Boarding News

St Catherine's makes the Top 5 Girls' Independent Boarding Schools (March 2018)

www.best-schools.co.uk has recognised St Catherine’s as a UK Top 5 Girls’ Independent Boarding School by A Level outcomes. In fact, a closer look at The Telegraph and The Times Parent Power tables sees St Catherine’s placed in third position as a UK girls’ boarding school based on examination outcomes at GCSE and A Level.

Bronte Boarding News

Article published March 2017 in Diplomat magazine

Please click on the link below to read Mrs Lorinda Munro-Faure's article in Diplomat magazine about parenting and the teenage boarder:

Boarding Weekend News

      

Friday 15th June - Sunday 17th June 2018

This weekend we welcomed new U3 and L4 girls who will be joining us as boarders in September.  The new girls arrived at midday on Friday to firstly experience afternoon lessons.

Immediately after school the current U3 boarders helped the girls find their dorms and made them feel at home.  We then headed to the Bronte common room to decorated boarding mugs with our own unique stylish designs.

After Supper we played in the swimming pool, Mrs Harkness introduced us to some fun pool team games.  The Symes boarders opted to watch the World Cup Football Match as Spain were playing Portugal.  Our Spanish boarders were rooting for Spain with their flags wrapped around them but they were disappointed with the end result, a 3-3 draw!

On Saturday we headed to the magical world of Harry Potter Studios.   It was amazing! We saw many of the movie sets, with our particular favourites being the forest set and the complete model of Hogwarts. Many of us bought butter beer or butter beer ice cream before trying our hand at broom flying using the green screen technique.  It was a fabulous day and rekindled our love for the movies.  We spent the evening in our common rooms watching Harry Potter movies whilst snacking on our chocolate frogs and popcorn.

At church on Sunday we had the pleasure of listening to Queen’s College Choir from Oxford, who attended the service and sang beautifully.  Once brunch was eaten it was time to say goodbye to our new boarders, who are now feeling more confident about boarding and are all looking forward to starting with us in September. 

On Sunday afternoon we had some time to relax and catch up on prep, prior to a walk along the cannel and in to Shalford.  We stopped at the Snooty Fox Café where we enjoyed cakes and hot chocolates before returning to school.

Next week we are hoping for good weather as our plan is to head to the seaside! 

 

Friday 8th June - Sunday 10th June 2018

The weekend was always going to be excellent, as we had finished our exams and therefore had a work-free weekend.  Well – except for our L5 Keller boarders whom we waved off on their Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition….oh and except for our U5 and Sixth Form boarders who are still taking GCSEs or A’levels.

Anyway.  Onto the highlights.  Well Mario’s arrival in his ice cream van was a wonderful sight.  Especially as we were able to choose any ice-cream we wanted.  Suffice to say -they were delicious!  A big thank you to Mrs Alexander for organising this for us.  We think Mario should visit St Cats more regularly!  Are you taking notes BHMs?

On Saturday, the sun shone and we watched our friends playing rounders against the England rounders teams.  It was great fun and we enjoyed being outside.  This was followed by a trip to Secretts Farm to pick Strawberries.  Another great British tradition. 

Which brings me on to my next great British Tradition.  Mr Friend…well he is currently the star of Britain’s Best Home Cook.  No – sorry Mr Friend, the British tradition I was referring to was the making of Eton Mess!  But thank you very much for coming to help us make this on Sunday, together with Mrs Cook - whose talents (despite her name), pale into insignificance before such mastery and TV Celebrity.  We also tried our hand at making roulades, and while they were very successful, I still think Mary Berry would have chosen Mr Friend’s as the best.  The mixture of our freshly picked strawberries, together with cream and meringue really was a match made in Heaven.

Next week we are really looking forward to welcoming new boarders for their bonding weekend, and on Saturday, going on the Harry Potter Studio tour.

 

Friday 18th May - Sunday 20th May 2018 – The Royal Wedding

It was a really glorious weekend, with radiant sunshine and the chance to see English life at its best!  

On Saturday morning, royal wedding fever hit and we gathered together in Symes Common Room to watch the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle.  We enjoyed the pageantry, but loved the dress, the carriage ride and the gospel choir.  We were in silent awe of the cello playing by Sheku Kanneh Mason but had a few giggles over the length and vitality of the American Archbishop’s address!  We marked this historical event with a special lunch and we know that it is a moment that we shall never forget!  

Later in the afternoon, we made the most of the sunshine and of one of the benefits of living on school site: having the school grounds to ourselves!  

Sunday brought more sunshine and another very English event: the village fete, where we took part in the games, bought snacks and much needed ice-cream, and we even supported Sister Green on the bric a brac stand!  The pre-prep girls sang beautifully and provided some much appreciated entertainment and there was maypole dancing to watch and races too.   A real English experience!  

    
 
 

Friday 12th May - Sunday 13th May 2018 

This weekend the boarders enjoyed a whole mix of activities and for once this year the weather was on our side! On Friday evening Bronte and Symes enjoyed Zumba and swimming, whilst Keller made a delicious Chicken dish with Mrs Cook. On Saturday morning some 6th formers performed in the Jazz Band at the Prep. School May Fair whilst Bronte and Symes visited the Plant and Cake sale at the Summerpool house in Bramley – a real ‘Peter Rabbit’ Garden, complete with chickens and swings. We purchased 2 cakes for each house which we all enjoyed after our prep! 

After lunch we visited the cinema and watched a range of movies including Sherlock Gnomes, I feel pretty, Life of a party and the latest Avengers movie, Infinity War. Saturday evening was a chance to relax and chill out. 

On Sunday we attended church as usual. After brunch Mr Friend (Maths and Food and Nutrition teacher and of BBC Best British Home Cook fame) kindly came in to the help Stefanie, Anbie, Hannah, Amparo, Eno, and Camilla to prepare for the Boarding Schools Bake-off Competition round tomorrow at Westonbirt School.  We wish them the best of luck! 

In the afternoon we had a taster session of scuba diving in the swimming pool. This was so much fun and we learnt about the equipment, communication under water and buoyancy. We also got an extra opportunity for a swim after the session. Sunday evening, after supper, we finished off our last bits of prep before another chance to relax before bed. Thank you to all the staff who worked this weekend. 

 

Friday 27th April - Sunday 29th April 2018

For the first weekend of the Summer Term we had to put on our winter coats (!) to enjoy the planned activities. On Saturday we visited the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, where we were able to look inside various buildings from different periods in English history.

On Sunday we did Duck Herding!  Working in pairs, with a sheep dog and a cane, our challenge was to control the ducks through a number of different obstacles.  We found the slide quite easy. We found the final team challenge hard. The aim was to get all the ducks to travel through a white tunnel. Using us as their guides!  We were glad that even the sheep dog struggled to get them all through!

We look forward to more exciting events this term, we just hope it gets a bit warmer.

     

 

Friday 23rd March - Sunday 25th March 2018

This weekend, we had an active time taking part in Zumba on Friday evening.  On Saturday, we travelled through time and visited the Houses of Parliament.  We discovered lots of fascinating information including the fact that Dumbledore’s throne in Harry Potter was modelled on the throne carved for Queen Victoria.

Sunday was spent packing.  We are now, all getting very excited about the holiday approaching.

 

Friday 16th March - Sunday 18th March 2018

The weekend began with the Symes girls welcoming the Guildford Cathedral Choristers to use their boarding house for their annual weekend workshop visit.  It was therefore a very busy weekend in Main School and very early morning starts for the girls involved in the planned sports matches!

On Saturday, the weather had changed and with the snowflakes falling and the freezing temperature, it seemed appropriate that we should head to Spectrum for ice skating.  It appeared that most of Guildford had come up with the same idea, as the car park was full and the ice rink was heaving, but we got on the ice and practised our moves.  We had certainly made progress since our Christmas trip to Winchester when we last took to the ice!

On Sunday, we once again woke up to a snow-covered school.  The sports matches had been cancelled and the Stoner House Communion postponed, so we all headed to Holy Trinity Church for the weekly communion service.  

In the afternoon, the girls in Bronte and Symes met in the Food and Nutrition Rooms for the St. Catherine’s heat of the Boarding Schools Association Bake Off….Yes!  The British Boarding Bake Off!  Unfortunately, Mary Berry was held back by the snow so could not make it, but we were joined by our own resident star baker, Mr. Friend, who guided the girls through the basic recipe for cupcakes and then, in true bake-off style, left them to it…with a table covered in ingredients.  There were chocolate cupcakes, butter cream topped cupcakes, cupcakes topped with home-made meringues and cupcakes with raspberry topping.  

The judges (Mr. Friend, Mrs. Hobourn and the Keller girls studying GCSE Food and Nut) took their role very seriously and allocated points for appearance and taste, with the Bakers’ Bonus points for organisation and tidiness.  I am therefore very pleased to announce the results and the names of the six girls who will go on to represent the St. Catherine’s boarders at Westonbirt School in May.  They are…………Stefanie, Hannah, Amparo, Camilla and Eno ….. and the overall St. Catherine’s winner is ….Anbie!  Well done and good luck with the next round next term!  Do us proud….and keeeeeep baking!

   

 

Friday 9th March - Sunday 11th March 2018

We started this action-packed weekend with the delights of the Sixth Form Charities Board’s annual Fashion and Talent Show. As ever, it was a wonderful evening. Thoroughly entertaining and clearly demonstrating that St Cats really does have a lot of talent!

On Saturday, some boarders had an active day, playing in the Lax Nationals. In addition to this, there were several bus runs to and from Holy Trinity Church in Guildford taking those boarders

who were either members of the different choirs or members of Camerata, to their respective rehearsals for the Association Concert. In the evening, armed with Haribos, Wispa bars and a drink, we returned to Guildford to watch the most incredible performance by the Association Choir and Camerata. We were very proud to see so many of the boarding community playing their part in lifting the roof off the Church with the most beautiful and powerful sounds of Bach’s Magnificat and Charpentier’s Te Deum.

On Sunday we enjoyed the Mothering Sunday Service and it was lovely that the girls handed out bunches of daffodils and there were Brownies! After brunch we had an Archery session in the Sports Hall – which was great fun and we definitely improved – especially when Haribos were used as target practice! Finally, on Sunday evening we got a chance to chill out after another busy weekend

 

Friday 2nd March - Sunday 4th March 2018 

The snow had really started to fall all week and though not much in Bramley, out and about in Surrey roads were impassible so, on Friday, we had a snow day – yeay! - with a later breakfast that gave us all a lie in before we logged onto google classroom for a little bit of schoolwork. 

The fun activities started in the afternoon with a winter walk in the snow and sledging on Chinthurst Hill, followed by warming hot chocolate and galaxy bars. The evening activity changed to a movie night in our boarding houses.

On Saturday morning we awoke to snow covering the field and buildings. This quickly melted as the temperature increased. Our planned activity had to be changed as the National Lacrosse competition was cancelled for this weekend which we’d hoped to attend to support the 1st team. Mrs Harkness organised an indoor quiz and games afternoon, where L4 competed against U3 with L4 winning in the end. Symes girls were taken into Guildford and Anbie bought Birthday Cookies for her birthday on Monday. 

On Sunday, we visited The Globe Theatre in London. Our tour guide, Tony, told us many interesting facts about the building and rebuilding of the theatre. We then explored the theatre exhibition where actors were practising their choreographed sword and dagger fighting. 

Thank you to all the staff who helped with this weekend especially the resident staff who looked after us on Friday.

 

Friday 23rd February - Sunday 26th February 2018

 

Friday 2nd Feburary - Sunday 4th February 2018

After a busy school week, those of us in the boarding community were more than happy to start our weekend with a bit of pampering!  Showered and in pyjamas, it was a really relaxing Friday evening, with most of us rising to the challenge of ignoring our electronic devices and just coming together to chat as we soothed our skin with face masks and painted our nails.  Some of us even ventured into the world of hairdressing, but we would all agree that it was very pleasant to have an evening when we could stop and think about very little else.

In contrast, after morning prep, Saturday found us in full creative mode, with constant changes of costume, and making the most of the school site.  We had been challenged to work in groups and put together a film that promoted boarding to other girls.  There were interviews, re-enactments of ‘a day in the life of a boarder’, presentations and guided tours for new girls and even a very realistic imitation of Mrs. Hobourn!  All good fun and with some very interesting results!  We have certainly provided the schools’ marketing department with something to think about!

Yesterday, the weather seemed to be on our side, although it was cold.  After morning church and the blessing of the refurbished church bells, we went to Bockett’s Farm, near Leatherhead.  Although we have two rabbits within Main boarding, there were plenty more rabbits to pet and guinea pigs too, along with the usual selection of cows, sheep, goats and pigs.  There were even some llamas!  Some of us opted for tractor rides and the Symes girls entertained themselves on the go-karts and in the soft play area, whilst those of us in Bronte headed for the café and its Wifi zone.   We are still trying to work out whether the highlight of the trip was witnessing the birth of twin lambs or cheering on Be-Oink-Ce in the pig race!  Sadly, she was beaten by U-swine-bolt…but that shouldn’t be a surprise!  

 

Friday 26th January - Sunday 28th January 2018

The weekend started with our usual Friday physical activities. We enjoyed the popular Zumba as always!

Saturday there was time for Prep and Sports fixtures before we took a short walk up to Bramley Golf club and enjoyed a lesson on the driving range. On Saturday evening some of the 6th form attended the Father, Daughter dinner and they had a wonderful time. The rest of the boarding community enjoyed a relaxing evening. 

On Sunday morning our church service was led by the Bishop of Guildford which was an interesting change. After an enjoyable brunch we went off to the cinema to enjoy various films such as The Greatest Showman, Jumanji, Coco and Darkest Hour. 

 

Friday 19th January - Sunday 21st January 2018

The boarders weekend began on Friday evening with the girls in Bronte getting dressed up for their Disco.  The other boarders had a variety of sporting activities on offer and could either take a swim, play badminton, choreograph a dance or compete in a small sided team game. 

On Saturday, we really enjoyed the trip to Portsmouth, and we learnt lots of different things about the ship HMS Victory. 
The ship was launched in 1765, she has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission.   She carried 821 boys and men aboard and all the supplies to feed and water them.

Admiral Lord Nelson was killed on this ship during the Battle of Trafalgar.

The place where Nelson fell is marked with a brass plaque on the deck and the place where he died is marked by a lantern and wreath engraved into the wall below deck.

The ship is stored in the world’s oldest war dock and it has 104 cannons on it.
After seeing the ship we had the opportunity to undertake a harbour tour.  Portsmouth harbour is a fully operational Navy base so we could see the many modern navy ships and HMS Elizabeth which is the newest commissioned Air craft carrier to join the Royal Fleet.  

Next we took the short walk to Gun Wharf Quays and were given some time to explore the shops, cafes and restaurants.
On Sunday we undertook a craft activity lead by Mrs Greeno, Leah’s Grandmother.  She is a very experienced textiles artist and we thank her for giving up her Sunday afternoon to guide us through this activity.  We were all very proud of our creations by the end of the session.   

 

Friday 12th January - Sunday 14th January 2018 

The Boarders enjoyed a busy first weekend back this weekend

On Friday night the U6th attended the AS/A2 presentation evening in the auditorium. It was lovely for them to be able to applaud and congratulate each other and the leavers of 2017 on the amazing results from last summer. We also heard some words of wisdom from Peter Martin, our chair of governors, as well as the leavers of 2017 telling us all about their gap years or first year at uni – it was really interesting to hear so many various possibilities that might be available to any of us in the future. 

The rest of the boarders enjoyed Zumba which was an active and fun way to start the weekend.

On Saturday we took a coach to visit the Woking Mosque.; It was absolutely fascinating and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about the history of the mosque but also to be able to observe their prayers and ask questions afterwards gave us more insight into the religion but also the culture that is integral to their faith. On the way back we stopped off in Guildford for some shopping to catch the last of the January sales and then returned back for a relaxing evening.

On Sunday we enjoyed the re-established family service at church and as always Reverend Burrows involved us in an interactive service and we enjoyed some upbeat hymns. 

In the afternoon we visited Winkworth Arboretum. The walk around the arboretum was about an hour and we enjoyed the stunning views as well as a cheeky time out on the adventure equipment – proving we are all still ‘kids at heart’! The afternoon was rounded off with an opportunity to enjoy a snack at the tea shop. We returned to school on Sunday evening for another relaxing evening and the chance to get ourselves ready for another busy week. 
Thanks to all the staff for their help this weekend, especially the new Gaps students who are finding their way around! Also thanks to Jeff for helping to drive the minibus on Sunday afternoon and to Mrs Hobourn for being available to support the weekend staff and the gaps.