Life as a St Catherine's girl

Life at St Catherine’s is about turning uncertainty into confidence, challenge into achievement, and exploration into fulfilment. It’s about learning, designing, creating and innovating, embracing opportunity and building self-belief.

From the classroom to the music room, the library to the science lab, the sports field to the stage, students expand their worlds with a vibrant mix of academic study, sport, music, art, drama and social interaction.

And through this they strengthen their character and their minds, their integrity, courage, relationships and service, learning how to live and grow as part of a community.

That’s life as a St Catherine’s girl.

We embrace the diversity and depth of our community.

Building independence and spirit

Every St Catherine’s student is unique, and we embrace the diversity and depth this brings to our community.

Through stimulating academic programs, sporting and cocurricular activities, we encourage girls to further develop their individual spirit, to build their own senses of independence and boldness and explore their learning and interests more deeply, taking advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.

And around this we help instil a sense of spirituality, a belief that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and that living a life in the service of others is the ultimate reward.

Learning approach

Clear teaching instruction and positive engagement help each girl develop her own learning journey and potential. Academic rigour applied across a broad curriculum, balanced with the appropriate support and tools help her flourish both academically and personally.

As she completes her HSC, we want her to leave us well-educated, well-rounded and well-balanced, ready for further study, and ready to shape our future.

Create and innovate

We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that to help shape it will need a strong grounding in STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Under the STEM Specialist in junior school and the Director of STEM in senior school, we strive to ensure our students have every opportunity to extend themselves with diverse programs and experiences that will prepare them well for life beyond school.

Enriching the journey

We understand that not every girl learns in the same way, so our Learning Enrichment program provides a range of activities aimed at enhancing personal academic development.

Our experienced Learning Enrichment team works right across the school helping to stimulate, extend and inspire learning journeys for those in need of assistance or further extension at an individual level.

Building a life of service

Service is one of our key values and by serving others our students receive a powerful education about the world, the voice they have in it and importantly, the influence they have to shape it.

As one part of a connected world, we think globally and act locally, helping others in many different ways that make a lifelong, positive difference to students’ perspectives and behaviours.

Living at school

Boarding at St Catherine’s is a very special experience – a unique adventure with other like-minded girls that unfolds in many different ways. Boarding has always been part of the St Catherine’s experience, and we maintain our longstanding reputation for providing a strongly supportive home away from home.

Our modern, comfortable boarding house caters to 66 boarders, and its caring staff foster a strong sense of connection and contentment, allowing girls to develop independence, resourcefulness and self-confidence.

Live and learn with a close-knit, supportive group

We're one
happy family.

boarding house
minutes to the beach

Australian and international boarding students live together in a modern, welcoming house located in the most historic part of the school. This collaborative and supportive environment promotes independence, resourcefulness and self-confidence, and we work hard to ensure every student feels connected and content as they pursue their academic studies and wider interests.

Boarding has always been central to school life – and it is also central to everything that Sydney and its surrounds have to offer including arts and entertainment, parklands, village shops and of course world-famous beaches.

This unique blend of learning, location, opportunity and our deep experience makes boarding at St Catherine’s a very special adventure.

The house system

Our longstanding house system is an engaging way of providing support and friendship for students within their year group and across year levels.

Our seven vibrant houses provide a real sense of spirit and community, and provoke friendly rivalries in sporting and other competitions. While each house is distinct in its colour and historical connections, all share the same purpose of encouraging and recognising effort in work, sport and conduct. 

Girls stay with the same house throughout their school life, and as they enter their senior years, they have opportunities to take up leadership roles that help greatly with building skills in motivation, communication and teamwork.

Promoting healthy competition and recognising effort since 1933

A brief history

In 1933, Miss Lenthall (Headmistress 1903 – 1934) introduced a house system, the purpose of which was to promote healthy competition and friendly rivalry among the girls and to encourage and recognise effort in work, sport and conduct. Miss Lenthall and her staff decided on the names of the first three houses: Barker, Bronte and Casterton.

In 1987, Miss Patterson (1955 – 1987) introduced two further houses—Hulme-Moir and Sutherland—to cater for the increase in school numbers.

Forward to 2015: to build on the Academic Care program and provide for smaller mentor groups, our sixth and seventh houses were introduced: Patterson and Phillips respectively.

The reference to males in the Bronte motto attests to the fact St Catherine’s had boys enrolled in the early part of the 20th century.


Named for: Mrs Jane Barker, wife of the 1st Bishop of Sydney.
Motto: ‘We attain by attempt.’
Colours: Green.


Named for: Charlotte Bronte, eldest of the three Bronte sisters.
Motto: ‘He who conquers himself conquers all.’
Colours: Blue and gold.


Named for: Casterton School, English Lake District (where Jane Barker grew up).
Motto: ‘Honour in all things.’
Colours: Red and blue.


Named for: Bishop and Mrs Hulme-Moir.
Motto: ‘Understanding through heart and mind.’
Colours: Purple.


Named for: Miss Faith Patterson, the School’s longest-serving headmistress to date (1955 – 1987).
Motto: ‘Strength and humility.
Colours: Cerise.


Named for: Helen Plummer-Phillips, headmistress from 1884 – 1890. 
Motto: ‘Perseverance and faith.’
Colours: Orange.


Named for: Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE, an Old Girl of St Catherine’s (1934 – 1943). 
Motto: ‘Success through unity and courage.’
Colours: Pale blue.

Open Mornings

Our Open Mornings allow you to experience the magic of life at St Catherine’s for yourself and discover why we’re the right school for your family.

Open Mornings :

  • Wednesday 6 March 2024
  • Thursday 22 August 2024
Applications for senior school are currently closed for 2024 and 2025 – except for boarding and scholarships.

All at St Catherine’s School acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of the lands on which the school sits,
and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.

We extend this respect to the continuation of the cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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