Monthly Archives: June 2020

More scholars to start at St Paul’s for the next academic year

From FSP’s blog:

After completing their year-long preparation course – much of it in under remote learning – the 2020 scholar selection process has finally come to an end. From the eight candidates, four were chosen to join St Paul’s School in the next academic year.

In the second half of last year, the candidates commenced their preparation with a six-month English immersion course, receiving tuition at St Paul’s and at Cultura Inglesa. Then from February until early June, they have been ‘coming to school’ for St Paul’s Masterclasses online, led by volunteer teachers from the school. Some subjects were completely new, such as Global Perspectives, whilst the familiar ones were presented in a whole new way.

The candidates have demonstrated incredible commitment throughout the whole year and impressed both the St. Paul’s teachers and the FSP staff. It was abundantly clear that all eight were wanting to get the most out their preparation not only because they wanted to join St. Paul’s as scholars, but because they wanted to become better students and more conscious citizens.

Candidates during Prep Course in 2019, with some of St. Paul’s pupils

Virtual prep course

The foundation adopted a 100% remote learning from late March – including all tests. But the candidates’ dedication to the course didn’t waver when we had to move the lessons to the virtual environment. On the contrary, they engaged in more lessons and asked for extra activities to improve their knowledge.

After nearly 100 hours of preparation sessions, plus interviews with the family members and psychological assessments, the foundation team, alongside the St. Paul’s Head and the volunteer teachers, proposed that four of the candidates become scholars to join in forms 4 and 5. In early June, the St. Paul’s Foundation board accepted this proposal in its entirety. “All eight of the candidates were amazing and so the selection process was particularly tough this year. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donor community the foundation could afford to accept all the proposed candidates, doubling its 2019 scholar intake and thus becoming the biggest family in the school” says James Wilkinson, Chair at Fundação St. Paul’s.

The foundation informed their supporters and sponsors about the new scholars in an online “Foundation Family Thank You” event on 9th June, in which Louise Simpson announced the new scholars. The guests had the opportunity to see the “thank you” video produced for the occasion (below). Mr Titus Edge, as new head, made a guest appearance from Scotland and committed to supporting and growing the scholarship programme when he arrives in August.

Once a Lion, always a Lion

As I write my final blog post of the academic year, it is hard to imagine life beyond St. Paul’s, but that is certainly what awaits me, and a ‘new normal’ that none of us could have imagined just a few months ago. 

I hope that you will agree that we have undergone quite an educational revolution in the last three months. Moving to 100% virtual learning almost overnight, and seeing just how important our ICT investment has been to support pupils and staff as they have worked from their homes. It has saddened me to hear plans of ‘back to work’ in the press – as they have not given credit to the incredible staff teams who have supported children to maintain their continuity of education throughout this quarantine period. We have certainly all been working (harder than normal!) and so whilst it might be ‘back to school’ it is certainly not a resumption of work, since we never stopped! 

At the start of ‘lockdown’ the concerns from all sides were primarily about the educational offer for pupils. With time, we have come to realise that it is connectivity, community and wellbeing, which are the prime concerns in our online lives, rather than content. Those of us who have faced a period living alone during quarantine, especially those who are not used to a solitary life, have perhaps found it harder than others. I certainly realised the importance of Betsy, the beagle, when living alone in São Paulo to keep me exercised and feel connected. Our daily walks were crucial for my wellbeing, and as we walked around the Jardins area, often encountering members of the school community on their own perambulations, the lion community spirit really showed through. We felt more connected than usual. 

My new normal will be post-Lion, in a provincial cathedral city school in the south west of England. Exeter is a relatively small city, certainly after São Paulo, and Exeter School has a long and proud tradition and a fabulous community, which I am keen to get to know and integrate with, as I have done in Brazil. Arriving as a new head offers many exciting challenges – and certainly arriving to a school which is getting back on its feet after a pandemic is not something most heads will have had the chance to do before. But, I have learnt much in Brazil, I have developed my skills as a leader and an educator, been able to face new challenges head on, and, hopefully have enough strategies in my toolbox to face whatever challenges Exeter will bring. 

My time as a part of the in-situ Lion community comes to an end, but as we all know, Lions are for life, and I will now (and always) be an Old Paulean. As I look forward, what a wonderful experience I have had, and what amazing Lion-memories I am taking with me. Thank you all! 

#lionsforlife 

Coming together to share a book

During this online learning period, our pupils have been following their lessons using different tools to develop a wide range of knowledge areas and skills. One aspect that has been sadly missing, which is enormously important and popular, is the experience of sharing a book together.

In an effort to provide the children with something approximating the classroom shared reading experience, teachers have been filming themselves reading books for their pupils. In Prep 5 class, teachers have been sharing a story designed to appeal to children of all age groups, ‘Far Flung Adventures of Fergus Crane’ by Paul Stewart, illustrated by Chris Riddell.Prep 5 children have been enjoying the story already, but anyone is welcome to watch and listen on YouTube.

St. Paul’s International Day 2020

This year, we celebrate 20 years of International Day, our school’s most important annual fundraising event, organised by the PTA.

We are proud of our commitment to these five worthy charities over the years: TUCCA, Liga Solidaria, ACER Brasil, Colégio Mão Amiga and the Fundação Britânica de Beneficência. Each year, it has been possible to increase sponsorship and proceeds of the event, thanks to the strong St. Paul’s community spirit and the incredible generosity shown by all involved.

This year, every one of us is facing unprecedented challenges, which call for unity and strength but there are so many people who cannot help themselves despite their best efforts. Join us for our first ever Virtual International Day and help us make this year the most successful yet!