Boarding Houses  |  Bronte  |  Symes  |  Keller  |  6th Form

Symes: a discrete community for our Upper 4 girls

In our experience, Year 9 is often the year of greatest physical and emotional change for our girls, when the challenges of adolescence combine with an intensifying academic curriculum.  For this significant year of transition we reserve Symes, a modern and spacious buidling, exclusively for Upper 4.  As Symes is situated away from the main school block it gives the feeling of going home at the end of the day.

Symes has its own well-equipped common room and kitchen.  Girls are given the opportunity to begin spending prep. time in their rooms during the course of the year as part of their development towards independent learning.

The Symes girls work together to create a vibrant, positive and friendly community; they are always on the go, and they enjoy optional evening activities in addition to the full range of School Clubs. Activities include Swim Sessions, X-Factor, quiz nights and Popcorn Marathons in the common room and baking in the house kitchen.  A new introduction to the evening routine in Symes is reading time, which is much appreciated by the girls.

The girls’ dormitories are light and airy and come to life at the beginning of each term with their display of posters ranging from One Direction to Daniel Craig!

Meet the Housemistress: Mrs Helen Harkness

Mrs Helen Harkness is the Symes Housemistress and her flat is situated in the heart of the boarding house, which is ideal for the girls to easily stop by if they have questions or just fancy a chat. 

Before joining St Catherine's, she was Head of Senior Girls at Wykeham House School, a small independent GSA school in Hampshire. She holds a Bachelor of Education Degree specialising in PE and Dance.  She will be teaching as part of the PE department helping to develop dance within curriculum time.

Mrs Harkness shares her flat with her cocker spaniel 'Reg' and Symes boarders are welcome to walk him around the grounds if they wish.  As well as being a keen sports woman, Mrs Harkness has a background in musical theatre, to date she has performed in over 50 musical productions. She enjoys visiting the theatre to watch plays, musicals and dance works.  She is also a keen skier and snowboarder and loves spending holiday time in the mountains.