As a leading girls' school in Australia, St Catherine's is committed to nurturing and empowering independent and globally responsive young women, enabling them to approach all their endeavors with confidence, wisdom, and integrity. We warmly welcome you to St Catherine's School.
At the heart of our engaged, dynamic, and inclusive community, St Catherine's School nurtures young women to be bold and creative, independent and resilient, and intellectually and spiritually prepared to contribute to a greater good and an enriching life both within and beyond school.
Established in 1896, our reputation as a leader in girls' education has been based on our readiness to embrace innovation for over a century. Our goals are in keeping with our founders' original aim to prepare students for life through education and empower girls to take ownership of their learning through active participation and engagement in School academic and co-curricular programs.
St Catherine's School accepts girls from Prep to Year 12 and is centrally located in Toorak, Melbourne, Australia. We also welcome three and four-year-old girls and boys into our Early Learning Centre.
As a non-denominational Christian school with boarding for rural and international girls, our community of students, staff, families, and past students is actively involved in the school's life.
To know and value each of our students, St Catherine's maintains small year levels and class numbers. Our size, along with our one campus advantage, ensures all our students – from our youngest in Early Learning Centre to our VCE students – learn in one central and encouraging community.
We enjoy a reputation for academic excellence, a supportive community, an outstanding co-curricular program, exceptional teachers, adequate facilities, and established alumnae networks. Yet, we believe our most significant achievement is the quality of character that St Catherine's exhibit students.
When your daughter joins St Catherine's, she will tread the same floorboards as generations of remarkable women before her. Like them, she will discover her path to a meaningful career and a full and relevant life.
St Catherine's School adheres to the Democratic Principles as required by the VRQA for School Registration. Together with all Australian citizens, the school has the freedom to pursue our religious beliefs and follow a religious view that is founded upon those beliefs. We commit to the fundamental freedoms of speech and association for all Australians so long as those freedoms are not used to subvert the rule of law.
We acknowledge our elected Governments, departments, and officers' right to require certain conditions relating to the programs and teaching practices in our school.
We acknowledge that all persons are entitled to be treated equally before the law. As far as it is within our capacity to do so, we endeavor to treat all community members with equity and fairness.
We are committed to living in peace with our fellow Australians irrespective of differences in faith, race, or culture. We are committed to the social value of respect for all persons. St Catherine's is open to all families who seek an education based on Christian principles and standards.
St Catherine's School was founded in 1896 when teacher Miss Jeanie Hood opened a school in Templeton Street, Castlemaine, which she named Castlemaine Ladies' College.
At the instigation of Henry Langley, the first Anglican Bishop of Bendigo, his daughters Ruth, Aphra, and Nona took over the school in 1903. The Langley sisters later changed the school's name to St Catherine's Girls' College, Castlemaine, after the Anglican School at Waverley in Sydney, which Ruth and Nona had attended.
In 1920, the College moved to Williams Road, Windsor, with 48 students enrolled. Soon after, purchased 'Kilbride House' (formerly known as Beaulieu) at 17 Heyington Place Toorak, the school is located today. The building was renamed Sherren House to recognize Mrs. Ruby Lawrence (nee Sherren), Matron, from 1923 to 1946.
In 1948, Barbreck, at 33 Heyington Place, was acquired for use as a Junior School, making possible further extensions to the Secondary School. Student numbers increased to 400. Soon after, Miss Mary Davis was appointed as Principal and Headmistress until 1971.
Based on educational research and our experience, we know single-sex education offers girls the most excellent chance to ignore stereotypes, develop healthy self-worth, and grow in confidence.
Studies have concluded that all-girls' schools were more frequently associated with higher career aspirations, improved test scores, and better learning climates for students. In a co-education classroom, boys take up more than two-thirds of a teacher's time. We make no apologies for giving girls our undivided attention.
Our learning environment is tailored to their needs and interests, and surroundings by other girls; they show fewer inhibitions and take more positive risks.
In an all-girls school, girls take on leadership roles and are surrounded by strong female role models. Young women graduate from a girls' school ready to take their place in the world as a person of equal intellectual stature and knowing they are capable of leading.
Our highly qualified and professional educators create a vibrant learning environment that offers every child the best possible start to their schooling years. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, the rich educational environment at St Catherine's encourages children to wonder, imagine, explore, investigate, create, and belong. Enjoying the play-based activities crafted and interwoven through each day enables every child to flourish and love learning.
St Catherine's is a vibrant, close-knit community where students, teachers, and parents share in the process of learning. Our relatively small size has many advantages for students, notably how each girl is recognized and valued based on individual skills and interests. Our pathways from Early Learning to Junior School then on to Senior School ensure a successful transition to the senior years of education.
Early Learning Centre: The educational environment at St Catherine's encourages children to wonder, to imagine, to explore, to investigate, to create, and to belong. Enjoying the play-based experiences interwoven through each day enables your child to flourish and develop a love of learning.
Junior School – Barbreck – Purposefully small, our average class size of 17 students enables every girl to receive engaging learning experiences and personalized learning plans. In Barbreck, we ensure a daily commitment to prioritizing academic time to develop literacy and numeracy skills through a model of explicit instruction. The promotion of creativity, self-expression, and self-awareness is also a vital feature of a Barbreck education.
Senior School: Our comprehensive Senior School curriculum encourages collaborative and individual learning. Our students are taught to develop negotiation, problem-solving, communication, presentation, planning, and researching skills. They are encouraged to safely explore their learning in an environment that fosters participation, leadership, and engagement.