities

There are many choirs and ensembles on offer, including the St Catherine’s Singers, the Orchestra and the woodwind ensemble. There are formal and informal concerts given throughout the year. The Music and Drama departments collaborate closely on the yearly school production and there are musicians involved in the singing and in the production band.

We have a highly dedicated and professional team of peripatetic staff. All orchestral instruments, voice, piano, guitar and percussion are available to learn. We act as a centre for Associated Board exams once a year and many pupils enter, achieving excellent results. The music department has 3 practice rooms where girls are welcome to use in small groups in their free time and create a band, pursue any musical interest of their own or simply practise. Concert visits are organised as well as master classes by visiting professional musicians and singers.

 

Photography

Photography

St Catherine’s has an outstanding Art Department. Over the years all our girls have established a track record of creating extraordinary works of art and exceptional academic success. In Public Examinations our girls have uniformly achieved the highest grades possible for many years. Fine Art, Painting and Photography are long established courses offered at examination level. Over the last five years we have also offered Textiles at GCSE and A Level, alongside Graphic Design at A Level.

We aim to teach the joy of art, both in creating and investigating and we take great pride in celebrating the achievements of the individual artists. Examples of the girls’ work are displayed around the school and contribute to its aesthetic vibrancy. The work regularly draws complimentary comments from visitors and parents.

The Art department has two specialist rooms, one predominately a Fine Art studio with easels and an old style printing press and the other a Photography studio equipped with Photoshop workstations. We also have facilities for ceramics, which are enjoyed by both our Prep and Senior pupils.

KS3

In Year 7 we introduce the girls to a range of approaches to drawing, the essence of tone, colour and painting through the investigation of nature and landscape. The students are then taken through an exploration of fashion, figures and collage inspired by Gustav Klimt. The latter project explores contemporary Still Life.

In Year 8 we look at Surrealism, with Salvador Dali laying the foundations to a visual language which each pupil takes to a personally developed painting. The girls then build vessels in ceramics based on fruit and vegetables. Finally, the theme of movement takes the girls into experimentation with photography and fine art.

In Year 9, we enable the students to touch on the different Art options offered at GCSE.   We start with a silk painting based on a personally created pattern. Pupils then explore the theme of ‘I, Me, Mine’, taking photos and painting on canvas. The final theme ‘The Decorative World’ experiments with design, text and presentation.

GCSE

We use the Edexcel Board for all options. All the work the students create goes towards their final grade. 60% is their Personal Portfolio and 40% is the Externally Set Assignment with a 10 hour Examination.

In all options the coursework is split into two or three projects across Year 10 and the beginning of Year 11. All pupils create three final outcomes, with the latter of these in examination conditions, so the students become confident working independently within 10 hours. Each project has a sketchbook to support and record the student’s development. In these projects the students investigate a range of relevant artists, visit galleries and exhibitions, experiment with new and exciting materials and techniques that lead to creating highly original and individual pieces. At the end of the course there is a ten-hour practical exam over two days, for which they have approximately 10 school weeks to prepare. For this a theme is set by the examination board, which requires the girls to demonstrate all their skills learnt over the two years.

The courses are designed to encourage our girls to create their own style, to work independently and show self-motivation. They are expected to work outside of lessons, in the art studios and at home.

Photography

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” Don McCullin

The personal portfolio for Photography is split into three units, the initial two in Year 10 and the last in Year 11. Unit 1, ‘A Place You Know’ introduces the pupils to look at their local world with a new eye. Unit 2, ‘Overhead and/or Underneath’, a previous examination theme, encourages the pupils to explore different viewpoints to express different ideas. Unit 3, ‘Force’ can be interpreted in any manner, from physical structure to expression of will. In these projects the students experiment with photography in black and white, colour or a mixture of both. They explore the creativity of digital manipulation which leads them to create finals that can be a single image, one or many series, built in collage or relief, and on range of scales.

Physical Education

Physical Education

We believe that providing a wide range of opportunities in sports for students of all abilities is important for health, fitness and well-being, as well as creating the sense of achievement and value that active participation and successful competition bring. We encourage students to be the best that they can be. The best will be a very different experience for each student, which is why we strive for a Sports for all ethos, coupled with the pursuit of excellence and development of pathways; opting into recreational or competitive clubs, undertaking GCSE PE, A Level PE, representing the school/borough/regional/national level.

KS3

Students experience the roles of performance, officiating and coaching in the following sports/activities throughout Years7-9: health related fitness work and monitoring, netball, hockey, swimming, personal survival, athletics, cross-country, trampolining and rounders. In addition, Students may opt into options of football, badminton and dance.

GCSE

Students may opt into a two-year course in Edexcel GCSE PE. (60% theory, 40% practical)

Throughout, our students will receive a well-rounded introduction to the world of PE, sport and sport science through the combination of physical performance and academic challenges.

Component 1. Fitness and Body Systems. 36% of the qualification assessed in a written exam. (year 10)

Component 2: Health and Performance. 24% of the qualification. assessed in a written exam. (Year11)

Component 3: Practical Performance in three sports which must include both individual and team activities. 30% of the qualification. (Year 10 &11)

Component 4: Personal Exercise Programme (PEP) Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated .10% of the qualification (Year 10)

Wider Learning opportunities

All students are encouraged to engage in extra-curricular sport, whether before school, at lunchtime or after school, which supports them in representing the school, borough, county, region, National and English Schools’ etc. Our facilities enable most clubs to be based on the school premises, in addition to utilising local facilities for athletics, cross country and hockey.

Psychology

Psychology

You can study Psychology at GCSE and A-Level here at St Catherine’s.
If you enjoy:

  • understanding why people behave the way they do
  • developing your ability to think scientifically
  • learning about the treatments and therapies used to help people
  • finding out what psychologists do

then the GCSE Psychology course is the subject for you.
Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour and, through your own experiences, you will already have an understanding of how individuals and groups function.

Religious Education

Religious Education

Religious Education at St Catherine’s is at the centre of the curriculum and school life. RE is taught by 3 specialist members of staff in 3 lessons a week for each year group following the requirements set out by the Diocese of Westminster. We use a range of methods and resources designed to engage and challenge interests and stimulate discussion leading to well rounded religious literate students who flourish. The St Catherine’s curriculum allows our girls to “to reflect spiritually, and think ethically and theologically” (Religious Education Curriculum Directory). RE is a core subject with every girl taking RE at GCSE and following a non-examined General RE course in the Sixth Form. There is also a very popular A level course offered following the AQA specification of Religious Studies.

KS3

The KS3 curriculum rigorous. It allows the girls to visit a variety of world faiths, providing them with opportunities to expand their own spirituality and develop religious literacy skills. All pupils are encouraged to reflect on their own beliefs and grow as individuals, mindful and respectful of the beliefs of others. Faith is at the heart of all that we do and teach.

In Year 7 students complete an introduction to Faith followed by studies of world religion celebrations and the life of Jesus. In Year 8 students develop their knowledge further exploring the Biblical Covenants, Creation and Stewardship and exploring the study Islam. In Year 9 students focus on Philosophical investigations and begin the GCSE study of Judaism using the AQA specification B.

GCSE

At GCSE, students study the AQA Specification B which builds upon the foundations moulded during their KS3 studies. Throughout the two years the girls are provided with many opportunities to explore further their own spirituality and faith alongside delving deeper into the links between Catholic Christianity and Theology.

Students begin the GCSE in Year 9 studying Jewish Beliefs and Practices.  In Year 10 students study Catholic Christianity covering 6 Units linking and exploring Beliefs, Practices, Forms of expression and Sources of authority. In Year 11 students complete the study of Theme A- Religion, Relationships and Families and Theme B- Religion peace and conflict.

Science

Science

The Science Department at St Catherine’s is located in a dedicated block with excellent facilities and resources. The Department is staffed by specialist teachers and technician support.

The Department aims to stimulate curiosity, interest and enjoyment in Science and its methods of enquiry and develop skills and abilities that are relevant to the study, practice and application of Science, which are useful in everyday life and which encourage safe practice. Pupils develop an understanding of the technological and environmental applications of Science and of the economic, ethical, social, moral implications.

KS3

The Lower School curriculum follows the Activate scheme. It is designed to lay the foundations in terms of knowledge, practical skills and scientific investigations for successful progression to GCSE.

Year 7

In Biology, pupils study: cells, structure and function of the body system, reproduction, health and lifestyle.

In Chemistry, pupils study: particles and their properties, elements, atoms and compounds, Reactions, acids and alkalis and the Periodic table.

In Physics, pupils study: forces, sound, light, space, electricity and magnetism

Year 8

In Biology, pupils study: ecosystems and processes, adaptation and inheritance, new technology.

In Chemistry, pupils study: separation, techniques, metals and acids, the Earth, new technology.

In Physics, pupils study: energy, motion and pressure, new technology.

Year 9

In Biology, pupils study: turning points in Biology, detection, cells, Biology Organisation (part of the GCSE spec)

In Chemistry, pupils study: turning points in Chemistry, detection, atomic structure and the Periodic Table, structure and bonding (GCSE spec)

In Physics, pupils study: turning points in Physics, detection, electricity, kinetic theory and energy (GCSE spec)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

GCSE

The GCSE curriculum begins in January of Year 9 when the girls progress to the AQA GCSE Trilogy Course (double award). A number of girls take an additional option so that they can take the three separate science subjects and acquire three GCSE grades. The option is discussed with the Head of Science.

Year 10

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Infection and response
  • Quantitative chemistry
  • Atomic structure
  • Chemical changes
  • Radioactivity
  • Bioenergetics
  • Energy changes
  • Household electricity
  • Homeostasis and response waves
  • The rate and extent of chemical change
  • Organic chemistry

Year 11

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution
  • Chemical analysis
  • Forces
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Motion
  • Ecology
  • Magnetism
  • Using resources
  • Electromagnetism

WIDER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Science week in March is one of the opportunities to extend science beyond the exam  curriculum. Visits, project work and competitions are used to enrich the experience of the girls.

Textiles

Textiles

St Catherine’s has an outstanding Art Department. Over the years all our girls have established a track record of creating extraordinary works of art and exceptional academic success. In Public Examinations our girls have uniformly achieved the highest grades possible for many years. Fine Art, Painting and Photography are long established courses offered at examination level. Over the last five years we have also offered Textiles at GCSE and A Level, alongside Graphic Design at A Level.

We aim to teach the joy of art, both in creating and investigating and we take great pride in celebrating the achievements of the individual artists. Examples of the girls’ work are displayed around the school and contribute to its aesthetic vibrancy. The work regularly draws complimentary comments from visitors and parents.

The Art department has two specialist rooms, one predominately a Fine Art studio with easels and an old style printing press and the other a Photography studio equipped with Photoshop workstations. We also have facilities for ceramics, which are enjoyed by both our Prep and Senior pupils.

KS3

In Year 7 we introduce the girls to a range of approaches to drawing, the essence of tone, colour and painting through the investigation of nature and landscape. The students are then taken through an exploration of fashion, figures and collage inspired by Gustav Klimt. The latter project explores contemporary Still Life.

In Year 8 we look at Surrealism, with Salvador Dali laying the foundations to a visual language which each pupil takes to a personally developed painting. The girls then build vessels in ceramics based on fruit and vegetables. Finally, the theme of movement takes the girls into experimentation with photography and fine art.

In Year 9, we enable the students to touch on the different Art options offered at GCSE.   We start with a silk painting based on a personally created pattern. Pupils then explore the theme of ‘I, Me, Mine’, taking photos and painting on canvas. The final theme ‘The Decorative World’ experiments with design, text and presentation.

GCSE

We use the Edexcel Board for all options. All the work the students create goes towards their final grade. 60% is their Personal Portfolio and 40% is the Externally Set Assignment with a 10 hour Examination.

In all options the coursework is split into two or three projects across Year 10 and the beginning of Year 11. All pupils create three final outcomes, with the latter of these in examination conditions, so the students become confident working independently within 10 hours. Each project has a sketchbook to support and record the student’s development. In these projects the students investigate a range of relevant artists, visit galleries and exhibitions, experiment with new and exciting materials and techniques that lead to creating highly original and individual pieces. At the end of the course there is a ten-hour practical exam over two days, for which they have approximately 10 school weeks to prepare. For this a theme is set by the examination board, which requires the girls to demonstrate all their skills learnt over the two years.

The courses are designed to encourage our girls to create their own style, to work independently and show self-motivation. They are expected to work outside of lessons, in the art studios and at home.

Textiles

“Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” Ralph Lauren.

The personal portfolio for Textiles is split into two projects across Year 10 and the beginning of Year 11. Unit 1 is ‘Colour’; this project introduces the girls to working through the journey of Textiles. They will learn to experiment with a series of techniques including; printing, dying, machine embroidery, Batik, Dye sublimation and embellishing. Students will also cover contextual research of Fashion and Textiles. For their first outcome they will create a cushion or bag and for their second make a garment. Unit 2, ‘Natural forms and Shorelines’, they are free to produce a personal outcome that is either for Fashion or Interiors.