History and Vision
St. Catherine’s was established in 1956 in the grounds of the British Embassy in Athens. Although originally intended to provide education for children from Britain and the Commonwealth, it now teaches 1154 pupils, aged 3 to 18 years, from 54 nationalities. St. Catherine’s is a ‘not for profit organisation’. It is, however, a private school and is registered at Companies House in the UK. It is also registered as a charity with the UK Charities Commission.
St. Catherine’s endeavours to foster a love of learning through a well taught, appropriately challenging, clearly defined, broad and balanced curriculum. Our aim is to fully develop pupils’ intellectual, social, physical and creative potential, in anticipation that they will develop into sensitive, informed, decisive and capable global citizens of the future. Character building and interpersonal skills are developed through a range of relevant educational experiences and extra-curricular activities. As a leading exponent of global citizenship, St. Catherine’s pupils are encouraged to develop problem-solving skills, conflict resolution skills, negotiation strategies and an understanding of multicultural, multi-faith, and multi-racial concepts within the context of cultural pluralism. Pupils are expected to seek solutions to environmental and ecological problems and actively demonstrate responsibilities and sound practices for good global, European and national citizenship, as well as having clear expectations of the relevance and benefits of personal, social and health strategies.
Academic Programme and Accreditation
The school is divided into six departments, in line with legal requirements for England and Wales.
These departments are:
Foundation Stage – Nursery and Reception (ages 3-5 years)
Key Stage One – Years 1 and 2 (ages 5-7 years)
Key Stage Two – Years 3-6 (ages 7-11 years)
Key Stage Three – Years 7-9 (ages 11-14 years)
Key Stage Four – Years 10 and 11 (ages 14-16 years) culminating in IGCSE examinations.
International Baccalaureate – Years 12 and 13 (ages 16-18 years) culminating in the IB Diploma qualification.
The school follows a curriculum that is closely based on the National Curriculum of England and Wales between the ages of 5 and 16 years, with all students being taught English, Mathematics, Science, ICT, Physical Education and one of four Modern Languages. In addition, there is a range of creative and humanities subjects delivered within the different Key Stages. For the final two years all students can study for the full IB Diploma and a range of subjects are available in the six Diploma subject groups. The school is an Executive Member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and is IBO World School 1370.
It submits itself for Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection every three years.
St. Catherine’s is situated within its own grounds in northern Athens, near the elegant suburb of Kifissia. In addition to its current grounds, the school has also acquired a large adjacent plot on which it plans to expand its facilities. The school currently has excellent teaching, sporting and recreational facilities, including a large open-air swimming pool and two libraries. All classrooms are fitted with interactive white board technology and Wi-Fi is available throughout the school.
The school has a good balance of long term local pupils and expatriate pupils from all over the world. Due to its academic excellence, St. Catherine’s is the first choice school for most local and expatriate families who want their children to gain a British education within an international context. The parents of St. Catherine’s come from a variety of businesses, governments and other professional backgrounds and are closely linked to the school through the PTSA (Parents and Teachers Support Association) as well as many other parent student links.
St. Catherine’s takes every opportunity to benefit from the rich heritage of Greece and every class looks at a different aspect of Greek history or culture, usually supported by educational visits.
Extra Curricular Activities
At St. Catherine’s we are firm believers in the Greek maxim that “a healthy mind goes hand in hand with a healthy body”. To this end, our students are encouraged to take part in the extensive range of clubs and societies that the school has to offer, which take place within the lunch hour and after school. Arts, sciences and sports flourish at the school. The school participates in sports matches with other schools in Greece and abroad. Debating, oration and drama competitions, at both national and international level, take place throughout the year.
Drama, dance and music opportunities are on offer to all. Pupils can learn virtually any musical instrument of their choosing and can study for graded music examinations.
The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts’ examinations in speech and drama are also open to pupils of the school. A strong feature of the school is its International Award/Duke of Edinburgh scheme. This links most appropriately to the CAS element of the IB diploma.
Overseas trips are a regular part of school life, as is the exploration and discovery of the history and geography of Greece. Inter-house activities and the elected School Council ensure pupil involvement in the commitment and delivery of school improvements at all levels.
Senior students in particular, have numerous opportunities to involve themselves in service projects both within Greece and further afield. Beach clean-up, language teaching in local refugee centres, and a Sea Turtle rescue scheme are examples of local projects. Additionally, a number of students have embarked on international programmes in developing countries.
St. Catherine’s provides extensive college guidance and careers advice by specialists with considerable experience in US and UK admissions. In addition to the IGSCE and IB programmes, the school provides SAT preparation courses running from September to January every academic year.
A number of events take place every year, including university visits, guest speakers and a careers and universities fair.