I trust that everyone in our school community has been able to enjoy something to remember over the summer break as well as a restful recharge of the batteries ready for another exciting, action-packed year ahead at St Catherine’s British School. It was indeed a pleasure to see so many parents attend our two beginning of year Information Evenings last Tuesday (Upper School) and Thursday (Lower School). As I outlined on each of the evenings, much of my summer involved monitoring progress on Phase 1 of our new building development across the road – the uncovering of first of all Roman-era archaeological remains early in July was then followed by the more unexpected discovery of prehistoric remains! All very thrilling for an historian/classicist like myself but also a little nerve-racking, given the potential for delay! However Focal – our Project Management team – and Redex – our Constructors – are confident that the September 2019 deadline for opening will be met so long as the archaeological work is completed this side of Christmas. This is one of the reasons that we have increased the number of archaeologists on site to 15! Don’t forget to keep an eye on the school website for regular picture updates on our progress.
On Tuesday Dr Bond provided a detailed review of the Upper School in 2017-2018 with a particular focus on the achievements of our IB2 graduates and Year 11 IGCSE students – and what outstanding achievements they were too! As I mentioned at both evenings I have now been involved with supporting Year 13 graduates move on to Higher Education/careers for over 30 years and this year’s destination list reads very impressively indeed – Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Durham, Warwick, Edinburgh, Brown, Northwestern and La Sorbonne to name but a few! Each year too, more and more of our graduates have been at the school for the majority, if not all, of their school careers. Their affiliation to the school was indicated by the many replies I received to my congratulatory/good luck message sent to all graduates in July/August– a glance at some of these comments provide a clear picture of how much St Catherine’s means to them:
“The school has supported me so much throughout my whole school career…I will make sure to keep in touch through the Alumni Association, and look forward to visiting the St. Catherine’s community again very soon, as it has been like a second home for me”.
“I…am grateful for the education I received from St Catherine’s. I am excited to be attending the University of Bristol and am sure I will start on a strong note due to the education I received from St Catherine’s.
“I have discussed this with my parents many times and have thanked them for letting me come back to St.Catherine’s in Year 9 and finishing my school career here. I will always be grateful for the way the school shaped me as an academic student but also as a person. I really hope that university life will be just as exciting and stimulating”.
“I am really looking forward to the next part of my life at university. I will of course keep in touch as I would like to help other students in any way I can. St Catherine’s has been a huge part of my life and I will miss my school years very much”.
“I am very excited for all that awaits and look forward to beginning this next chapter in my life. School has prepared me very well and provided me with valuable knowledge, core values and unforgettable memories”.
“I had incredible support from Mrs Peters and many teachers throughout the IB and I am very grateful”.
“Thanks for everything that St. Catherine’s has done, without the school’s and everyone’s help, I couldn’t have achieved this, words are not enough to express my gratitude”.
I am also looking forward to heralding the successes of last year’s Key Stage Four students with parents and staff on the evening of Wednesday, 26th September. This year’s IGCSE results augur well for the IB graduating cohort of 2020 – at the end of our first year in the new building!
Mrs Matthews in her address at the Lower School Information Evening last Thursday also drew attention not only to our relentless focus on Excellence and Happiness for all our children but also the extensive amount of energy we expend on improvements across the school at all levels – investing in the very best Professional Development training for our staff has become a regular feature of our working calendar.
Our staff are also involved in a huge range of extra-curricular activities and trips across the whole year – these are a real feature of student life at St Catherine’s and always helps learning to come alive. Indeed, as I write my first blog of the year, four staff are heading east to Japan with 33 students for the ICT “Game Show” trip – sounds fascinating indeed!
Finally I would like to extend a really warm St Catherine’s welcome not only to all our new families but also to our new staff members:
- Lower School: Miss K. Warren (Year 5) and Mr D. Chatwin (Year 4).
- Upper School: Mr G. Banks (Economics), Miss E. Kalemaki (Spanish), Mr L. York Ryder (Geography) and Mrs K. York Ryder (English).
- Admissions Registrar: Mrs A. Sandis.
- Development Office: Miss Z. Haliokiopoulos.
Wishing you all the very best for 2018 – 2019.