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Our history

Swimming pool at St. Paul's, 1930s

The St. Paul’s School’s foundation emerged from the considerable British presence in São Paulo in the early 20th century. The number of British families in the city had been increasing following the completion of the British owned São Paulo-Santos Railway in 1867 and attracted engineers, bankers, accountants and industrialists to the area from the United Kingdom. Drawing inspiration from the British schools established in Argentina, various British organisations joined together under the leadership of the São Paulo Railway Company to create a school to “provide a sound education for the sons and daughters of British parents”.

The school was formally opened in February 1926 to 88 pupils under the Headmastership of J.A. Dodd, a classicist who had previously taught in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare) and then at St George’s College in Buenos Aires. The school moved to its current site on the Rua Juquiá, in the Jardins district of the city, in 1928.

Since its foundation, the school has expanded and is overseen by trustees and governors as a not-for-profit organisation: Fundaç󠆽ão Anglo-Brasiliera de Educação e Cultura (FABEC) with new statutes agreed in 1961. In the 1960s and 1970s, St. Paul’s became a wholly co-educational day school for pupils aged 4–16. In the following decade, in response to a demand for preparation for university entrance in Brazil and overseas, the school registered with São Paulo education authorities as the Escola Britânica de São Paulo and introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Sixth Formers first received their Segundo Grau certificate in 1983 and the first IB Diplomas were awarded in 1987.

The school retained its links with the British Community Council and the governors and trustees are UK nationals and the curriculum is both British and Brazilian. The UK Consul General sits on the Board of Governors and The British Ambassador to Brazil is the honorary President. The school has enjoyed visits from senior members of the Royal family including the late Queen Elizabeth II, the King Charles III, when he was the Prince of Wales, and Diana Princess of Wales. As a British School, St. Paul’s is a member of the Headmasters’ Conference HMC, the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and the Latin American Heads Conference (LAHC).

As Pauleans we are proud of our history; our strong heritage and contemporary approach combine to drive us to strive for excellence in everything we do.

Our timeline

Navigate through some of the most important milestones of the St. Paul's School history.