St Helen and St Katharine Opens Brand New Sixth Form Centre

Abingdon – 23 January 2023:

Independent day school for girls, St Helen and St Katharine, has this week opened the doors to its brand new Sixth Form Centre, the Benedict Building. Based in Abingdon, St Helen’s is a popular senior school choice for students from across Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley, with a convenient bus service ensuring easy transport for families from the area.

The Benedict Building is a physical articulation of the School’s vision for Sixth Form – to create an environment for our students that will spark their intellectual spirit and imagination – and will provide students with the space and opportunity to grow their academic and extracurricular interests in readiness for the future.

Named after former Headmistress Sister Jean Benedict (1962–67), the Benedict Building echoes and anticipates the very best higher education institutions, smoothing the transition from school to university.

It features nine spacious classrooms, a range of individual and group study spaces, a higher education library, a flexible lecture and performance hall, a café and a large common room.

Headmistress Rebecca Dougall said: “The design of the building is all about creating spaces that respond to how students work and how they relax. It deliberately anticipates the design ethos of higher education. Above all, we wanted to create a space that presents new opportunities for young women to be inspired and excel.

I am confident that we have achieved this goal and look forward to seeing all that the Benedict Building will bring to life at St Helen’s. It has been a real pleasure to work with TSH Architects and Benfield and Loxley to deliver this project.”

Project Architect Hannah Deacon, of TSH Architects, added: “It has been a privilege to deliver this project from concept design to the finished article. The staff of St Helen’s are very passionate about providing a state-of-the art facility for their sixth form students; featuring contemporary and diverse spaces for learning.

We have been working throughout the design stages to ensure that the project was of the highest quality to meet the School’s ambitions. The architectural vision for the building was driven by creating an additional quad that fits well with the current school campus and responds positively to the heritage of the existing school buildings.”

St Helen and St Katharine’s Chair of Governors, Kevan Leggett, commented: “This is one of the most ambitious projects the School has ever undertaken and, on behalf of the Governors, I’m delighted that this beautiful new building – the Benedict Building – is now a reality. We look forward to seeing students enjoy all the opportunities this space will bring for many years to come.”

Students from other schools in the local community will also benefit from this new exciting space. St Helen’s collaborates closely with Abingdon School, offering a number of jointly taught A level subjects and a growing range of extracurricular opportunities. In addition, students from across the OX14 Learning Partnership, will also be regular visitors as they take part in shared activities.

St Helen and St Katharine will be hosting its next Sixth Form open event on Thursday 27 April. Prospective students and their parents will have the opportunity to tour the new facilities, as well as exploring the myriad of A level study options and extracurricular opportunities available, and hearing from staff and students about life at St Helen’s Sixth Form.

To find out more about St Helen and St Katharine’s thriving community, academic success and array of opportunities available to students, visit