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St Joseph`s Convent School
Upper Redlands Road, RG1 5JT, UK Reading
+44 (0)118 966 1000


St Joseph's Convent School is an independent Catholic day school for girls aged 3 to 18 and boys aged 3 to 7, which welcomes pupils of all denominations and faiths. The school was founded over 100 years ago and is situated close to Reading University and convenient to the town centre and M4. St Joseph's is a vibrant and dynamic school that has embraced new thinking in teaching and learning, whilst retaining an important sense of tradition.

school sceneFrom the Headmistress, Mrs Maureen Sheridan.

I would like to welcome you to St Joseph’s Convent School website. I hope that it will convey a flavour of St Joseph’s and encourage you to visit.

We are proud of the rich history and tradition of St Joseph’s, founded over a hundred years ago by the Sisters of St Marie Madeleine Postel. The hallmark of a St Joseph’s education: academic excellence alongside individual and personal fulfilment in the context of an active Christian community, is as visible today as it was all those years ago...

Our academic results are excellent, and we are extremely proud of our value-added score. There is a particular satisfaction in celebrating the success of those girls whose assessments on entry would not have given grounds for the highest grade predictions. It is to the credit of our talented and dedicated staff that the dreams and hopes of all our girls and their parents are brought to fruition.

We have a wide curriculum of examined and extra-curricular activities. Our small classes enable each girl to receive the individual attention which for so many children is what they most need. It is our delight to watch them develop academically and socially into confident young ladies, fully equipped to embrace the opportunities and the challenges of this modern age.

We look forward to meeting you and to discussing with you and your daughter her hopes and expectations.
Maureen T Sheridan 


Parents usually visit by appointment. They meet the Head of the Preparatory Department and have a tour of the School. Following submission of the form and fee, a visit is arranged to enable the child to experience life at St Joseph's and for the School to assess suitability. On reservation of a place, the reservation deposit becomes payable.

• Year 7 Entrance

An examination is held in January for entrance the following September. Before girls sit this, the Headmistress will usually meet them; this often takes place when the girls visit the School with their parents, prior to the submission of the Registration Form and fee. On acceptance of a place, the reservation deposit becomes payable.
• Sixth Form Entrance

Entry is dependent upon an interview with the Headmistress and Head of Sixth Form and a satisfactory report from the applicant's former school. The required academic standard is normally a minimum of five good GCSE grades.
• Year 6 Induction Days

Induction Days
Year 6 pupils have the opportunity to spend a day at the school. As she experiences a typical school day, each Year 6 girl is allocated a friend for the day who will look after them and answer their questions. Induction days take place from November to January - please contact the school for a list of dates.
• Year 5 Day

Each year, St Joseph's invites pupils in Year 5 from other schools to visit St Joseph's for an educational and fun day to gain an insight into life in the Senior School. The next event will be held on Friday 29 June 2007 and is called 'The Rhythm of Life'. Please contact the School if you would like to register your daughter for the day.

History and Associations

• Foundation

St Joseph's Convent School was founded in 1910 by the Sisters of St Marie Madeleine Postel, whose aim was to provide a good education in a warm and loving atmosphere. This simple aim is as appropriate today for Catholic girls and those of other denominations as it was when St Joseph's was founded over 100 years ago.
• St Marie Madeleine Postel

On the 28th November 1756, a little French girl was born at Barfleur, France, and baptized Julie Frances Catherine. She was educated at the Benedictine convent at Valognes, and when eighteen she ran the little village school at Barfleur. She was a pioneer in education, basing her teaching on the De La Salle method. In 1807, at Cherbourg, she and three other young women took religious vows before Abbe Cabart, who had encouraged her in her work - the beginning of the Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy. She was named superior and took the name Mary Magdalen. It was not until 1832 when she obtained the abbey of St. Sauveur le Vicomte that the congregation finally began to expand and flourish. She died on July 16 at St. Sauveur, venerated for her holiness and miracles, and was canonized in 1925. Her feast day is July 17.
• Old Girls' Association

Former pupils of the school are able to keep in touch with one another via the Old Girls' Association. A reunion is held each year at the school. The next reunion is scheduled for Sunday 24 June 2007. Proceedings commence with the Annual General Meeting, for the election of Officers, followed thereafter by lunch and an opportunity to look around the school. The Association also produces an annual newsletter, which is sent to all members and includes news of former pupils of the school. If you are an 'old girl' and would like to join the Association, please contact either Siobhan Dudding (Chairman) or Anne Piper (Treasurer), via the school.
• St Joseph's Convent School Parents' Association

Pastoral Care

The social welfare and academic progress of each pupil is closely monitored. At the centre of the carefully planned pastoral care system are the Heads of Year, Form Tutors and Class Teachers. They are responsible for the welfare and progress of each girl, consulting regularly with Staff and Subject Teachers.

In the Senior School, for each Year group there are Parents Information Evenings at the beginning of each academic year and two Consultative Evenings to discuss progress and performance. In the Preparatory Department, there is a Welcome Evening at the beginning of the academic year.

Personal and social education is an important aspect of the pastoral care system and every girl is encouraged to develop an awareness of her own role in society through a structured programme of relevant topics. Sex education is taught as part of the curriculum and there are opportunities for discussion of the social and moral aspects in Religious Studies and the Personal, Social and Health Education programme.

School Life

The School Day
Find out about the structure of the school day from the Preparatory Department to the Senior Department.

The school uniform requirements for all the years.

The Library
Find out about the extensive services the school library has to offer.

Find out about the dining facilities and arrangements operated by the school.

Find out about the House system at St Joseph's Convent School.

Preparatory Department

St Joseph’s Preparatory Department is situated in its own building within the spacious leafy grounds of St Joseph’s Convent School, designed with the needs of small children in mind. Its close proximity to the Senior School allows the whole School to come together to celebrate the many celebrations and events that take place.

The Preparatory Department welcomes girls from the age of 3 to 11 and boys from 3 to 7 and a happy and stimulating environment is provided which encourages the children to play and work together.

The Kindergarten and Reception class together form the Foundation Stage and the children work towards the Early Learning Goals. The Infant Classes of Year 1 and 2 (ages 5-7) form Key Stage One and the Junior Classes of Years 3 to 6 (ages 7-11) form Key Stage Two.


In these Primary years, children are introduced to a broad, balanced, exciting curriculum that enables them to develop academically, socially and spiritually.

In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, the subjects taught include English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, Information Technology, Physical Education, Food Technology, Design Technology, Art, Music, History, Geography and P.S.H.E. (Personal and Social Health Education). French is taught from Year 3 upwards and Spanish is taught in Year 6.

In the Preparatory Department, homework is set which is appropriate to the age and ability of the child. It reinforces concepts which have been taught and allows opportunity for in depth research of topics beyond the classroom.


A wide range of clubs and societies are open to all pupils throughout the school. Many take place during the lunch break and include string and brass groups, windbands, recorder groups, choir, swimming, theatre studies, computing and a variety of sports.

Pupils also have the opportunity to get involved with clubs such as Latin, Mindlab (strategic thinking games), Street Dance, Embroidery Club and Ballet. Year 6 also go away for a week's residential visit each year, which aims to foster teamwork and self reliance through the introduction of new and exciting sports such as indoor skiing, climbing and fish trawling.

Care out of hours

• Before School...

In the Preparatory Department, parents have the choice of dropping their children off for the 'Early Birds' Breakfast Club between 7.30am and 8.00am for a small charge of £2.00 per day or simply dropping off at school from 8.00am in the morning, when pupils are looked after until classes begin. Breakfast consists of fruit juice, cereals and toast. This facility is open to all pupils in the Preparatory Department.
• After School...

After school, children are encouraged to participate in supervised play activities. These are held both indoors and outdoors and provide the children with a wide variety of experiences. Mid-way through each after school session, children are provided with a nutritious snack. The charges for after school care from September 2007 for Preparatory Department pupils are £9.90 per day up till 6.00pm or £4.60 per day up to 4.30pm. The day-to-day management of the facility is the responsibility of the trained before and after school care Supervisor, supported by a team of assistants.


Senior Department

St Joseph's Senior Department offers dedicated, specialist teaching, small classes, and a strong pastoral programme of care, ensuring girls are well prepared for the challenges ahead.

Classrooms and laboratories throughout the Senior Department have been well equipped with the latest technology and equipment, including the recent completion of a state-of-the-art Science Laboratory.

In addition to the excellent academic results, Senior Department girls are encouraged to take part in a variety of extra-curricular activities and the school has earned a superb reputation for its strengths in sport, music and drama.


The foundation is laid in the first three years in the Senior School. All girls study Mathematics, English, Modern and Classical Languages, Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies, technological subjects including Textiles, Food, Art, Design and Information Technology, Music, Drama and Physical Education.

In Years 10 and 11 girls are prepared for public examinations. They all study the core subjects of Mathematics, English, Science and Religious Studies, with up to four further subjects chosen from option groups. Accelerated teaching also leads to many girls being entered early for GCSE English.

Pupils are guided carefully at all stages, particularly in their selection of GCSE options during Year 9.


Education at St Joseph's goes beyond the classroom and Senior Department girls enthusiastically take up the wide range of extra-curricular activities available to them.

A wide range of clubs and societies are open to all pupils throughout the school. Many take place during the lunch break and include string and brass groups, windbands, recorder groups, choir, swimming, theatre studies, computing and a variety of sports. There are also many opportunities to take part in dance groups and public speaking teams regularly win awards for original and lively entries in local competitions.

Field trips, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, visits within the UK and overseas and adventure courses are regular features of the School calendar. The School supports a number of charitable organisations who work overseas, including CAFOD and OXFAM. We also raise money for special international appeals and three regular projects: Fundacion Salvacion, an orphanage in Guatemala; Freedom Park in South Africa and Bamenda Diocese in North West Cameroon (the twin Diocese of Portsmouth).

The Arts and Sport

• Sport

Specialist PE staff have designed a programme to assist pupils from an early age to develop skills and to find enjoyment in recreational activities. Netball, hockey, tennis, dance, gymnastics, athletics and swimming are some of the sports taught throughout the year.

The School has an indoor heated swimming pool and all weather pitches, and makes regular use of Reading University’s sports facilities.

School teams regularly take part in inter-school competitions, biathlons and local leagues and several of our pupils have been chosen to represent their county. PE is also offered as a GCSE examination subject.
• Drama

The Senior Department has a reputation for excellence in Drama. This is offered both in the classroom and through a range of extra-curricular activities, culminating in a series of productions annually. Girls in Years 7-10 also have the opportunity to take part in the School's Drama Company: Tempest Theatre, who recently performed a Festival of Street Theatre in Reading Town Centre.

Productions offer a multitude of challenges, not only in performance but also in production, lighting and stage design. Pupils also enjoy regular theatre visits arranged to support the classroom study of texts.
• Art

From an early age, pupils learn the value of visual experiences and creativity. High quality and varied art work produced by pupils of all ages is displayed around the School and enriches the environment. Work is also displayed at Art Exhibitions held regularly at the School.
• Music

St Joseph's is justifiably proud of its music, which is taught throughout the School. In addition to the specialist class music teachers, a team of highly qualified peripatetic staff supports the School, allowing all students to take part in a range of music options at all levels. The various orchestras, musical groups and choirs regularly give concerts and participate in the staging of musical productions.

Many girls go on to take Music at GCSE and A Level, and beyond. Musical Groups regularly tour abroad - the most recent visits being the Senior Choir trips to Venice and Rome, which included singing at Mass inside St.Mark's and St.Peter's Basilicas.
• Dance

Sixth Form

From ages 16-18, the Sixth Form is an integral and important part of the School. Class sizes are small and students are encouraged to take responsibility for the planning and execution of their studies. They also play an active part in the smooth running of the School and organise House events and club activities.

The Sixth Form Centre includes a Common Room with kitchen facilities, as well as tutorial rooms.

Uniform in the Sixth Form is more flexible. A colour scheme is chosen by the students in Year 11, which is worn by that group throughout the following two years.

During the Autumn term, as part of their induction to the Sixth Form, all girls have the opportunity to spend a weekend at St John Bosco House in Alverstoke. Time is spent on personal and spiritual development, team building and leadership opportunities.


A full A level consists of six modules, the first three of which make up an AS level award. Most girls study four AS levels in Year 12 leading to three full A levels at the end of Year 13.

Seventeen subjects are currently available, including Business Studies, Philosophy & Ethics, Psychology, Theatre Studies, Art & Design, as well as English Literature, Mathematics, Geography, History, Modern Languages and the Sciences.

Alongside their A levels, the Sixth Form students undertake a course in Information Technology, which ensures that they are conversant with ICT before moving on to Higher Education.


• Sixth Form Activities

Students in the Sixth Form continue to play an active role in the life of the school, taking part in the wide range of music, dance and drama groups and clubs.

They also participate in several additional activities and schemes, which allow them to develop the key skills of responsibility and leadership, as they prepare to move on to Higher Education.
• Young Enterprise

Girls in Year 12 at St Joseph's Convent School in Reading get involved in the Young Enterprise Company Programme . This programme provides young adults with the opportunity to set up their own companies, selling their own products at their own prices, with the aim of making a profit at the end of the year. Business volunteers work in conjunction with teachers to support the programme but the majority of the work is carried out by the company. Meetings take place on a weekly basis and students have to undergo all the steps of setting up their own company and trading successfully. These include deciding on a product to sell, agreeing on a company name, writing a business plan, marketing the product, raising finance, attending trade fairs and providing customer services.
• Community Sports Leadership Award

The Community Sports Leadership Award is an award authenticated by the British Sports Trust that is designed to enable young adults to go into the community and work with sports clubs and youth groups as either coaches, assistants or volunteers. This course gives you a recognised qualification both by universities and industry. It develops your leadership qualities, improves your ability to communicate with your peers and new social groups. The course is for one year, with two hours of theory and practical work a week. There are no exams to be taken. Even if you do not consider yourself to be a great sportsperson, you will get a great deal from this award.
• Careers

Our Mission:

St Joseph's achieves academic excellence in a caring and vibrant Christian community in which individual talents are recognised and developed. Dedicated staff enable each girl to leave St Joseph's confident and successful young women capable of responding to the challenges of the modern world.

"St. Marie Madeleine Postel wanted her sisters to prepare girls for life in the home and in the world for responsibility and for shouldering burdens. Education must above all be practical, in close contact with the realities of existence".
'Life of St. Marie Madeleine Postel', Sister Calista, 1953.


The School aims to provide, within its structure, an experience of Christian community. In such an atmosphere, learning can take place and young people are helped to reach their full potential academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. By enabling them to experience what it is to live in a caring community, while they are young enough to appreciate its value and to contribute to its continuing growth, it is hoped that pupils will go on to become responsible members of society.


A professional and caring staff value each girl as an individual with her own strengths and aspirations. We offer a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum to all pupils, which prepares them for academic achievement and success. We work in partnership with our parents and create an environment that is safe and happy, in which academic and social skills, individual talent and consideration of the needs of others are developed. We encourage self-confidence and self-respect and foster an appreciation of the world in which we live, its diverse cultures, resources and opportunities.


St Joseph's is a Catholic school. Pupils of other faiths and denominations are welcomed and encouraged to make an active contribution to the spiritual life of the School. Pupils are educated in an atmosphere where Christian values and standards are recognised and established. Morning assemblies are held regularly and parents are always welcome at the School's major liturgical celebrations, including those at Christmas and Easter.

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