Beyond the classroom

Science and technology

At St Paul’s we are keenly aware that we are educating the engineers, researchers and developers of the future. It is vitally important that our co-curricular programme is rich in opportunities for students to discover their passions in STEM and explore ideas widely and in depth. We offer a range of clubs, societies and activities designed to nurture students’ talents and potential and encourage engagement beyond the syllabus, whether their interests lie in coding or dissection, black holes or machine learning. Open to students of all ages and experience levels, these co-curricular activities encourage Paulinas to embrace creativity, innovation and complex problem solving.

Science

Science is a thriving and vital part of co-curricular life at St Paul’s, with a whole host of clubs and societies enabling keen scientists of all ages to explore far beyond the curriculum. Upon entering the school students often choose to join MIV (Year 7) Science Society, where for many the opportunity to try fun experiments and discover new areas of knowledge launches an enduring fascination with scientific study.

As students progress through the school, they can specialise and delve deeper into their favourite areas through attendance at Chemistry Club or Physics Society. For those looking for more practical experience, Dissection Society is a perpetually popular extra-curricular choice! Students considering pursuing careers and higher education courses in scientific fields can join Medical Society or Veterinary Society to participate in useful workshops, talks and events.

Science Society frequently welcomes external speakers to enrich students’ academic studies, with recent talks covering subjects ranging from ‘Being a robotics engineer – from space to healthcare’ to ‘Black holes and the laws of physics’

Students are also encouraged to access a vast selection of online resources on the student portal, which are curated by the science department to introduce students to books, documentaries, films, podcasts, online lectures and more that will engage their interest and spark their thinking.

Science Week is an annual highlight of the school calendar. In recent years the exciting activities on offer have included making edible water bottles, touring an inflatable solar system planetarium erected in the Great Hall, making bath bombs and DNA necklaces, learning how to grow your own salad, herbs and chillies and using a cloud chamber to detect particles from space.

Students taking part in Science Week activities.

Technology and engineering

Our co-curricular provision provides plentiful opportunities for students to explore creative technologies beyond the classroom, giving them the skills and confidence to navigate an increasingly digital world. These clubs enable students to gain familiarity with a diverse range of technological areas, encouraging them to experiment and take risks within the comfort of school-run courses. Most clubs are open to all age groups, and there is much to be gained from older and younger students working together on shared areas of interest.

In the Lower School, one of our most popular clubs is Meccatronix, where pupils get to grips with original metal Meccano sets, building cranes, using motors, and developing skills that will enable them to create robust, competitive robots in the older years. Keen coders can experiment at our Young Coders and Programmable Electronics Clubs. Tech in Textiles allows students to work with practising creative tech artists; past experiments have included bio-jewellery made of bio plastics and electronics. In Extraordinary Tech students learn to hack knitting machines to knit patterns built from data sets, and this year they plan to solder up a replica Enigma machine.

In the Middle and Senior Schools, students can develop their skills with increasingly sophisticated software. LV (Year 9) can take part in Rapid Prototyping Club, building Arduino-controlled RFID sweet dispensers, or work with our own Pepper robot. Motorsports Club, a collaborative project with St Paul’s School, gives students in UIV and LV (Years 8 and 9) the opportunity to build a racing car and participate in Formula 24 Firefly Racing. LV, V and VI (Years 9, 10 and 11) can spend one lunchtime a week learning how to code music algorithms. The V and VI (Years 10 and 11) enjoy a range of clubs, from Graphic Design, where they get to grips with interesting techniques such as photo editing and creating logos, maps and other useful visuals, to 3D Modelling Club, where they learn to program interactive games.

Students learning electronics as part of CSCT.

They also have set times to use the maker space freely and work on a range of projects, such as 3D printing parts for robots and laser cutting their own designs. Launch Engineering Club introduces students to the basics of electronics engineering, enabling them to meet with mentors, plan projects and develop their skills and understanding. In normal times, this is run by students in the VII (Year 12), in conjunction with VII boys from St Paul’s School.

Our new Computer Science Society organises entries to competitions such as the F1 challenge and Informatics Olympiad and also sets up an interesting programme of speakers. Recent highlights include a virtual reality specialist working at PwC in one of their newest career pathways and Cambridge University’s Dr Prorok.

These clubs and societies offer students the chance to develop hands-on experience, encouraging resourcefulness, innovation and problem-solving. We also encourage students to devise and work on their own individual projects, such as game development or robotics and can provide support, drawing on the expertise of the full IT technical team.

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