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St. Paul’s selected “international school of the month” by The Knowledge Review magazine

We are delighted to share with our school community this article about St. Paul’s, published in the latest issue of The Knowledge Review magazine. 

The Knowledge Review is a global educational magazine that features institutes around the world, providing insights on education and highlighting examples of best practice in a wide range of areas. 

Annually, the magazine’s team select the best international schools in South America to be highlighted with a story, and we are delighted that St. Paul’s has been chosen this year for its forward-thinking approach and its transformative innovations in recent years. Among other things, the school has been praised for its digital learning strategy and approach to using technology in teaching and learning, its strategic plan for developing its facilities, its robust enrichment programme, and the recent launch of the Foundation scholarship programme.

Read the article here

St. Paul’s School: Exploring Education to the Core

 

St. Paul’s Foundation releases scholars’ selection process for 2020

The St. Paul’s Foundation has just opened the selection process to find scholars for entry to St. Paul’s School in August 2020. Candidates can apply for scholarships from 1st February to 31st March 2019, via the St. Paul’s Foundation website.

The first step of the selection process is to complete an application form and send documentation for analysis. The selection will include visits to St. Paul’s, tests, interviews and a one-year preparation period, including an English immersion course. To apply for the scholarship programme, candidates must meet all of the criteria listed below:

  • To be aged from 11 to 15.
  • Have a maximum family income threshold of two minimum Brazilian salaries per capita.
  • Have no fails/disapprovals in your “Histórico Escolar”, and have English language skills.
  • Possessing a special talent in music, arts, drama or sports is an advantage.
  • Live in São Paulo, at a maximum travelling distance of one hour from St. Paul’s (Rua Juquiá, 166, Jd Paulistano).

About the scholarship programme

The St. Paul’s Foundation aims to provide full scholarship for gifted children living in Brazil to study at St. Paul’s. Through the Scholarship Programme, the foundation aims to fund a minimum of two scholars per year to complete their education at St. Paul’s.

“We want excellent students who have the right attitude, drive and commitment to benefit from the opportunities offered by the scholarship programme and to contribute to the school”, states Mr James Wilkinson, the foundation’s chairman.

If you have any questions about the scholarship programme, you can email contato@fundacaostpauls.org.br.

St. Paul’s pupils secure excellent results in the LCM Theory Exam

We are delighted to announce some absolutely outstanding results for this year’s cohort of pupils taking the London College of Music Theory of Music examination. An impressive 92% of pupils sitting the exam, ranging from preparatory (Step) to the challenging Grade 5, secured either a merit or distinction. This year’s cohort was the biggest yet, with 104 pupils from our Prep and Senior Schools working hard both in and out of lessons to prepare for the examination, and it certainly paid off: our 100% pass rate places us among the top testing centres worldwide.

Three years ago, we become the first school in Brazil to offer the LCM music qualifications as part of our successful music tuition scheme. As well as providing a strong foundation in musical knowledge that supports performance in musical instruments, the LCM examinations also enhance international university applications, with the higher grades increasing UCAS point tariffs. 

The prestigious London College of Music, a part of the University of West London, is the largest specialist music and performing arts institution in the UK, recognised internationally as one of the leading musical examination boards.

The fact that so many of our pupils have secured such excellent results in these challenging examinations is testament to their determination and the unfailing support of our team of specialist music staff. With many pupils now performing to a high level in a wide range of choirs, orchestras and ensembles across the school, the future of music at St. Paul’s is certainly bright.

Photo: St. Paul’s files

University entrance season

The Christmas break in the UK is one that is often rich with stories in the press about university entrance – typically this is when UK teenagers get offers from the universities of their choice and it is a time when schools are keen to share the fabulous offers their pupils have achieved, and inevitably there follows the press comment and opinion….

It is widely accepted that two of the oldest universities in the world, Oxford and Cambridge (termed together, Oxbridge) are some of the most competitive universities to secure an offer from globally. They attract the best qualified candidates in the country (typically with 4 A/A* at A level predicted) from some of the best schools. Every year there is a discussion about why independent schools far outnumber state (publicly funded) educated pupils at these universities as a proportion of the population as a whole. In addition, two institutions are under some pressure from government and the public (not to mention schools) to widen access to pupils from the state sector and from non-selective schools.  This piece from the BBC shows just how clear these inequalities are.

The report shows the imbalance in admissions:

  • 7% of all UK pupils attend private schools
  • 18% of those taking A-levels are at private school
  • 34% of Oxbridge applications are from private schools
  • 42% of Oxbridge places go to private school pupils
  • Of the top eight schools admitting pupils to Oxbridge, only two are state funded. 

The job of widening access and redressing the balance in inequality is not easy – but this year there were two fantastic stories about state funded schools which can (and have) started to tip the balance and show that it is possible for schools of all types to generate an atmosphere where aspiration to the top universities (whether in the UK or elsewhere) can prevail.

Reading about these two state funded academies, where many of the pupils are from poor backgrounds, with high immigrant populations and economic and social issues that may accompany these families, it is wonderful to see that they are achieving so much. Robust and rigorous curricula to inspire pupils, and a questioning approach where the pupils are encouraged to argue (politely of course!), debate, be intellectually curious and question the status quo, seem to be a recipe for success, with almost 80 pupils being offered places in these two schools alone for September 2019. These are the articles:

London state school says 41 students offered Oxbridge place

School for poorest pupils gets 37 Oxbridge offers

I remember once hearing a speaker at a conference telling me that he was looking for students who could ‘flounder intelligently’ with an idea…. rising to the challenge of not being sure about something, grappling with new and difficult ideas.  This is what the very best universities want in their students and this is what our IB programme offers to our sixth formers. 

Here at St. Paul’s our pupils are lucky to already have such a ‘leg up’ in life – with great teachers, supportive and aspirational people at home and at school to help them to achieve their dreams, whether that is at home or overseas, at university or at work. They are innately aspirational and many of our pupils succeed in securing amazing offers from universities globally.  We are very proud of them and as we start to see this year’s U6th coming into school this week with their offers secured, we congratulate them and hope that when they go to university next year they are able to learn alongside inspiring young people, from whom they can learn even more, from all walks of life. 

St. Paul’s pupils achieve top results in Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards

Two of our pupils have received prestigious awards from Cambridge Assessment International Education to acknowledge their outstanding performance in the June 2018 Cambridge examination series. Guillermo and Santiago, two of our Senior School pupils, received Top in the World for Cambridge IGCSE Foreign Language Portuguese. Cambridge Top in the World awards are given to learners worldwide who achieved the highest standard mark in the world for a single subject.

The Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards programme celebrates the success of learners taking Cambridge examinations in over 40 countries around the world. Cambridge places learners at the centre of their international education programmes and qualifications which are inspired by the best in educational thinking.

“We are delighted that our pupils have received these awards, which recognise the talent, dedication and commitment of both our learners and our staff. The results are a reflection of the enormous talent not only amongst pupils but also within the teaching profession”, states our Head, Ms Louise Simpson.

“Arabian Nights”, St. Paul’s Senior School Play

This year’s St. Paul’s school play is an adaptation of the book of the “One Thousand and One Nights”. It tells the story of a Persian king who, after being betrayed by his queen, develops a deep hatred and distrust of women. Because of this, each day he takes a new wife only to have her executed the following morning before she has a chance to betray him.

A brave young woman, Shahrazad, the daughter of the prime minister, then takes it upon herself to do something to stop the violence. She asks to be married to the king and plans to tell him a story every night, yet never finishing it. By doing this, Shahrazad hopes to survive each night and save as many women as she can from the headman’s axe.

Arabian Nights” is not only a journey into the beautiful culture of the Middle East, but it is also an important reflection on the power of storytelling as a force for good and an alternative path towards a culture of peace.

Come along and join us in this adventure!

Thursday 29th November, 7.30pm*

Friday 30th November, 7.30pm*

Saturday 1st December, 5pm*

*Arrive 30 minutes before the performance to visit our “Persian Market” where there will be food and drink from Almanara, and items from the Katmandu store on sale

Tickets cost R$ 20 and can be purchased from the Production team at school or on the Sympla website (below). You can also contact tickets@stpauls.br for more information.

Thursday 29 November

Friday 30 November

Saturday 1 December

Developing staff to develop the pupils

Of course the pupils in a school are the most important members of the school community -there is no doubt about this; don’t let anyone tell me otherwise! But when we think about the pupils’ learning, the progress that they make and the benefits that they get from school, we have to think about another key resources – and one into which we have to invest just as much educational resource: their teachers.

Coming to this school I found one of the most generous and well managed continuous professional learning (CPL) budgets that I had ever seen – with every member of staff involved in all kinds of professional development on an ongoing basis. The CPL opportunities that they have range from small scale, skills sharing sessions run by the teachers for their colleagues after school on a Thursday evening, to complex, international conferences – with complex, international budgets to match! 

Every single one of our teaching and class assistant teams attends our international education conference every two years – in the last few years they have enjoyed hearing Sir John Johns talking about magic weavers and Claire Harvey talking about tackling equality and diversity issues in school. Both Sir John and Claire had us in tears for different reasons and both were inspiring. We have enjoyed learning about happiness in school from Sir Anthony Seldon and positive psychology from Dr Christian van Nieuwerburgh. This is just a flavour of the internationally recognised speakers who are keen to be involved in our conferences and who encourage our staff team to reflect on the big issues in education, and consider the practicalities of implementing these big issues in their practice in school.  With some fabulous results! 

With the new technology that we all have access to, we can now connect with leading organisations in education and research via webinars and online training courses. For those of us who teach the IB diploma this is a regular aspect of being up to speed with the curriculum and being able to teach the pupils confidently in class, but we also have a large number of Prep and Pre-Prep teachers who have completed Project Zero classroom courses at Harvard Graduate School of Education – a phenomenal resource for learning visible thinking and the project based approach. 

Of course, nothing beats face to face training and bringing trainers to the school from overseas (whether in a conference situation or not) is a great way to ensure that we share our resources as widely as possible.  Recent topics have included bilingualism, differentiation in the classroom, maths for primary teachers (and their children!), quality circle time, literacy, personal social and health education….. the list is endless! 

We believe that the best teachers are continuous learners – this means that they need to be given many opportunities to carry out their own research, reflect and collaborate at conferences and in training events and share their skills with their colleagues. Keeping our own minds active means that we can appreciate the best ways in which to develop the learning skills of our pupils – and also understand their frustrations and challenges when that learning is difficult…. Incredibly important for us to be effective teachers.

So, what is next on the list of staff development opportunities?  Well, I would like to help the team to learn more about how to learn…. And I have my eye on a brilliant speaker, who I reckon can help us to do just that! 

Some takeaways from HMC Conference – keeping St. Paul’s close to home

Conferences overseas might seem like a very positive perk of my job, and in many ways they are, but when so much time (and energy) is spent travelling to far flung conference venues, we have to feel that the investment has been worth it – both in time and financial terms.  My most recent conference, in Manchester, allowed me to connect with friends and former colleagues in the HMC, the Head Masters and Head Mistresses Conference, which represents some 280 or so high quality international schools both in the UK and overseas.

The HMC is traditionally seen as the voice of the independent sector in the UK, representing schools that are world renown, such as Eton, Harrow and Rugby as well as many other less well known, but sometimes equally impressive, schools in various parts of the country.  The organisation includes over 50 international schools and this is a growing division, as many UK schools set up franchise schools around the world, most notably in the Middle East and China. 

Our divisional meeting, of heads of international schools within HMC comprises an eclectic mix; established schools like our own (and the other Latin American school, the Grange, from Chile) both have long histories and traditions, which stretch back decades.  Alongside us are the ‘newbies’; schools which have recently opened in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and which have a ‘mother ship’ back home.  Schools represent countries as diverse as India and Switzerland, Qatar and Malaysia, Australia and France. The growth of new schools with English language (often British) curriculums is something that has been quite incredible in the last decade and remains a discussion point not just for the international division but also for the membership in general; how will the association maintain its standards?  UK schools are all required to be inspected by the same inspectorate, against the same standards – this is not possible for a number of reasons in different areas of the world; how can the association ensure that accounting standards and governance and financial processes are maintained?  UK schools in the group are all charities, with a specific set of accounting regulations – whilst there are a whole host of ownership and governance models in overseas schools, with many of them being profit-making enterprises – something that does not fit with the HMC model.  Trying to fit different shaped pegs in to an HMC hole seems quite a challenge and our discussion on this topic was very animated.

Speakers at the conference are always designed to catch our attention and give us some ‘takeaways’.  Dame Rachel de Souza CEO of the Inspiration Trust was a great speaker.  With her brand of disruptive education, but based on the firmest of positive principles, she has done great work, it seems, in improving pupils’ chances in tough schools in the east of England.  I liked her direct approach, no-nonsense and straight talking; and her focus on appointing the strong and charismatic senior leaders to take her schools forward. 

We also heard from a voice that anyone of a certain age in the UK would recognise – BBC newsreader, Michael Buerk. He most famously brought to the consciousness of the nation the plight of hundreds of thousands of starving East Africans in the 1984 famine which led to the first international celebrity efforts to raise money and put an end of poverty and starvation in Ethiopia.  The footage and images that he brought into our living rooms quite literally changed the world. Michael was there in Manchester, however, not to talk about poverty but to be a ‘grumpy old man’!  He got the tone of the conference just right, asking us all to consider the entitled lives of millennials, and what we can do to help to focus on what is important in our schools.  His light-hearted approach was both fun and thought provoking – often the best kind of speaker. 

In amongst the keynotes we had panels on teaching and learning and pastoral care, drugs awareness, and workshops on taking your school brand overseas, or being an executive head in a group of schools.  In addition, a new video on digital awareness was revealed which has been made in partnership with HMC. This video sends a message to try and harness the positives of social media and digital tools – rather than a down right ‘don’t do it’ message, which we know that our children are probably going to ignore.  I encourage you to watch it with your children and discuss the message which it contains and any questions that are raised from it. 

More important than all of these things, though, is the opportunity to network and connect, and to try new things.  I always enjoy meeting up with old friends and colleagues and this year I attended my first ever football match – watching Manchester United draw to Valencia at Old Trafford.  Well worth it (and the fish and chips were delicious!). 

BTEC music technology results for St. Paul’s pupils

More great results!

Following on from the success of our IGCSE results last week, we are celebrating again with our L6th pupils this week, following the first ever BTEC music technology results which the pupils have achieved.  27 of the pupils chose to follow this new course, capitalising on our excellent new recording studio and music technology facilities and none of them has been disappointed.  81% of the grades were awarded merit or distinction (the top two grades) with 8 of the pupils securing starred distinctions, recognising exceptional performance in the assessments. 

Many congratulations to the 27 happy pupils and many thanks to our wonderful music department, and especially those involved in setting up this new course.  It has been a great success and we are delighted, once again, to be leading the way with internationally  recognised courses which allow our pupils to excel.  

IGCSE results for St Paul´s pupils

Great results yet again!

We are delighted with this year’s international GCSE results, which the current L6th pupils received last Tuesday (14th). Their first ever internationally recognised public exams, these are a watershed moment for the new IB diploma pupils and recognition of two years of hard work and commitment through the IGCSE course. These two year courses include coursework and examined components and are a benchmark assessment, used in British and international schools in the UK and overseas.   

The overall results are fabulous, with 48% A*/A (the top two grades) which put our pupils on a par with UK selective independent schools. In particular 16 key individuals deserve to be proud of all they have achieved, scoring 8 or more A grades: Carlos, Gonzalo, Nicole, Luigi, Sophia, Estela (all A/A*), Pedro (all A/A*), Rafaela, Zahra, Laura (all A/A*), Julia (all A/A*), Valentina, Aida, Gian Luca, Arthur (all A/A*), and Lorenzo. “It is extremely challenging to prepare so thoroughly for so many subjects across a diverse curriculum and these boys and girls deserve many congratulations”, said the school’s Head, Ms Louise Simpson.   

This year, as part of the ongoing integration of our Brazilian and British curricula, we have expanded our curriculum offer so that all pupils now complete an international qualification in the arts (music, music technology, visual arts or drama) and we have added a new subject, global perspectives, to the humanities. Pupils now, typically, do 9 or 10 IGCSEs rather than 7 or 8 as in the past. In addition, this year the pupils have all completed an AS level qualification in Portuguese literature, in order to prepare them for the IB even better. The AS is a UK 6th form qualification, designed for 17 year olds, and we are delighted with the overall success in these results, which bode extremely well for the IB Portuguese 1st language course which the pupils have just embarked upon. The results for these papers are remarkable – with 86% of the grades being A or B (the top two grades).   

Across the board some subjects deserve special mention at IGCSE too: the benefits of a bilingual education are clear for our pupils – with 100% of the foreign language IGCSE papers in Spanish and Portuguese scoring A and A* grades and 89% in French.  Our pupils show great promise in science too, with 55% A*/A in the three sciences. And in the new subject of global perspectives, pupils have shown their internationally minded approach by scoring 56% A*/A.  In maths, we are delighted to see that the results are building on last year with encouraging improvements.   

IGCSE results for St Paul´s pupils

IGCSE results for St Paul´s pupils

“We could not be happier with the overall 79% A*/B and we wish the Lower 6th many congratulations as they celebrate and now settle into their IB diploma programme as the term progresses. I am sure that they will enjoy celebrating with their families, all of whom have contributed significantly to the success of these hard working boys and girls”, said Ms Simpson.