St. Catherine's British Embassy School

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For other schools of the same name, see St Catherine's School (disambiguation).
St Catherine's British Embassy School
St. Catherine's British Embassy School Logo.gif
Type Private school
Established 1956
Head of School Stuart Smith
Enrollment 1350 total

St Catherine's British School is an international school, in Athens, Greece. Founded in 1956, the school now teaches over 900 children and young adults from all over the world and is staffed by more than 100 teachers and associated personnel. St Catherine's follows the National Curriculum (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and lessons are taught primarily in the English language.


Originally, St Catherine's was a small primary school held at the British Ambassador's house. It catered mainly to the children of British citizens and employees of the British Embassy. In the 1960s, the school moved to a large complex of buildings in Lykovrisi, which is located in northern Athens near the suburb of Kifissia. In 2000, it developed an Upper School and expanded its grounds to include more buildings and sports facilities. Over the past 10 years, the school has expanded considerably and now has more than 1000 pupils from 54 different nationalities, including many native Greeks.


St Catherine's is a not-for-profit organisation registered in the United Kingdom. As a charity, the school does not have any owners and is instead administered by the British, Canadian and Australian ambassadors to Greece who act as ex officio trustees. The trustees appoint a Board of Governors, which in turn selects the school's Head. The administration of the school is also assisted by the PTSA, which consists of parents of the students. The school allows its students to elect a tricameral student council consisting of the Upper School Council, the Lower School Council and the Senate, with representatives chosen by a first-past-the-post electoral system.


In addition to teaching the National Curriculum for England and Wales, the school also offers courses leading to IGCSE and the diploma of the International Baccalaureate. At the ages of 7, 11 and 14 pupils undertake externally set and marked tests (obtaining papers and marking services through DCSF/ISN no: 1250043). The annual test results are published to parents and the international community in the prescribed manner. The school’s test results greatly out-perform national test averages for schools in England and Wales. Similarly, IGCSE results are in the upper range for independent schools in the UK. The average A*-C pass is 9 subjects per pupil. This year the school’s sixth cohort of I.B. students will have graduated into university. In 2008 the school was proud that its pupils once again achieved a 100% diploma pass rate, with 86% of students entering their first choice university and 14% entering their second choice. The school teaches five modern languages.

Arts, sciences and sports flourish at the school. There is a flourishing extra-curricular programme on offer mainly, although not exclusively, aimed at pupils from the mid-primary phase and above. The school participates in sports matches with other schools in Greece and abroad. Debating, oration and drama competitions at both national and international level, take place throughout the year. Drama, dance and music opportunities are on offer to all. Pupils can learn virtually any musical instrument of their choosing and can study for graded music examinations. The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts examinations in speech and drama are also open to pupils of the school. A strong feature of the school is its International Award / Duke of Edinburgh scheme. This links most appropriately to the CAS element of the I.B. diploma. Overseas trips are a regular part of school life, as is the exploration and discovery of the history and geography of Greece. Inter-house activities and the elected School Council ensure pupil involvement in the commitment and delivery of school improvement at all levels.

At St Catherine’s the curriculum taught is the National Curriculum for England and Wales, with additions that take into account the school’s unique circumstances. The school is divided into six departments, in line with legal requirements for England and Wales. These departments are:

•Foundation Stage – Nursery and Reception (ages 3 – 5 years) •Key Stage One - Years 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 7 years) •Key Stage Two – Years 3 – 6 (ages 7 – 11 years) •Key Stage Three – Years 7 – 9 (ages 11 – 14 years) •Key Stage Four – Years 10 and 11 (ages 14 – 16 years) •International Baccalaureate – Years 12 and 13 (ages 16 – 18 years) As per the National Curriculum, the following subjects are taught to all children over the age of five - English, mathematics, science, design and technology, information and communication technology, geography, history, art, music and physical education. The syllabi used are those published by the QCA. A modern language is an option for pupils from Year Two (Greek/French). Subject specialists are used throughout the school. Although some setting may take place within classes, all contain children of mixed ability. Work is differentiated and children who require extra help to enable them to progress are supported within their own classroom or withdrawn for individual attention. St. Catherine’s takes every opportunity to benefit from the rich heritage of Greece and every class looks at a different aspect of Greek history or culture, usually supported by educational visits. Specialist E.A.L. help is available for children needing to accelerate their proficiency in the English language.


The school boasts the use of the latest in educational technology. St Catherines was one of the first schools in Greece to introduce interactive whiteboard technology and there is now a SmartBoard in each classroom.

Exam results[edit]

International Baccalaureate (I.B.)

  • Average I.B. Diploma total: 37.5 points (IBO World 2008, 29.6 points)
  • Percentage of pupils achieving full Diploma: 100% (IBO World 2008, 79%)
  • Percentage of pupils gaining 1st choice university place: 94%
  • Percentage of pupils gaining 2nd choice university place: 3%

The IB candidates have this year[which?] successfully secured places at the following universities and colleges:

  • Cambridge University
  • Imperial College London
  • Bath University
  • Bristol University
  • Camberwell Univ. of the Arts London Chelsea
  • Univ. of the Arts London
  • Colgate University Durham University
  • University of East Anglia
  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • Emory University
  • Essex University
  • Eugene Lang College
  • Gateshead College
  • George Washington University
  • Glasgow Medical School
  • Goldsmiths College
  • London Brighton University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Kent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Syracuse University
  • University College London
  • Vienna Technological University
  • Warwick University
  • York University
  • Architectural Association School of Architecture (London)


Among the many classrooms are housed specialised music and drama rooms, a hall for volleyball and basketball which also features an expandable stage for annual plays and examinations in Theatre Studies. Other sporting facilities include a pool, 6 football pitches (three big and three five-a-side), another two basketball courts, a volleyball court, and three tennis courts. Currently there are plans to turn the outdoor pool into an indoor one, making it available all year.

Notable alumni[edit]

Marina Diamandis - British Pop Singer Marina and the Diamonds

External links[edit]