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The brisk pace of academic teaching means exhaustion and hothousing are genuine concerns for parents new to the school. But, as one said, ‘all my concerns went out of the window immediately – in juniors they get to hatch chicks and make fun stuff in DT. Even in seniors, homework is interesting and teachers at parents' evening talk about how well girls interact with their friends, seeing it as just as important as doing the work.’ Support is plentiful too: ‘Nobody will hang on by their fingertips,’ parents are told when their daughters join – a huge relief to one parent: ‘Our daughter...

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What the school says...

Founded in 1903, St Helen and St Katharine is an independent day school for girls aged 9–18 in Abingdon, six miles south of Oxford. St Helen’s is a school for bright girls with enquiring minds, a place where success is celebrated but not revered. Our aim is to ensure that every student achieves success as she defines it, so that she can believe in herself, her talents and abilities, and feel prepared and equipped for life beyond school.

Our outstanding academic record makes us one of the leading girls’ schools in the country. Stimulating and challenging teaching reaches beyond the curriculum, enabling our students to become effective and independent learners. Our broad and varied extracurricular programme of 100+ clubs and activities also plays a central role within school life. We actively encourage students to give new things a go, to explore and extend interests and to make friends across age groups.

Students are admitted to the Junior Department at either 9+ or 10+ and to the senior school at 11+, 13+ and 16+. It may be possible to admit students into other years, enquiries should be made to the Admissions Office. We offer a range of scholarships at 11+, 13+ and 16+ for academic ability, art, drama, music, sport and an all-rounder award. The School offers means tested bursaries from 20-100% of fees from Year 7.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2015, Rebecca Dougall BA MA (50s), previously head of the Royal High School, Bath. Has also taught at Wycombe Abbey and Oxford High, where she was deputy head. Educated at the universities of Bristol (BA English lit) and King’s College London (MA 19th century lit).

Chic (even with lockdown hair) and youthful, she is a whirlwind of energy and opinions, with a good dollop of humour keeping things light. ‘Very strong character – the girls love her,’ said parent. ‘In tune with the school’s values which we see emanate from her.’ ‘Hugely charismatic – some find her a bit too full on, but we are big fans.’ ‘If you’re after a tweedy Miss Marple type head, she is squarely not what you’re looking for.’

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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Special Education Needs


Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

Who came from where

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