Where everything begins

Lower School

We are aware that the transfer to secondary school is a very important step in the lives of our students and their parents, bringing both new challenges and many new opportunities. The focus in the Lower School is on helping new Paulinas to find their feet and forge friendships within a lively and supportive environment.

Welcome to the Lower School

Many things are new at the start of secondary school: new classmates, a new environment, many different teachers and brand-new subjects and languages to learn. Our dedicated pastoral team are on hand to guide new Paulinas through these changes.

When they arrive in MIV (Year 7), students are sorted into small tutor groups of 10-11 students, led by a form tutor who will support them through the next two years. Students meet with their form tutors daily and get to know them well, ensuring that all students receive individual support and encouragement.

Students studying in a classroom.

About three weeks after the start of the school year we take our MIV (Year 7) to Stubbers Adventure Centre for a day of outdoor bonding to help them settle into their form group. They also meet their ‘sisters’; a ‘middle sister’ in the LV (Year 9) and a ‘big sister’ in the VII (Year 12). These ‘sister’ groups meet at least twice per half term and give MIV and UIV (Years 7 and 8) students the opportunity to ask questions about life at St Paul’s.

We know that this can also be an uncertain time for parents, as they watch their daughters adapt to new academic and social environments, and we very much welcome regular communication between school and home. Parents are invited into school for official parents’ evenings with feedback from teachers, as well as to different social functions.

The Lower School is a time for students to explore and discover. Our youngest Paulinas are introduced to a broad and dynamic curriculum and given time to familiarise themselves with the new subjects they encounter. In modern foreign languages, for example, the MIV (Year 7) follow a ‘Discovering Language’ course which introduces them to the broad brush strokes of where language comes from and how it evolves, while in computer science and creative technology our custom programme presents the basics of coding and programming.

three students being taught by a teacher in a classroom.

For academic teaching two tutor groups are put together into a teaching set of about 20 students. Students join us from a range of academic backgrounds, and small class sizes ensure that all students are given personalised support to help them get to grips with new material.

Lower School students are encouraged to be creative and inquisitive in their learning and to enjoy encountering new subjects and skills before the focus on exams starts in the Middle School.

Beyond the classroom

Beyond the classroom, students can explore an extensive list of co-curricular activities and discover new hobbies. Many students choose to join sports teams and music ensembles and to take part in drama performances and debating competitions. Clubs and societies include the formal and informal, the traditional and innovative.

From Gardening Club to Knit and Natter, Tech and Textiles to Cover to Cover, there are activities available to suit every interest and opportunities for all students to get involved, regardless of previous skill or experience. Events such as the MIV (Year 7) disco and UIV (Year 8) film night encourage students to relax and enjoy some downtime. A vibrant co-curricular life also teaches younger students how to manage their time effectively, laying the building blocks for success in the older years.

Lower School students also experience an enriching programme of trips and visits. In the MIV (Year 7) we have a programme of day trips, for example visiting Rochester for history or the Wetlands Centre for science. School trips increase in length in the second year; the language exchanges to Bonn for German and to Marseilles for French last one week, and in the Easter holidays the Classics department also run our very successful week-long residential trip to Pompeii. These trips and visits introduce students to new perspectives and encourage resilience and independence, preparing students to take on new challenges in the Middle School.

Students playing in the grounds of the school.

St Paul's

There is no better way to get to know a school than by taking a look around. Visit us to explore the school for yourself and discover some of our Paulinas’ favourite spots, from The Marble, the lively entrance hall situated at the heart of the school, to The Great Hall, home of assemblies, concerts, art exhibitions and more.

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Middle School

Middle School