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 Expeditions

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our usual programme of trips and expeditions has been adjusted/reduced to comply with current government guidelines.


First-hand experience is an essential part of developing life-long interests. We therefore provide a range of expeditions both in length and scope which offer opportunities for personal development for all ages, aptitudes and interests. In addition, spending time together also helps to build bonds and friendships.

The Junior Department residential city visit or trip to the Isle of Wight fosters a growing sense of independence and responsibility in the students. Outdoor and adventurous activities such as climbing, kayaking and abseiling, linked with cross-curricular learning opportunities, provide students with a wonderful experience and encourage social development outside the school environment.

Similarly the trip to Kilve Court is one of the most eagerly awaited events in Year 7 and the one which many older students look back on with real fondness. Three days are spent in a variety of outdoors activities including climbing and abseiling, mountain boarding, archery.

With instruction during the day and a range of evening activities, the ski trip for Years 8 and 10 is an action-packed and enjoyable start to the Christmas holidays.

Each year a group of students from Year 11 and Lower 6 also take part in an expedition to eSwatini spending time working on a construction project as well as conservation work and a trek. In 2013-14 the School raised money to sponsor four girls through World Vision so they have the opportunity to complete a full secondary education. Our sponsorship and ongoing expeditions also benefit the communities in which they live.

Subject specific expeditions in Middle School and Sixth Form allow students to gain experience in a particular subject or topic.

Year 9 visit battlefields, memorials and war graves in Belgium and France bringing their study of the First World War alive.

In Year 10 artists work on an environmental project linked to their GCSE coursework in Cornwall. Geographers study river processes and features, investigate river water quality, measure long shore drift at Porlock Bay and study the impact of tourism at Minehead to develop their investigative skills.

Year 11 historians visit some of the key historical sites in and around Berlin relating to the Modern World GCSE course including Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, The Wannsee Villa, Jewish Museum and Stasi prison.

In addition students in Years 9 and 11 take part in a language exchange (to France, Germany, Italy and Spain) designed to enhance their linguistic and cultural knowledge. Students are carefully ‘matched’ to like-minded students in our partner schools and time is spent with their host family, at the partner school and as a group on cultural visits.

In the Sixth Form artists work on projects linked to their course work, visiting the wonderful galleries of Amsterdam and Delft or Paris. Italian students enjoy a week-long linguistic and cultural immersion in advance of their oral and written exams. Historians follow in the footsteps of Napoleon visiting France and Belgium. Upper Sixth biologists go to Dale Fort in Pembrokeshire and Upper Sixth geographers study the impacts of tectonic activity on Iceland, including the the Gulfoss Waterfall and the Geysir environment of boiling mud.

Students have the opportunity to take part in the senior lacrosse tour of the USA, which takes place every three years, playing fixtures against local schools and enjoying cultural visits along the way.

The Music Department go on tour every few years and have been to Paris and given performances in Notre Dame Cathedral and Disneyland and enjoyed cultural visits including to Sacre Coeur.

Students in Year 9 and above can complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This nationally recognised award operates at three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold, each requiring students to complete activities in volunteering, skills, physical recreation and expeditions. At Gold a residential element is also incorporated. Each level of the award requires organisation, commitment and perseverance to ensure completion. Expedition training, practice and assessment is provided in school for Bronze and Silver Awards.

Details of the expeditions open to students can be found in Beyond.