Author Archives: Blog Admin

Reading Week at St. Paul’s: an opportunity to share the love for literature  

In a world in which there is such a heavy reliance on modern technology, and the children’s day-to-day learning is centred around the use of digital knowledge, Reading Week at St. Paul’s was a fantastic opportunity to go back to basics with a book. Although many of the activities took place online, pupils and staff were able to join together to share their love for literature.  

Meet Up sessions across the Prep School came alive with the sound of turning pages, as many children revelled in the excitement of sharing their favourite book or character with their teacher and peers. Drop Everything And Read sessions were extremely popular with children getting into character on the final day of Reading Week. Dressed as their favourite character, children were able to share their own stories, inspired by the books they were reading.  

Pupils were also presented with one last final surprise. Famous authors, including Katherine Rundell, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Andy Cope and Steve Skidmore, sent in messages and video posts to the children, to congratulate and celebrate their efforts during the week. All were incredibly inspiring, motivating and spreading a united message to the children: read, read and READ!  

In the Senior School, Reading Week 2020 brought many activities. One of the most memorable campaigns was the six-word memoir competition. Since 2006, Larry Smith has been challenging people to describe their lives in six words, a form called the six-word memoir — a personal twist on the legendary six-word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He found that some of the most memorable six-word stories arise in the extremes — during our most challenging and most joyous moments. So, over the past several months, he asked adults and children around the country to use the form to make sense of this moment in history: one person, one story, and six words at a time.   

You can find just a small selection of the creative compositions we received from our Senior School pupils below:   

  We congratulate all our pupils who engaged in our Reading Week this term. Well done! 

A new Spotlight for our community

The British Society has published a new issue of the Spotlight magazine. A key publication for the community in São Paulo, it shares news on the events and achievements of British organisations, including St. Paul’s School. This new edition also has a new editorial council and layout and aims to attract interest from more readers in and outside the community. 

The latest issue also includes an interview with our headmaster, Mr Titus Edge, where he reflected on his move to São Paulo, schools’ experiences during the pandemic in Brazil and the UK, as well as some of his plans for the future.  

Read the new Spotlight here:  

https://issuu.com/fundacaobritanicadebeneficencia/docs/british_society_-_spotlight_129_web. 

St. Paul’s School featured in the John Catt’s Guide to International Schools 2020-21

We are delighted to share our school’s profile featured in the John Catt’s Guide to International Schools 2020-21. 

The publication reunites useful information for anyone looking for details of international schools around the world. 

Click here to read our full profile:  

https://www.internationalschoolsearch.com/listing/st-paul-s-school-brazil 

 

 

The impacts of the pandemic on a generation of isolated pupils

If I was looking forward to a change of scene, I certainly got one. Coming from rural Scotland to take over the headship of a school here in São Paulo, it was no surprise that the temperatures, topography and tempo of life of the sparsely populated open spaces in the northern extremities of Britain contrasted sharply to those of the teeming metropolis of South America’s biggest city. The colours, noise, smells and warmth of São Paulo hit uninitiated visitors as soon as they leave the airport terminal. 

And yet, as an educationalist I am always struck by the similarities of schools around the world; however different they may appear at first sight, scratch the surface and familiar patterns soon emerge. Schools are schools, teachers are teachers and – most fundamentally of all – children are children. Young people share many similar aspirations and anxieties; they display similar tendencies towards excitement, laughter, engagement and boredom. 

One parallel I had not expected to find when I was first appointed to the job of Headmaster in October 2019 was that schools in Britain and Brazil would be closed to pupils. As with my final term in Britain, my first term in Brazil is a lonely existence amid empty classrooms and corridors, playing fields and dining rooms. 

Teachers in both countries rose to the challenge of online teaching with extraordinary energy and inventiveness, parents adapted their lives as bedrooms become teaching spaces, and pupils had to adjust their learning habits to suit the virtual world.  At first it was all somewhat unreal. Some hailed online schooling as the bright new future for education. To others, it was an expedient of the moment and the imperfections of the online curriculum were accepted as an inevitable but temporary limitation as we fought the virus. 

Seven months on and no-one now pretends that children can learn as fast or effectively online as they can in the classroom; no-one can deny the emotional and physical toll that school closures risk inflicting on our youngsters. Spending hour after hour on a screen, taking only limited amounts of physical exercise, isolating themselves from the realities of physical and social interaction – all this will leave its scars on a generation already pummeled by a pervasive social media culture. For that reason, as the world stumbles its way out of the lockdown, in São Paulo schools remain closed and the provisional date for even a partial reopening has now been pushed back yet again, this time until November. As the country faces an extreme challenge in tackling the pandemic, there is no doubt that local authorities face a difficult choice. As a guest in this country, it is not my place to tell the elected representatives of the city how to do their job or presume to sit in judgement of those who have to make tough decisions on which lives and livelihoods depend. I am also very aware that no plan to reopen schools is without risk and the appalling ravages that this disease can inflict on individuals and communities are not to be underestimated. 

Nevertheless, I would ask that, in plotting a way out of the lockdown, the ultimate cost of maintaining the current ban on the reopening of schools is considered. By keeping children away from their classrooms, we are not just stunting their academic progress but are denying them the opportunity to socialise, develop and grow together within a physical community of learning. The sedentary realities of life online do nothing to develop our young people to be healthy and active as they go about their lives. The toll on the mental health on a generation who have not had the opportunity to come together and absorb the full breadth of childhood experiences has to be weighed carefully against the threat posed by the pandemic. 

Most of the available evidence suggests that children of school age are at least risk of contracting or transmitting Covid19.  

No school reopening strategy is without risk – and our children must not be brought up to believe that the world can be made risk-free. They need to understand that risks need to be managed and that there is a difference between taking careful steps to achieve a positive outcome on the one hand and being reckless on the other. Such steps should include regular temperature checks, hand-sanitising stations, one-way systems, ventilated classrooms, maintaining social distancing whenever possible. Those most at risk – staff and pupils – may need to carry on online for now but the societal cost of not socialising our children as safely and as soon as possible must not be underestimated. 

A school reopening programme can be cautious and gradual and might need to make the occasional adjustment along the way. In trying to defeat a health emergency in the short term, we should be mindful of the cost to the educational, physical, social, emotional and mental development of our young people in the long term. 

  • This article was published by O Estado de S. Paulo’s online version – you can read it here

St. Paul’s is listed as one of the world’s top schools by Spear’s

We are very proud that St. Paul’s has been listed in the Spear’s Schools Index as one of the world’s top schools. 

The index listed the 100 best private schools around the globe. It was produced by Carfax Education, the leading global education group, and Spear’s, the award-winning magazine for high-net-worth individuals. Categorised by region, prospective parents and pupils can now access a list of the top 100 schools across the UK, Switzerland, Europe, USA, Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

In addition to formal criteria such as academic results and preparation for university entry, schools are ranked on their unique ethos, their reputation both locally and internationally, and how adequately they prepare students for life beyond academia. The guide provides a comprehensive overview of curriculum and fees as well as practical information such as travel times to local airports.

“Worthy recognition of our outstanding commitment to educational excellence and great to be counted amongst such distinguished company”, said Mr Titus Edge, our school’s headmaster. 

Brazilian culture reflections during our Semana da Cultura Brasileira

This week our school community celebrated the traditional Semana da Cultura Brasileira. 

Although the current pandemic situation means we cannot enjoy our traditional shows and workshops at the school, the Prep Portuguese department have prepared a range of different activities for pupils to enjoy throughout the week. Videos and activities about the Brazilian folklore, gastronomy and costumes were sent to all pupils and families, who were challenged to reflect on key themes and even cook and taste some Brazilian recipes.   

Also in the Prep School, our young musicians prepared a special performance as part of the week’s celebrations, and you can watch it here: 

In the Senior School, pupils reflected on the topic of Women in Brazilian culture, considering the key role that women play in Brazilian society today, and some of the challenges they faceForm 1 and 2 took part in a competition during their tutorial sessions talking about inspiring women in our history, and reflecting on how easy it is to think of famous women in key professional roles. Forms 3, 4 and 5 have been producing responses to some videos about the sexism that still exists in some areas of our society. Sixth Form pupils have been watching some inspiring words from influential women and also reflecting on how stereotypes can be changed.  

IGCSE results for St. Paul’s pupils

Our new Lower 6th had cause to celebrate during the last few days as the IGCSE results were released. Owing to the pandemic, these pupils were confronted with the extraordinary situation of not be able to sit their exams last term.

Initially, grades were calculated by the Cambridge Assessment International Education Board (CIE),following the submission of data by the school. However, after a change to the way grades were awarded back in the UK, CIE have recently published a revised set of IGCSE results, with pupils awarded grades no lower that the teacher predicted grades submitted by the school last term.

Although these pupils did not get a formal assessment opportunity, which they had been preparing for in order to demonstrate their talent and commitment over the last two years, very many received outstanding grades that fully reflected their abundant ability and hard work.

With a 100% pass rate (A*-E), for the first time in many years over half of the grades awarded (57,5%) were at the top level of A* and A and the proportion of pupils scoring A*-C grades has increased for the third year in a row.

Particular congratulations go to the six Pauleans who achieved all A* and A grades and to everyone else we say a big “well done” for a truly excellent effort. There is, of course, so much more to a St. Paul’s education than exams success but this news will have given these pupils a huge boost as they start their International Baccalaureate studies. Well done to all!

A warm welcome to St. Paul’s School new Headmaster, Mr Titus Edge

We are delighted to announce that Mr Titus Edge has now taken over as Headmaster of St. Paul’s School. Mr Edge was Headmaster of Gordonstoun, one of the leading independent schools in the UK and a global leader in character education. In that sense both schools have a lot in common, as at St. Paul’s we believe in the power of a holistic education, preparing our pupils with strength of character and broad skills to face the challenges of the modern world. 

Mr Edge’s appointment also marks the first step in an exciting programme that will lead to the St. Paul’s centenary in 2026 and beyond. 

Mr Edge is a History graduate of Newcastle University and undertook his PGCE in Secondary Education at the University of Oxford. He has taught at several independent schools, including City of London School and Dulwich College, both as a teacher and in management positions. He also remains a governor at a leading prep school in Scotland. He is married to Marina, an Old Paulean, and knows São Paulo well. They have one daughter and twin sons. Everyone who has met him has been impressed with his energy, vision and collaborative approach. 

 In his own words, following his appointment, Mr Edge commented:

“I am hugely honoured to take over the headship of St. Paul’s. As one of the great British international schools, St. Paul’s stands out as a beacon of educational excellence in Latin America. I look forward to working with everyone at the school – pupils, staff, governors and parents – to build on the work Louise Simpson has done and ensure that this thriving and successful school approaches its centenary with confidence.” 

St. Paul’s pupils IB results 2020

This has been far from a ‘normal year’ and yet, the Class of 2020 has done themselves proud with some outstanding IB grades this year. We are extremely proud of the group of 69 pupils who, despite the challenges that are specific to this year, managed to score an average of 35 points (5 points above the world average) and have shown themselves to be truly world class!  

The IB diploma programme is internationally recognised as an extremely robust and academically challenging two year course. Pupils study six subjects across the curriculum with a core programme of academic research, philosophy and action, creativity and service activities.  The maximum score is 45 points and we are especially proud that over 90% of pupils achieved the bilingual diploma, studying both Portuguese and English as a first language, and that our modern languages continues to be a real strength in the school. For the second year running, all pupils studying a modern foreign language scored only a 6 or 7, and in Portuguese as a second language every pupil scored the top grade – 7.  This truly is remarkable and our teachers of foreign languages and their pupils must be both pleased and proud of all they have achieved this year!  

Brazilian social studies, a relatively new subject at the school, also scored only 6 and 7 grades, and higher level maths, acknowledged as an extremely challenging course for the strongest mathematicians, scored 90% 6 and 7 grades – the budding engineers, statisticians and economists in this group will go a long way with such excellent maths scores as they head off to university. 100% of our theatre pupils secured a 6 or 7, for the first time in some years, and they must also be congratulated.

Achieving 40 or more points is a great achievement, and only 2% of candidates globally succeed in this; this year we have 9 pupils in this category and we send them our special congratulations.  Very well done to Isabella, Gonzalo, Luigi, Pedro, Laura, Aida, Gian Luca, Amelia and Estela. These are extremely impressive young people and they should be very proud of what they have managed to achieve, in such challenging circumstances.  

This group of young men and women now look ahead to life beyond school and many of them have excellent offers at the best universities in the world. As they become Old Pauleans, we wish them success and happiness for the future, and we thank them, their parents and teachers, and all those who have contributed to this fabulous set of results. Parabéns to them all!

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.