CHIJ Katong Convent was set up as a private Primary English School in 1930 in a rambling seaside bungalow in Marine Parade. In 1932, under Sr. St. Theodora, the first Principal, it was given grant-in-aid status with the addition of five classrooms. The enrolment was 197 pupils, including 26 boys, who were later transferred to St. Patrick’s School in late 1932. Under Sr. St. Vincent de Paul, the school building was extended in 1939 with 8 new classrooms. By 1941, just before the outbreak of the war, there were 384 pupils. At the outbreak of the war, the school building at Martia Road was taken over by the British and became a military camp. During the Japanese Occupation, the school was used as a military base. During the war years, the school continued to function in Ceylon Road as Ceylon Road Girls’ School.
After the war, when the premises were returned in 1946, Sr. Finbarr undertook the difficult task of re-organising and upgrading the school. In 1950, the school fielded its first senior Cambridge candidates and in that same year, five new classrooms were built. In 1954, Sr. Finbarr was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Convent after 8 years of devoted services. Sr. Veronica took over as Principal from May 1954 till December 1958 and under her leadership, a new building comprising five classrooms, a hall and two science laboratories were added. To cope with the growing enrolment, CHIJ Opera Estate was established in 1959 to accommodate the primary classes. Meanwhile, Sr. Finbarr was reassigned as Principal of Katong Convent and during her second term of office from 1959 to 1971, the school continued to expand and in 1966, a new wing, comprising a proper tuckshop, library, sewing room, art room, and 6 classrooms were completed. After Sr. Finbarr’s retirement, Mrs. Marie Bong, who was a member of the teaching staff since 1951, became the first lay Principal in 1972. Under her guidance, the school became well-known for choral speaking, creative writing and Shakespearean productions.
In 1982, plans were afoot to upgrade the facilities of the school to meet the school’s growing needs. Hence, the offer of a piece of land at Marine Terrace in exchange for the Opera Estate Convent site by the Ministry of Education was indeed welcomed. At the end of 1986, after many months of careful planning, supervision and arduous fund-raising, Mrs. Karen Oei, our second lay-Principal, saw to the shift of the school from Martia Road to Marine Terrace. In 1990, the primary section merged with Opera Estate Convent, and returned to the former site at Martia Road.
In December 1997, Mrs. Lysia Kee joined CHIJ Katong Convent as our third lay-Principal. Under her leadership, the school achieved the Autonomous Status in 2003. The school was also recognised for her effective practices and systems for teaching and learning and received the Best Practice Award for Teaching and Learning. With the swift growth of programmes and co-curricular activities, a new block was built and officially opened in May 2000.
Ms Lam Ai-Leen took over as Principal in December 2004. In 2005, KC was selected to offer Drama as an O level subject and a Black Box was added. In 2009, CHIJ Katong Convent met the criteria for affirmation of the Autonomous Status, the Best Practice Awards for Teaching & Learning and Staff Well-Being, and attained the People Developer Standard and the Singapore Quality Class Award which culminated in the School Distinction Award being conferred upon her in 2010. Ms Lam Ai-Leen retired in December 2013 and Ms Chan Gek San, Patricia took over as Principal. Ms Patricia Chan left in December 2021 to assume duties as Director, English Language and Literature, Curriculum Planning and Development Division, Ministry of Education. The school welcomed Mrs Hilda Thong as the new Principal on 15 December 2021. On 15 December 2022, Mrs Tan Mei Chuen assumed Principalship of the school.
The school underwent an external validation conducted by officers from the MOE School Appraisal Branch, Schools Division in 2016. It was subsequently awarded Best Practice in all 5 criteria under MOE’s Revised Masterplan of Awards For Schools – Teaching & Learning, Character & Citizenship Development, Student All-Round Development, Staff Well-Being & Development and Partnerships. The school’s Autonomous School status has also been re-affirmed and the school was also presented the School Distinction Award, the apex of the Masterplan of Awards.
As an IJ School, CHIJ Katong Convent is a Catholic school which commits itself to the proclamation and living of the gospel in every facet of its life. The IJ School is a school where the poorest and weakest in society are given priority, where choices and decisions are made from the viewpoint of the disadvantaged. The IJ School is committed to the total development of the person in her God-given uniqueness. The IJ School is a school which works for a just society and, in the management of its own affairs, is seen to be just. Simplicity, trust in God, gentleness, concern for the poor, a readiness to reach out to others motivated by God-like love, are the outstanding characteristics of an IJ community.