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What says..

Academic life here is pacey; bright-eyed students thrive on high expectations. ‘There are some who are quiet about how great they are, and some who are less quiet, but they’re all great,’ says one parent. Arriving at the school’s main building, a pretty, Edwardian affair, we were struck by the happy bustle of breaktime, students thronging the corridors, hooting with laughter, discussing the morning’s events, eating cookies. School says that despite elite-level success, students don’t have to be ‘good at sport’ to take part; parents and students say...

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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, Mrs Rebecca (‘Becky’) Dougall. Read English at King’s College London and a master’s in literature at Bristol (‘I can’t get up in the morning without a bit of medieval English,’ she jokes). A career in successful girls’ schools ensued: teaching at Wycombe Abbey, Oxford High as deputy head and then Royal High School Bath, becoming head there in 2010 and leading it for five years. ‘I love that ability to specialise that we have in girls’ schools,’ she says, ‘it’s not about keeping lads out but looking through a specialist lens.’ Her own school, in Cheltenham, was also all-girls – ‘then I went to uni and strangely I didn’t go pop’.

Despite (or because of) her background in literature, she has an unstuffy way with words and an approachable...

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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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