Academic life at St Paul’s is uniquely stimulating and the key reason that most families choose the school. We aim to instil in each student an excitement about learning for its own sake and a love of scholarship which will serve them throughout their life. While success in examinations is important, a St Paul’s education goes far beyond this and at every stage, students are encouraged to pursue intellectual, creative and cultural interests beyond the formal curriculum.
For the first three years, all pupils study a broad range of subjects including English, mathematics, history, geography, Latin, religious studies, art and design, drama, music, the sciences, a Languages Discovery course involving linguistics and taster courses in German, Mandarin and Russian followed by choosing two modern foreign languages from a choice of six and ICT. In the V and VI students study seven subjects in the core curriculum: English, English Literature, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and a modern foreign language. In addition, they choose four subjects from eighteen options, providing significant breadth in curriculum choice. All subjects are then studied to GCSE or IGCSE level, or to school directed courses in art, drama, history of art and music. Non-examined general studies courses encourage students to develop their scholarly interests in the V and VI, away from the constraints of defined specifications, to explore cross-curricular connections and to engage in broader discussions about ideas.
In the Senior School, all students study four subjects in the first year (VII) from a choice of 24 different options. Most students choose to focus their time and energy on studying three subjects in the VIII through to A level or Pre-U. This allows them the opportunity to delve independently into areas of especial interest, to read more widely around their studies and to develop the scholarly engagement with their learning that is central to our ethos.
Students do not take public examinations in the VII. We welcome the opportunity to remove an unnecessary layer of public examination between GCSE and A level that linearity has brought, increasing the richness and diversity of academic exploration in the VII. This has allowed us to introduce a St Paul’s Programme alongside the four academic subjects that all students follow. In the autumn term, students choose four courses from 39 different non-examined academic electives on offer in topics as varied as anthropology, ‘Truth, Fake News and Objectivity’, fashion and sustainability, first aid, the history of Shogunate Japan, codebreaking and music and nationhood. In the spring term, students develop their creative, practical problem solving skills in small teams focusing on a wide range of different employment sectors, mentored by a host of business advisers. In the summer term, students focus on developing an independent Senior Scholarship project, mentored by staff, allowing specialisation and research in an area of particular interest and with a depth and rigour that hones the skills which will be so useful in higher education.
We follow linear A level specifications in 14 academic subjects and Pre-U specifications in ten subjects. The Pre-U qualification provides a well-established linear alternative to A level which is widely understood and accepted by universities. From September 2017, we have followed the Pre-U qualification in English literature, French, German, medieval history, late modern history, Italian, Mandarin, theology and philosophy, Russian and Spanish and linear A levels in the other subjects.
The full curriculum policy, which may change marginally from time to time, is available here.