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

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New Sixth Form Centre -
opening in 2022

A beautiful new building with state-of-the-art learning and social spaces, and a taste of university

About St Helen's Sixth Form     Sixth Form open events

Our brand new Sixth Form Centre is scheduled to open in Michaelmas term 2022. It is a physical articulation of our values and vision for Sixth Form, providing students with the space and opportunity to grow their academic and extracurricular interests in readiness for their future. The space echoes and anticipates the very best higher education institutions, smoothing the transition from school to university. 

Latest news

June 2022

SHSK Sounds podcast

Head of Sixth Form Heather Darcy talks about the new Sixth Form Centre due to open later this year, the purpose and function of the new spaces, and gives us a glimpse into what it will look like inside once completed Listen to the podcast on the school website or on Spotify, Amazon Podcasts or Podbean.

Stepping inside...

The project is now at a stage where internal construction is being finalised ready for plastering and electrical installation. This week we were excited to be able to step inside the building with a camera and take a look around - watch the video:


May 2022

Taking shape

The building is really starting to take shape as work continues for completion later this year. Masonry is ongoing both internally and externally. Pre-cast stone is being installed in the centre’s facade, while internal work continues with mechanical and electrical first fix.

To keep our Sixth Form students toasty and warm during the wintry months, floor insulation and underfloor heating has commenced on both floors and screed has been laid on the first floor. Meanwhile, the roof timber structure has finally finished ready for work on the roof covering to continue.

Final furniture choices have now been confirmed with the help of our Year 11 Student Design Team, and colours for flooring and walls have been selected too.  


March 2022

Shopping trip for furniture

Last month, our Year 11 Student Design Team joined Head of Sixth Form and Higher Education, Mrs Darcy, on a trip to Farringdon to visit showrooms to select furniture and fittings in anticipation of the School's new Sixth Form Centre. Bella, Evie, Hawwah, Hettie and Scarlett (Year 11) share what they discovered on their trip to London:

Read the story



Watch our recent time-lapse of work completed between October 2021 - March 2022:


February 2022

Building work progresses

On schedule for completion in Michaelmas term 2022, we’re looking forward to seeing students and staff enjoying our brand new Sixth Form Centre. The building’s groundwork has been successfully completed, with concrete frameworks up to the second floor and damp proofing progressing well. This month, masonry work has commenced and will remain the main focus for teams over the coming weeks in preparation of roof and steel work which will go ahead in March.


December 2021

The foundations are complete

It has been a very positive few months on our construction site and the weather has, thus far, been kind to the project programme. The foundations and the ground floor slab are complete. The first-floor columns and floor are progressing well, and the outline of the main staircase can be seen. The shape of the building emerges more strongly, and we are really pleased that we seem to have avoided the supply issues that have caused problems for some building projects. Running in parallel with the construction process are planning meetings about the building’s infrastructure and the even more enticing subject of colour schemes and furniture, and students have been invited to share their thoughts about the interior look of the building.


Experience a fly-through of the new building:


The new facilities

The new building will provide nine classrooms, a lecture/performance space, offices relating to Sixth Form life and higher education, a café, study areas and general social/work space. The guiding design principle has been to create a building which anticipates the feel of a university and we have also incorporated feedback from students, a process which will be ongoing as we turn our attention to furniture and other fittings.

The new facility will be a very significant enhancement of the space dedicated to the Sixth Form and will allow us to accommodate students much more comfortably and appropriately. It will have the benefit of enabling us to develop the work we do with Abingdon School and it also allows us to look again at the existing Sixth Form Centre and consider how that might be re-purposed in the future as part of this next decade’s estate plan.

A consequence of the new building’s location means that there will be limited disruption to current students’ experience during its construction and the existing Sixth Form Centre will remain in use until such time as the new building is ready to open. No teaching spaces will be compromised during this development.


The building process

We are working with TSH Architects who have been responsible for a number of striking new developments for schools in the area. There are many steps to go through during a project such as this. Obviously things can change, although the team at St Helen and St Katharine has a fine track record in bringing complex projects together. 

We are also excited about the landscaping plan which will deliver a new quad, bounded on three sides by the new Sixth Form Centre and the Library and which also creates a private Sixth Form garden at the rear of the building. The project landscape architect, Adams Habermehl, will also work on a number of other areas across the site including; the main entrance and staff car park, the route into school between the sports and science buildings and the main quad in the centre of the School.

The architects have been mindful of environmental impact in designing this building and it will feature an air source heat pump (ASHP) thereby avoiding additional use of fossil fuels (gas).


Architectural rendering