Reception: 01235 520173

Admissions: 01235 530593

Executive Assistant to the Headmistress: 01235 546502

Bursary: 01235 520657

Joint Bus Service: 01235 546565

St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

How to find us

Lower School curriculum

In Lower School at St Helen's, we aim to provide a curriculum that is as broad and balanced as possible. In addition to the core subjects of English, mathematics, the sciences, history, geography and religion, philosophy and ethics, every girl studies Latin and Spanish. A second modern language – French, German or Mandarin, is added in Year 8.

The week is divided into forty periods, each of 35 or 40 minutes duration.

Creative and practical subjects are a valued part of the curriculum throughout Years 7 and 8, and every girl has access to art, ceramics, DT, drama, home economics, music, physical education and computer science.

In Year 7 students have one lesson of learning skills each week and both Year 7 and 8 have a period of Personal Development (PD), which is delivered by their form tutor.

Most lessons in Year 7 are taught in tutor groups to enable students to settle in by working together. Mathematics and Spanish are taught in different, smaller sets to enable every student to work at a pace best suited to them. Biology, chemistry and physics are taught separately in subject specific laboratories, by one member of the science department teaching staff.

In Year 8, the three sciences are taught by individual subject specialists in each of physics, chemistry and biology, as a rotation of three modules. Mathematics and Spanish are taught in different, smaller sets to enable every student to work at a pace best suited to them. Music, computer science, art, DT, ceramics, food and nutrition and drama are also taught in rotation to provide a balanced and varied curriculum.

Students are given the opportunity to work as individuals and in groups. They learn to use the library and internet facilities to undertake research. In lessons they are encouraged to respond and question as well as develop their creativity in a variety of ways.

We believe that homework provides an opportunity to prepare, consolidate and extend work covered in lesson time. Students are encouraged to manage their time well and the amount of homework set is monitored carefully so that it is appropriate to the age group.

Art Biology Chemistry
Classics Computer science Drama
Design technology English Food and nutrition
French Geography German
History Learning skills Mandarin
Mathematics Music Personal Development
Physics Physical Education Religion, philosophy and ethics