Modern Foreign Languages

We are very proud of our vibrant department, which offers French, German and Spanish from Upper Three to A2 level, with many students opting to study two languages.  There is also the opportunity to study Italian ab initio in the Sixth Form to GCSE and AS level.

Girls in U3 study two lessons of French, German and Spanish for the year to give them a real feel for each language. They can then choose any two languages in L4 or they may have the opportunity to continue with all three languages.

At Sixth form level, there is a trip to Paris and the opportunity to organise work experience abroad or an exchange.  Having completed their A2, many girls go on to study languages at university with a view to using them in their future careers, either at home or abroad.

Beyond the curriculum, we offer plays in the foreign languages, theatre and cinema trips, cooking experiences and native speaking assistants.

For those who are interested in pursuing other languages, there is the opportunity to join Mandarin club.  For bilingual students, we are able to organise examinations in their mother tongue. 

Modern Foreign Languages Department Staff
  • Mrs S Berry, BA (Hons) Canterbury, PGCE (French & German)
    email: simone.berry@stcatherines.info
    Studied French, German and European Studies at the University of Kent. Studying languages was a good excuse to travel and work overseas and many vacations were spent working in the Alps. On graduating from university, she was delighted to be offered a full-time job as an Overseas Contracts Manager for a major tour operator. After eight years of negotiating contracts and managing overseas staff she decided to return to England and start a new career as a Modern Language teacher. Her first job was at Rodborough School in Godalming which necessitated a move out of London to Surrey. She then moved on to be second in the French Department at Tomlinscote School and then Head of French at the Howard of Effingham School before coming to St Catherine’s.
  • Mrs L Dibsdall, MA (Hons) St. Andrews, PGCE (Spanish & French)
    email:
    lucy.dibsdall@stcatherines.info
    Joined St.Catherine’s in 2007 after completing her PGCE at Cambridge. Prior to teaching Lucy worked at a global advertising agency for four years. She teaches French and Spanish. Aside from teaching she loves sport and travel.
  • Mrs K Hawtin - Spanish, BA Durham, PGCE (Spanish & Italian). Head of Sixth Form
    email:
    kate.hawtin@stcatherines.info
    Joined St Catherine’s in 2006 after a degree in Spanish and Italian at Durham, during which she lived in Madrid and Bologna. She worked for a translation firm in London before deciding to go into teaching and completing a PGCE at Southampton. Aside from European Languages, her other interests include travel, baking and being by the sea.
  • Mrs R McQuade, BA  Oviedo, PGCE (Spanish)
    email:
    rosa.mcquade@stcatherines.info
    Completed her PGCE at Oviedo University in 1988. She decided to come to England for a term to learn English, after learning French and Italian at university. She worked in several schools in Bristol and Basingstoke until she joined St Catherine’s in 1995. During her time at St Catherine’s, she has been a residential tutor, L6 Boarding Housemistress and Head of Spanish. From day one, she was part of Merriman House. In 2002, she became Merriman Housemistress. She loves reading, going to the theatre, walking by the sea and travel.
  • Ms Anna Mester BSc, MSc Ghent, PCGE (German and Spanish)
    email: anna.mester@stcatherines.info
    Joined St.Catherine’s in 2016 after completing her PGCE at the University of Bristol. Prior to moving to the UK, she completed a Master in Theoretical and Experimental Psychology and taught German and English in Spain and in China. She teaches German and Spanish. Aside from teaching she loves learning new languages and travelling.
  • Mr N Morgan BA M Phil PGCE (French and German)
    email:
    nicholas.morgan@stcatherines.info
    After graduating with a BA (Hons) Degree in French and German from The University of Manchester, Nicholas Morgan was awarded an MPhil in European Literature and Culture at King’s College, Cambridge, specialising in German philosophy and 18th century literature. He subsequently completed a PGCE in Modern Languages at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and now teaches both French and German. His love of languages was in part fuelled by a gap year in a German boarding school as well as work and research in Paris, where he embraced fully the cultural opportunities that the city afforded. Particular academic interests include The Enlightenment, German Romanticism and French theatre.
  • Dr E Nevin, - Head of German, BA Oxon, GTP (French & German)
    email:
    elodie.nevin@stcatherines.info
    Dr  Nevin trained as a teacher at St Catherine’s, having working in the city for a couple years following her undergraduate degree. She is passionate about the value of language and literature, achieving her PhD in gender identity in fiction by German women in the nineteenth century.
  • Mrs L Strong - Head of French, BA Bristol, PGCE (French & Italian)
    email:
    lucy.strong@stcatherines.info
    Has taught at St Catherine’s since 2002, having previously taught at Queen’s College, London. She very much enjoys teaching French and Italian as she is able to continue her love of language learning. She first fell in love with French whilst a pupil here at St Catherine’s and then was inspired to learn Italian during her gap year in Florence, where she found the art and architecture of the city to be breath taking. This interest in European art has continued, as has her passion for 19th Century French literature, including Balzac, Zola and Flaubert.
  • Mrs Montse Gil Rivas - BA, MA Surrey, PGDip, PGCE (Spanish and French) 
    email: montse.gilrivas@stcatherines.info
    Studied Spanish and French at the University of Southampton and completed a PGCE at King’s College, London University.  Subsequently, taught in several schools including Godolphin and Latymer, London and St Alban’s High School, both as Head of Spanish and others including The Abbey School, Reading.  Retrained as a clinical negligence lawyer and worked for several years in a well-known national firm, but missed teaching languages so returned to teaching!  Enjoys travel to see Spanish family in the South of Spain and spending time with her family.