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

Spotlight on Art

In art we are keen to inspire students and develop their interests in the visual arts. We encourage our students to think freely and independently emphasising that personal ideas are core to creative development, at the beginning of a project, anything is possible. Displays of technology, art and ceramics work around school demonstrate the achievements and showcase the excellence of the range of work undertaken by students from all years from Year 5–Upper Sixth.

Trips and visits

Regular visits to national and international museums and art galleries contribute to students’ learning experiences and extend their understanding and knowledge through engaging with artwork at first hand. Southampton City Art Gallery, the Bodleian Print Room at the University of Oxford, Kew Gardens, The Victoria and Albert Museum have been exciting starting points for students to initiate projects and artworks across all year groups. Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France, was the destination for a joint art and French sixth form trip in October. Students visited Matisse’s Chapelle Rosaire in Vence, the Fondation Maeght, Musee Granet, Atelier Cezanne and Fonndation Vaserly in Aix where they were able to work from the collections and gather visual information to use back in the studio.


Workshops led by professional practitioners enable students from Year 9–Upper Sixth to have a different art and design experience in and outside the classroom. Of particular note was a recent visit to Oxford Brookes University, School of Urban planning and Architecture by Year 9 and Year 10 DT students where they saw work by Brookes’ students who were putting up their end of year shows. In the design studios, St Helen’s students took part in a workshop led by Dr Laura Novo de Azendo (Senior Lecturer and Course Leader) on a design exercise giving them an introduction into career opportunities in this field. Earlier this year, GCSE art students started their second unit of work in an exciting workshop in which they were able to explore materials led by Kate Boucher, an experienced teacher and textile artist. Milliner Immy Howard came into school to work with Year 10 students on a headwear project and the work is now on show in the Science Atrium.

All these activities enable us to make a difference within and outside of the taught curriculum. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively across arts subjects and they benefit from sharing their ideas and the mutual support and benefit they give each other through vertical and peer learning opportunities.

Art scholars are ambassadors for their subject in and outside of the classroom and they are encouraged to extend their skills and understanding independently as well as in collaboration with others. Every term we invite art scholars to two specialist clubs. This year scholars have been working towards the Bronze ArtsAward and they have taken part in clubs led by department staff in Raku (a low fired ceramic technique) and typography.


A wide range of art and design extracurricular events and activities are offered to students. The Big Draw (a national initative) takes place in school during Michaelmas term as a whole school lunchtime event. It is open to everyone and is a way of showing the diversity of methods in art and design through play and non-traditional techniques, from sand animation to mechanical doodling machines. We encourage staff as well as students to take part!

Every January we hold a creative half-day off-curriculum afternoon for all Year 9. This gives students the opportunity of taking part in creative workshops with invited external artists, designers and makers in areas that are not part of the Middle School taught curriculum such as photography, fashion and jewellery. Professional artists, designers and makers lead the workshops and each year there is a different theme - last year, maps.

Please explore the latest Beyond planner to discover what artistic pursuits you could enjoy this term.