Where everything flourishes

Senior School

16+

A very warm welcome from the Senior School Team

The Senior School is an energetic and dynamic place of academic adventure and personal development. Our students immerse themselves in lessons which are an exciting journey towards a deeper understanding and broader horizons. Learning in the Senior School stretches far beyond the curriculum; extra-curricular life is a chance to take on real leadership and make an impact both within school and in the wider community. A combination of significantly greater freedom and personalised one-to-one support prepares our students to flourish in the world beyond school.

We look forward to meeting you and answering your questions during our open day. In the meantime, please contact admissions@spgs.org if you have any specific queries.

Best wishes,

Josephine Lane
Deputy Head, Director of Senior School

Rosalind Orchard
Head of VIII (Year 13)

Oswald O’Neill
Head of VII (Year 12)

Melinda Armitage
Senior School Administrator

Senior School student revising on computer in the Garden Building.
Welcome to the
Senior School

Academic

Academic study in the Senior School is highly engaging and rewarding. Lively scholarship fills the last two years of study as students specialise in the subjects about which they feel most passionate.

The Senior School is, above all, a place for the stimulating exchange of ideas, whether in small group lessons or in the common room, within a supportive, familial atmosphere that encourages intellectual risk. The confidence students develop in this environment is exciting and deeply valuable.

Students studying in the Garden Building.

Academic endeavour is supported by initiatives such as the St Paul’s Programme, an exciting part of the non-examined curriculum which includes a ‘real world’ creative project, electives and an independent research programme.

This sits alongside the traditional Friday Lecture series. Every week the whole Senior School gathers to hear eminent speakers from all walks of life open windows onto their work and thought. These inspiring examples open students up to a diverse range of perspectives and lived experiences.

Independence

In the Senior School students enjoy much greater independence, preparing them for the self-directed study expected at university. The Senior School is based in the Garden Building, a modern, purpose-built hub opened in 2017 which contains a common room, a kitchen and a variety of workspaces specifically for use by senior students.

Students in the Garden Building.

This is a relaxed, sociable place where students can get on with work or catch up with friends over tea and toast. Relationships with members of staff become much more collaborative and debate and discussion are at the centre of all learning. Students are given greater freedom to organise their own time; they have private study periods and are allowed off the school site at lunchtime when they don’t have timetabled lessons. Support is personalised and plentiful, but students are trusted to pursue their own interests, equipped with the tools to succeed.

Role models

Responsibility and leadership are at the heart of Senior School life and senior students play a major role in the running of the school. They run a myriad of societies for younger students, catering for everything from political debate to improvised comedy. They take on key roles in school performances and sports teams, run the school council, edit a variety of student magazines and much more.

Students seated at desks in the Garden Building, home of the Senior School.
Life in the
Senior School

Responsibility

The VII and VIII (Years 12 and 13) are remarkable in their passion and dedication to a wide range of causes, leading groups such as SPEAC (St Paul’s Environmental Action Committee) and the Charities Committee, which organise a vast range of events and projects throughout the year. Students are encouraged to take the initiative; if a club or committee doesn’t exist to support their interest, they are empowered to make it happen.

In the VIII (Year 13) students can apply to join the Head of School Team. They meet weekly with the High Mistress and help to shape the school’s agenda. However they choose to participate in the co-curricular life of the school, senior students lead the way as role models.

Volunteering and service

Much of this activity involves the wider community. Every member of the VII (Year 12) spends time in service to the local community. Opportunities are always changing but they include working in care homes, community centres and primary schools. Senior students run Re-Store, our vintage clothes shop, entirely independently and donate the proceeds to support community initiatives. It is vital that all Paulinas leave school as active, responsible citizens with care for those around them.

Students studying in the Garden Building.

Support

An extensive network is in place for senior students to guide and support them through their final two years of school and beyond. Daily meetings with their tutor ensure advice is never far away. The Senior School pastoral team (comprising Heads of Year, the Senior School Administrator and Director of Senior School) is based next to the common room and staff are always on hand to help with questions, big or small! Students are guided through decisions about life beyond school by a highly experienced higher education and careers team.

Whatever courses you take, and whichever path you choose, you’ll find the Senior School a wonderful place to be.

Studying in the Senior School

A levels

The Senior curriculum

In the Senior School all students study four core subjects in the VII (Year 12) from a choice of 24 options. All students also have dedicated time with their tutor, their choice from a wide range of sport, a PSHE session and a weekly lecture as part of their main timetable. Students also follow the St Paul’s Programme on a Friday afternoon.

Students entering the main building.

VIII (Year 13) students may either continue with four core subjects, a choice popular with further mathematicians and applicants to American universities, or drop to three. We encourage students to focus their time and energy on three subjects in their final year where possible. This allows greater opportunity to research areas of special interest independently, and develop the scholarly engagement that is central to our ethos.

In the VII (Year 12) there are no public examinations which allows students time for rich and diverse academic exploration. It also gives time for students to play a full role in the leadership and extra-curricular activities on offer.

St Paul’s Programme

Alongside academic lessons, the St Paul’s Programme is a significant, highly exciting element of the non-examined curriculum offered in the Senior School. It is unique to the school and aims to help students develop the confidence and independence to thrive at university and into their future lives.

St Paul's is a place that gives you the space to think, to be creative and to be challenged. Josephine Lane, Director of the Senior School

Electives

The programme takes place on a Friday afternoon when students have no other timetabled lessons and it runs throughout the academic year. As part of the programme students take electives, running for five weeks, which may be practical, academic or general; recent courses range from ‘Renaissance world-view’ to ‘3D environments’ and ‘algorithmic sounds’.

Launchpad

They also participate in Launchpad, working in small groups on a ‘real world’ entrepreneurial idea, supported by external partners who work as mentors. Mentors change each year but have included partners from The Imperial War Museum, The Cabinet Office, The Serpentine Gallery and Bloomberg UK. Some examples of recent projects include rebranding a major fashion house, planning an app to connect people with no legal knowledge to law firms and a proposal for replacing debit and credit cards with fingerprint technology.

Students studying in the Garden Building.

Senior Scholarship

This sits alongside the St Paul’s Senior Scholarship, an independent research programme completed by students in the summer between the two senior years. Students are given supervisory support from teachers to research, develop and write on literally any subject of their choice, producing a final scholarship piece which could take the form of a scholarly essay, fieldwork report or a creative production such as a performance, novel or computer programme. Students are inspired to delve deeper and let their intellectual curiosity take them far beyond the curriculum.

Friday Lecture

The Friday Lecture is a treasured St Paul’s tradition. Despite the prominence of some speakers (George Osborne, or Lady Hale, the first ever female Supreme Court judge), the Friday Lecture is not a fame parade. It is an opportunity to think about life in a new way.

From the first person to circumnavigate the world under human power to the country’s foremost expert on how to bury a king; from restauranteurs to army medics, artists to diplomats, nothing encapsulates the enquiring atmosphere of the school better than the guests who address it and whose work is debated vigorously every week.

Here are some recent highlights:

Distinguished Guardian journalist and OP, Amelia Gentleman spoke about her uncovering of the infamous Windrush scandal, where it emerged that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights.

The Rt Hon Stuart Lawrence gave a powerful lecture for Black History Month on how we can combat racism and racial injustice.

Arabella Simpkin, Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, discussed careers for women in STEM and the importance of complex problem solving in the medical field.

Amelia Gentleman joins the school as part of the Friday lecture series.

University destinations

UniversityNo. of students
Oxford30
Cambridge13
American universities12
Durham11
Edinburgh11
UCL10
St Andrews6
Imperial5
European universities3
Warwick2
UAL2
Bath1
Bristol1
Cardiff1
King’s College London1
LSE1
Manchester Met1
Nottingham1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford23
American Universities17
Cambridge15
Durham14
Edinburgh9
Imperial8
Manchester5
UCL4
King’s College London3
Warwick3
Bristol2
LSE2
Bath1
Birmingham1
Cardiff1
Nottingham1
Kent1
St Andrews1
York1
University of Arts1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford32
Cambridge16
American Universities14
UCL8
Durham7
Edinburgh7
Bristol5
LSE3
St Andrews3
King’s College London2
Imperial2
Manchester1
Newcastle1
Bath1
Royal Veterinary College1
Cardiff1
UEA1
UniversityNo. of students
American Universities21
Cambridge21
Oxford20
UCL11
Bristol8
Durham7
Imperial7
Edinburgh5
Glasgow1
King’s College London1
Leeds1
Manchester1
Nottingham1
St Andrews1
UEA1
Warwick0
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford26
Cambridge25
American Universities13
UCL8
Bristol7
Edinburgh5
Durham4
York3
Exeter2
Imperial2
Bath2
King’s College London1
Manchester1
Nottingham1
Cardiff1
Queen Mary, London1
Southampton1
St Andrews1
Swansea1
Birmingham1
Warwick1
LSE1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford26
Cambridge18
American Universities12
Edinburgh8
UCL7
Bristol6
Imperial4
Warwick3
York3
Manchester2
Newcastle2
Nottingham2
Durham2
Exeter1
Leeds1
Bath1
Essex1
Queen Mary, London1
St Andrews1
UEA1
Birmingham1
LSE1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford27
Cambridge22
American Universities16
Edinburgh8
Durham7
UCL7
Imperial5
Bristol4
Courtaulds3
Leeds3
York2
Canadian University1
Queen Mary, London1
Richmond American International University1
St Andrews1
Trinity College, Dublin1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford23
Edinburgh15
Cambridge11
American10
Durham9
Bristol9
UCL8
LSE4
Imperial3
King’s College London3
Newcastle2
Nottingham2
New College of the Humanities1
Queen Mary, London1
Roehampton1
Southampton1
Keele1
Warwick1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford21
Cambridge14
USA11
Durham8
Imperial College8
Edinburgh7
King’s College6
Bristol5
UCL4
St Andrew’s2
Nottingham2
York2
LSE2
Oxford Brookes1
QMUL1
Royal Veterinary College1
Manchester1
University of the Arts London1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford19
Cambridge16
Bristol10
Durham7
UCL7
USA6
Imperial College5
Edinburgh2
St Andrew’s1
Courtauld Institute1
Glasgow1
King’s College1
Sheffield1
Warwick1
York1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford26
Cambridge24
USA9
Bristol8
UCL7
Edinburgh4
Durham3
Imperial College3
King’s College3
Bath2
Manchester2
Birmingham1
Courtauld Institute1
Goldsmiths1
Newcastle1
Sheffield1
UniversityNo. of students
Oxford25
Cambridge21
USA13
UCL6
Durham5
Imperial College5
King’s College5
Exeter2
LSE2
Trinity2
Courtauld Institute1
Manchester1
Nottingham1
St George’s1
Warwick1

Careers and Higher Education

We have an extensive and dedicated higher education team who provide Senior School students with personalised support as they begin to make important decisions about their futures. The Director of Higher Education works with Senior tutors, departmental academic mentors and higher education coordinators to help students discover the route that is right for them and the team are always on hand to guide them through the application process. From university preparation classes and alumni university events to our extensive Higher Education Conference every April, there are a host of opportunities to help Senior School students find their answer to the key questions: which course is right for me, and what is my chosen university looking for?

Students are also encouraged to attend a wide variety of careers events to help them identify the path that inspires them. The Senior School hosts a range of evening careers talks often focusing on one specific career path such as engineering, law and media. In addition students are invited to professional networking events, usually at a location in central London, where they can connect with inspiring role models. Our regular ‘working lunches’ give students in the Senior School a chance to meet with professionals from a multitude of sectors to discuss their work and career paths.

Careers and Higher Education

Visit
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.

Visit us

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