Our goal is to ensure all our students learn to be their best within a setting that encourages a high level of engagement, understanding, collaboration and reflection.

 ‘Barbreck’ – Where Girls Matter

Barbreck is a vibrant hub of learning that nurtures every girls’ ability and potential—academically, physically, creatively and emotionally.

During the all-important primary years, St Catherine’s ensures opportunity for our Barbreck girls to participate in a broad range of activities that enable discovery of her talents, her interests and her dreams; equipped for a lifetime of learning.

Purposefully small, our average class size of 17 students enables every girl to receive engaging learning experiences and personalised learning plans. In Barbreck, we ensure a daily commitment to prioritising academic time for the development skills in literacy and numeracy through a model of explicit instruction. The promotion of creativity, self-expression and self-awareness is also a key feature of a Barbreck education.

At St Catherine’s, we celebrate our care of students, both pastorally and academically. It is this nurturing, yet empowering approach, that epitomises a Barbreck education.

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In 2021, we launched St Catherine’s School’s Towards 2025 Strategic Plan articulating our six key strategic intents and establishes our focus for educating and nurturing young girls. The focus for Barbreck encompasses the development of young minds and embraces carefully crafted academic programs and a personalised approach, recognising and nurturing every Barbreck girl’s abilities and potential – academically, physically, socially and emotionally.


At the heart of our Barbreck building, the warmth and colour of the Library draws girls to a love of books and reading every day. This central learning hub is complemented by the surrounding specialist primary-designed learning space: a purpose-built Science Lab recognising the critical importance of developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) capabilities for girls who will live and work in the 21st century and our commitment to developing globally aware citizens is enriched by our primary-specific Language Lab, for an enhanced learning experience in LOTE and French.

Designed with the active girl in mind, the Village Green provides a wonderful play space for energetic Barbreck girls at lunchtime, the freedom to run in a Physical Education lesson and the enjoyment of ball games during After-School Sport. Located adjacent to the indoor swimming pool facilities, the playground includes much loved climbing equipment, a natural rainforest walk to curiously explore, and the vegetable and herb garden, carefully tended to by the Environmental Club.

Allowing girls to express their creativity through Performing and Visual Arts is also an essential and vibrant component of the Barbreck academic and co-curricular programs. The much-treasured experience for our Years 5 and 6 girls comes with participating in the annual Barbreck Musical / Play. This creative celebration of the extensive musical and dramatic talents of our girls is the colourful culmination of rich cross-curricular activities embedded in music, art and the co-curricular choral programs.

A Personalised Approach

Each girls’ academic strengths and areas for improvement are identified through a detailed analysis of her work, with tailored personalised learning plans established to accommodate each student.

We believe in the progress of every girl and our dedicated staff are committed to ensuring girls understand their progress through feedback, guidance and encouragement of the necessary growth mindset to accept challenges and persist in their efforts to improve.

Our academic programs are sequential in nature, developing a level of rigour that ensures each girl strives for her continual improvement and captures the personalised approach of a Barbreck education. We also pride ourselves on our consultative and collaborative approach of connecting with parents to ensure information regarding their daughter’s learning plans and academic progress is comprehensively communicated.

The St Catherine’s expansive curriculum is based on Best Practice teaching and is carefully planned with our students’ knowledge, needs, interests and varying abilities in mind. It is underpinned by the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and is both rigorous and sequential.

Barbreck students have a wide range of co-curricular activities from which to choose. The list below reflects the main activities; however, at times, clinics and short-term activities are offered. Students are advised of these through assemblies and the Parent Portal.

The Core Curriculum

St Catherine’s follows the curriculum guidelines as prescribed in the Australian Curriculum.


Students develop skills in reading and writing, speaking and listening. The program builds upon existing skills and extends the child’s interests and skills through a range of activities including story reading, shared and guided reading, word study, literature and novel studies in upper primary, handwriting, oral and aural activities and creative language work.

There is also a structured spelling program, literature work and a focus on analysis and comprehension of different texts. Students are exposed to a variety of genres through their writing and reading experiences. Public speaking and various speaking opportunities are introduced as they move through the School.


Students learn mathematical concepts related to Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Probability and Statistics. There is a focus on using concrete aids before moving to the visual and abstract representations to ensure students have a thorough understanding of the mathematical concepts/skills they are learning. The application of their knowledge and skills to solve problems is a key outcome of the mathematics program.

Students learn through a range of activities and develop mental strategies and written skills, mathematical knowledge and use relevant technological skills such as calculators and computer programs.

The Humanities and the Social Sciences (HASS)

Topics are based on the current Humanities and Social Sciences in the Australian Curriculum. It aims to ensure that students develop:

  • ‘a sense of wonder, curiosity and respect about places, people, cultures and systems throughout the world, past and present, and an interest in and enjoyment of the study of these phenomena
  • key historical, geographical, civic and economic knowledge of people, places, values and systems, past and present, in local to global contexts
  • an understanding and appreciation of historical developments, geographic phenomena, civic values and economic factors that shape society, influence sustainability and create a sense of belonging
  • the capacity to use inquiry methods and skills, including questioning, researching using reliable sources, analysing, evaluating and communicating’.



Students create artworks that draw upon play and imagination and the artworks of renown artists. They are introduced to a variety of simple drawing, painting, printmaking, textile and collage, modelling and construction techniques, materials and tools. The building of skills in the Art area is apparent through a sequential developmental curriculum framework. The resultant artworks are displayed and used as a means for communication. Through activity and discussion, your daughter will be assisted in her development of an appreciation for Art and be capable of expressing her ideas about various art movements and techniques, as appropriate to her age.


The Barbreck Music program uses the Kodaly and Orff approach to Music education to develop an understanding of basic concepts used to create music. Students learn about the elements of Music such as beat, rhythm, pitch and simple music structures by being actively engaged in sequential choral, movement and instrumental programs.

Our classroom Music program is enhanced by opportunities to learn specific instruments at designated year levels such as violin In Year 2, recorders in Year 4 and the band program in Years 5 and 6.

The development of her voice is a key focus of the Music programs that incorporates a range of choirs across the primary years, Prep- Year 2 Choir, Years 3 and 4 Choir, and Years 5 and 6 Choir.

The instrumental, band and choir programs are included in the weekly timetabled suite of lessons.

Health and Physical Education

Health and physical education are key components of the Junior School program.

In Years P-4, students are timetabled for two physical education lessons and one health lesson per week.

In Year 5-6, the girls are timetabled for one physical education lesson and two sports lessons where they either learn the sports or compete against other schools, and one unit of health across the year.

Students develop gross motor skills through a wide range of activities including running, skipping, hopping and jumping. They also develop their aquatic skills through swimming sessions. The number of swimming sessions throughout the year varies according to the needs of the physical education program and varies across Year levels.

The Perceptual Motor Program (PMP) for Years Prep and 1 is conducted weekly throughout Terms 2 and 3 for Prep. These sessions provide opportunities for simple team games that emphasise co-operation and listening skills as well as fundamental motor skills development. As our girls move into the higher levels, they are introduced to sports

  • Years 3 and 4 have optional after school sport on Mondays.
  • Years 5 and 6 have compulsory after school sport on Tuesdays.

The Physical Education program incorporates units on a range of sports such as Hockey, Netball, Soccer, Handball, Basketball, Volleystars, Softball, and Cricket.


Students learn to read, write, speak and listen to the French language in a sequential program, The French program in the Junior School utilises the AIM methodology and combines the teaching of vocabulary, grammar, oral and written language skills at age-appropriate levels of complexity.

High levels of importance are placed upon French oral interaction during class time, and students are supported towards the use of contextual French at all times. Students collaborate with staff to ensure that meaning, purpose and skill retention are all ingredients of an effective and interesting program. Students at all levels learn grammatical structures implicitly, with more attention given to the explicit teaching of grammatical rules at more senior levels.


The Barbreck Library is the hub of School, encouraging students to read for pleasure, expanding their horizons and building empathy. It enables them to see the world through others’ experiences and to find answers to the issues they may face as children and young adults. The library has a wide collection of resources, including fiction and non-fiction books, E-books and audible. The weekly library sessions support various educational programs and project-based learning to develop students’ skills in locating, researching and using information. The library runs events and competitions throughout the year to promote reading and literature. The Children’s Book Week Celebrations are a highlight for both students and teachers.

Science and STEM

The Junior School STEM program is diverse and engaging, enabling students explore the world around them in new ways. Students participate in learning experiences that explore the five areas of Science: Biological, Chemical, Earth and Space, Physical, and Science as a Human Endeavour.

Embedded within these are the essential elements of Design and Technology. A major component is the development of thinking skills and strategies that align with both the design and scientific process. Students engage as critical and creative thinkers, and questioners ready to problem solve and tackle challenges.

Co-curricular Programs

Our co-curricular offerings provide opportunities for students to personalise their learning journey beyond the classroom. Our programs are designed to create space for students to be brave, to feel safe enough to embrace new experiences. It is through these courage-building experiences they can then begin to deepen the connection to the skills learned in the classroom.

The variety of Co-Curricular programs ensure our students have the opportunity to pursue their interests and be daring enough to seek new adventures. We encourage students to be bold, adventurous, and a little fearless in the pursuit of new challenges. As they step outside their comfort zones, we witness the possibility to prosper, we see them unlock their potential and we celebrate the moment they realise they are ready to achieve so much more.

Opportunities to build self-confidence, resilience and encourage positive risk-taking is provided in our Outdoor Education program available to students from Year 2.

Out of School Hours Care

Out of School Hours Care is provided by After the Bell and is available from 7.00am until the commencement of the ELC program at 8.45am. This service is also available in the afternoons from 3.00pm until 6.00pm. The Out of School Hours Care Program operates within the ELC building in a shared space known as the Piazza.

Application For Enrolment

Your child’s education is one of the most important decisions you can make about their future. Please visit Admissions to assist you in navigating this process, contact us to arrange a personal tour or register for Open Morning.