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

Higher education

School life is full of transitions between key stages of academic and personal development, each step forward allowing students to flourish having made confident, informed and well-supported decisions. Our responsibility is to ensure that students leave school with the knowledge, skills and resilience to thrive in society as successful young adults.



The majority of our students do go on to university, either directly from School or after a gap year. We realise that helping your daughter through the important step of applying to university is probably one of the most significant milestones in her educational journey. The choices she makes have to be entirely her own but the support of home and school is vital.

The members of staff in the higher education team are experts in guiding students through the university application process, from choosing the right A-levels, deciding what to study and where, preparing you for university interviews and admissions tests, completing your UCAS form and writing an excellent personal statement. The support doesn’t stop at the end of Upper Sixth: we also provide support once you arrive at university, introducing you to Old Girls in their second or third year at your university. 

St Helen and St Katharine has a designated higher education and careers library, fully stocked with comprehensive and up-to-date information on careers, higher education and degree apprenticeship opportunities. This is available for students to use throughout the day during break and lunch times, study periods and after school. The careers team are available every day for students to drop in for advice and guidance.

The higher education programme begins in Year 11 with an evening event which helps students with their A-level choices from a higher education perspective. In Lower Sixth, the programme starts with critical thinking and theory of knowledge lessons as part of the General Studies programme, encouraging intellectual discussion and debate. In January of Lower Sixth, we hold our annual Introduction to higher education evening, which formally begins the higher education process. Students are introduced to university degree subject specialists, who will support them throughout their UCAS application. They are also given access to Unifrog, a specialist higher education platform, alongside Morrisby profiling, to help them to identify courses and universities that are right for them. In June, we hold a Focus on Futures event, where students have two days of timetable where they learn how to write a personal statement and also experience university subject taster lessons. All students have one-to-one meetings with their tutor alongside group tutor activities to help them along their journey, as well as a wide range of events and activities including talks and practice interviews.

Supporting the delivery of the higher education programme are teachers, tutors, universities, parents and our Old Girls.  If you are interested in volunteering some of your time, experience and expertise to support an event or activity, please get in touch with Heather Doherty, Head of Sixth Form and Higher Education.


Higher education programme

The higher education team provides a full programme of information, advice and guidance to support each student in their choices and to help them to make an informed decision for their future education and career. The work within the Careers and higher education departments reflects a whole school ethos and mission to inspire and champion excellence for all of the students in the career path they choose. Central to the work is developing awareness of emerging and differing opportunities and career paths, alongside traditional routes, to maximise each student’s individual strengths, talents and potential.

In Year 11:

  • A Level Options Open Evening
  • Tutor support
  • One-to-one interviews with a member of the Senior Management Team
  • One-to-one careers interview
  • Choosing Your A Levels: The Higher Education Perspective event

In Lower Sixth:

  • Critical Thinking and Theory of Knowledge in General Studies
  • Introduction to Higher Education evening
  • Parent and student guides to higher education
  • Access to subject specialists for all university degrees
  • Focus on Futures: an introduction to the university application process, including UCAS, choosing a degree course and university, and attending open days.
  • Higher education fair and USA University Applications event held at Abingdon School
  • Gap Year fair held at St Helen and St Katharine
  • Morrisby profiling to help identify career, degree subject and university compatibility

In Upper Sixth:

  • Continued advice and support on making a university application through UCAS
  • University admissions test support
  • Mock interviews
  • Support with choosing firm and insurance universities

Who is involved?

Heather Darcy is Head of Sixth Form and Higher Education

Juliette Kopec is the Sixth Form Administrator.

Designated subject specialists also advise students about higher education in particular subject areas. There are specialists for a range of subject areas, such as medicine, vet medicine, dentistry and law. Students are also given help with preparation for the various admissions tests for university entrance. Tutors also guide the students through the UCAS process.