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

Staff stories

Sarah Wilson

Senior Deputy Head at Cranford House School
Former Director of PE and Sport

What attracted you to St Helen’s?
There was a range of things which made St Helen’s a great place for me: the opportunities for progression and promotion, the fact that it’s a high achieving school with a dynamic Headmistress, and the value placed on PE and sport. The students I met on my interview were engaging and motivated, keen to learn and succeed. The staff body was supportive and friendly.

What has been your journey at the School?
I was the Director of PE and Sport and Head of Year for Lower Sixth. In that time I grew in confidence and independence in decision-making, working with senior leadership and understanding effective senior leadership performance.

What kind of professional development opportunities have you had?
Lots! I was encouraged to join the GSA Sports Committee, attend regular professional courses and conferences both for academic subject and pastoral roles, and internal training events.

I believe my experience at St Helen’s directly impacted my appointment to the senior leadership team in my current role. Working as part of a team with motivated, engaged professionals, keen to achieve the best for their students in a positive and supportive environment was both motivating and inspiring. I found a family a St Helen’s, in which it was a privilege and a joy to be involved.

What is it like to work at St Helen’s?
Wonderful: professionally challenging, busy, varied, inspiring and fun! It is a fantastic environment in which to work and grow and the students are simply a joy. The Headmistress who appointed me told me at interview that whatever opportunities we could provide the students would embrace and develop, and she was absolutely right! 

The staff are all such dedicated and effective professionals, and extremely supportive across departments. Teamwork is a high priority for me and my colleagues were consistently warm while professionally challenging, enabling progress and development.


Marton Kozar

Commis Chef at Brasserie Blanc, Oxford
Former Chef

What attracted you to St Helen’s?
I started as an agency worker but wanted a permanent position. Luckily, an opening came up.

What has been your journey at the School?
I started in December 2014 as a kitchen porter and cleaner, then later applied as a chef.

What kind of professional development opportunities have you had?
Twelve months ago I applied for my NVQ 2 in Hospitality and Catering and got my diploma recently. I am now leaving St Helen’s to start work as a commis chef at Brasserie Blanc in Oxford – I wouldn’t have got this job without the qualifications and experience I have gained while working here. I love cooking and now perhaps I can make my dream come true: one day having my own place incorporating Hungarian traditions into restaurant quality food.

What is it like to work at St Helen’s?
I like the pressure of cooking for 1000 people every day and like the fact that we cook from scratch. We cook classic recipes but are given the freedom to put individual creativity into it. Olivier, the Executive Chef gives the headline and then coaches on the outcome.

The team is great, the chefs are brilliant. Everyone knows what they need to do. It’s not like any other school kitchen, you’re not going to open a packet or ready-meal. You can get experience of every part of a professional kitchen, from the different stations to ordering and management if you want. It’s a very professionally supportive environment, collaborative, really hard-working and everyone pulls together.


Sophie Appleby

Teacher of PE and Head of House

What attracted you to St Helen’s?
As soon as I attended my interview it seemed like a perfect fit. I liked that the school didn’t seem like a completely ‘traditional’ private school environment and how the students were so keen to be involved in every opportunity available to them. Among both staff and students there was a friendly atmosphere.

What has been your journey at the School?
St Helen’s is my first teaching job, straight out of completing my PGCE at Exeter University. I was employed as a teacher of PE with a netball specialism in September 2017. Now in my second year, I am continuing in this role and am now also one of four Heads of House.

What kind of professional development opportunities have you had?
Starting my career at St Helen’s is one of the best things that could have happened to me. I feel my managers are just as invested in my ambitions and goals as I am. I have been very lucky to have been on all the training and courses I wanted, these have been incredibly valuable in developing my practice as a recently qualified teacher. I have completed athletics and trampolining level 1 and netball level 2, GCSE and A Level (A&P) theory courses, and attended the Festival of Education. Now the additional role of Head of House is challenging me in new ways.

What is it like to work at St Helen’s?
I have had a very positive time at St Helen’s. I enjoy working with the students in the excellent environment and facilities we are so fortunate to have, and working alongside my colleagues in the PE Department, all of whom I admire greatly.


Graeme Smith

Head of Chemistry and Science Coordinator

What attracted you to St Helen’s?
I was initially attracted to St Helen’s by the opportunity to lead the Chemistry Department and oversee the three sciences. When I visited I was struck by the excellence of not only the science facilities but also by the buzz and positive atmosphere of the school. I am also passionate about girls’ education in science and felt I could make a contribution to this at St Helen’s.

What has been your journey at the School?
I started as the Head of Chemistry and Coordinator of Science at St Helen’s in September 2017. Prior to this, I was an assistant housemaster at Charterhouse where I taught biology and chemistry and coached rowing and ran Scottish dancing. My first teaching role was at The Perse in Cambridge where I taught for three years and where I began my teaching of outdoor pursuits.

What is it like to work at St Helen’s?
I have hugely enjoyed having the opportunity to lead and direct the Chemistry Department and working with such talented colleagues. Working here has challenged my thinking; it is a school which allows the freedom and opportunity to further develop your classroom practice. Professional development is actively encouraged and I have had the opportunity to host in-house training, attend the Festival of Education as well as support my department colleagues in their own career paths.


Rachel Pearmain

Assistant Head of Music at The Manor Preparatory School
Former Teacher of Drama

What attracted you to St Helen’s?
As a former pupil of St Helen’s, I liked the school and knew it well. When the opportunity arose for me to work there as a member of staff, I jumped at the chance to work in a thriving and busy department.

What has been your journey at the School?
I started working at St Helen and St Katharine in 2011 as a Drama Assistant before being offered a position as an unqualified teacher. After a year of teaching, I began studying for my PGCE with the University of Buckingham and mentors from St Helen’s. I completed this in two years and then the following year passed my NQT year with the help of the school.

What kind of professional development opportunities have you had?
I am now working at The Manor Preparatory School as Assistant Head of Music and St Helen’s had a huge part in helping me. The Headmistress encouraged me to study for a PGCE alongside my teaching and the Head of Drama and Director of Staff were brilliant mentors throughout the whole process. I also directed several productions and went on drama training courses. I grew in confidence both personally and professionally and regular observations of my classes were invaluable in helping me to improve and refine my teaching.

What is it like to work at St Helen’s?
I found working at St Helen’s extremely rewarding and enjoyable. The students were always willing to learn and exciting to teach, both within the curriculum and in extracurricular activities. Their ability to come up with creative and original ideas meant that no two groups were the same and this enhanced my teaching and creative skills every lesson.

Working at St Helen's