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Excellent IB results for St. Paul’s once again

Once again the St. Paul’s School Upper Sixth are celebrating some fabulous IB diploma results across the full range of curriculum subjects and we congratulate them all!

This year’s diploma cohort, the largest in the school to date, celebrate an average points score of 33 (10% above the world average). 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 remain a real strength in the school. All pupils studying a second modern language scored one of the top two grades (6 or 7) and are well placed to be excellent global communicators.

Special congratulations must go to those pupils scoring 40 or more points (from a maximum of 45). This is an enormous achievement and puts them in the top 2% of IB diploma graduates globally. Very well done to them!

Internationally recognised as one of the most rigorous post-16 academic programmes, the IB diploma provides a balanced curriculum of 6 subjects for each candidate, including languages, maths, science, the humanities and the creative arts. In addition, the core, which includes a 4000 word academic research paper, theory of knowledge and creativity, activity and service, ensures that candidates have a broad, global mindset and a strong set of human values. IB graduates really are well prepared for their university experience and lives in the adult world, whether at home or overseas.

These results are the product of much commitment, determination, support and encouragement for the pupils from all sides and we thank the teachers, support staff, parents, friends and the wider school community for their part in the achievements of theseyoung men and women. It is not easy to complete a school journey with such a challenging sixth form curriculum and we congratulate every pupil for their individual achievements. We wish them well for the future and hope they will come back and see us soon!

St. Paul’s digital leaders sharing achievements at BETT Educar

Last week, some of our Senior School digital leaders presented their achievements at BETT Educar, the Latin American version of the great BETT Show in the United Kingdom.

Bett Educar is the largest education and technology event in Latin America. Every year it brings together over 230 national and international leading companies, exciting Edtech start-ups and 22,000 participants from the education community. Educators, learners and innovators come to the event to seek inspiration, discuss the future of education and discover Edtech products and solutions to improve teaching and learning outcomes.  

The digital leaders shared with the audience their role in school, advocating for responsible and safe use of digital resources, testing software and offering support to pupils that need guidance in digital learning. They recommended that other schools should also adopt a similar programme, as digital leaders can be great allies to the leadership in terms of voicing the technology needs of all pupils.    

They were ever ready to astound and charm their listeners by describing their views on technology applied to education and how they see their future when properly prepared to use digital resources. They argued that not only does being digitally literate help them in the present to learn better, it also prepares them for their academic life at university. They also argued that the use of technology has helped them develop even further skills they consider essential for their professional and personal lives: entrepreneurship, creativity, autonomy, innovation, computational thinking and critical thinking and problem solving. In the presentation, one of the pupils Gianlucca explained that he and other peers used this set of skills to launch his new company, a marketplace for people who want to sell miles or buy plane tickets.  

Our teachers were also speakers at this year’s event, and shared experiences together with other experts. “It is always reassuring to see that we are on the right track and leading the way with regards to technology and robotics; things are continuously changing and events like these lead us to reflect on how we can give pupils the best possible learning experience”, says Ms Louise Simpson, our head.

Images: St. Paul’s and BETT Educar

Old Paulean Day 2019

On Saturday 18th May, we had well over 200 Old Pauleans come together for a pleasant afternoon of good food and good stories, at our annual Old Pauleans’ Day. It was lovely to see former staff and pupils connecting and exchanging special memories.

The event reminded us that wherever our alumni move on to, however long ago they studied here, and whatever they go on to achieve, they are Lions for Life!

Main takeaways from COBIS 2019

This year’s COBIS conference in London was a fascinating one – with the theme of a vision for international education in 2030, we tried to look forward and consider the future for your pupils. It is impossible to imagine the technology that will be available in just one year, such is the rate of change in this field, let alone more than a decade, but we had a good stab at it! 

One key feature was the possible use and importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in education. AI is something that I was aware of, but not exactly familiar with and I now feel better educated about it. We know that when we use technology algorithms are constantly recording our choices and that data banks are filling up to make a clear image of us as users. Several of the conference presenters shared with us their innovative uses of AI, specifically in pupil assessment (adaptive online tests for example) and programmes that can target pupils’ individual needs and support on a very personalised level. Such applications could be extremely powerful in supporting every learner to have a truly personalised learning experience, and, perhaps more importantly, to create data and outputs for teachers so that they can intervene and assist pupils in a much more targeted way. I found myself considering how this might shape our reporting and communication process with parents, creating a real-time picture with incredible clarity that might allow us to support every child to reach their potential even more effectively.

Alongside these uses of technology, of course we have to consider the role of the teacher – and whether robots could replace us in the future. A fascinating presentation by Andreas Schleicher from the OECD had us considering skills for the future, and the likely shift in employment trends as more mechanisation and technology replace the human work force in this digital revolution. A frightening thought perhaps, but we found ourselves reassured that this is unlikely in all employment sectors. Robots and AI, it seems, might be artificially intelligent and able to learn, but they cannot adopt the complexities of human emotions and relationships, and hence when looking at jobs that are likely to be replaced by robots in the future, teaching comes way down at the bottom of the list. We all heaved a sigh of relief. 

Of course, with the increase in use of technology, the importance of human relationships and personal (face-to-face) interaction could not be more important and one of our keynote speakers, Prof Tanya Byron, a clinical psychologist reminded us of the huge importance of mental health and wellbeing in schools. This was the second time I had heard Prof Byron speak and she was just as fresh and clear as before. Her message to help us develop resilience in our children was clear – ‘let them climb trees’ she said – and, crucially, let them fall out of a tree every now and again. This will help them to be strong adolescents and young adults, and much less likely to suffer poor mental health. As we develop and launch our own mental health and wellbeing initiative, We Care, here in school, this message could not be more important. 

The closing speaker was the executive chairman of the Eden Project, a phenomenal ecological project in Cornwall, south west England. If you do not know the Eden Project, I recommend it as a wonderful vision for the future and well worth the long train journey from London next time you are in the UK. The project was born form the restoration of a former clay china pit and is a huge visitor attraction, research hub and leader of environmental thinking globally. Sit Tim Smit, the CEO, is not a scientist in fact, but an anthropologist and a very British polymath and thinker.  He encouraged us to consider the world in 2030, not just form an environmental standpoint, but also in terms of the political and social situation that we find ourselves in. With so much change on so many agendas globally, and with such uncertainty around some key issues for the future, looking for big ideas and joined up thinking from multi-disciplines has perhaps never been more important. 

I came away from the conference feeling refreshed and optimistic about the future for our children – and reassured that much of what we are doing at St. Paul’s is heading us in the right direction. 

You can read more about the conference programme and speakers here:



Green Week at St. Paul’s

In the last few days, pupils have learned about the impact we have on the environment and how we can do our little bit to make a difference. We have been celebrating Green Week, focusing on environmental issues across the school with different activities.
In the Pre-Prep, the children have learned about recycling and how to separate rubbish into the correct dustbins. They have also made organic fertilizer and added it to the garden to help our trees and plants grow. Prep School eco-warriors taught other pupils how to reduce the use of paper towels in school, and thought about food wastage during lessons. In the Senior School, pupils had the chance to attend an interesting debate about the need to balance farming with the environment in Brazil, and welcomed a guest speaker to talk about soil and plants.
“It is always pleasing to know that young people remain so committed and optimistic about this important theme and their awareness and environmental consciousness are wonderfully infectious. I hope that all of us will choose to make at least one small change to our lives and practices this week, with a view to reducing our ecological footprints. If we all make a small difference then collectively, I hope, we can make a significant one”, says Ms Louise Simpson, the Head.

Equality and Kindness week at St. Paul’s

Kindness is fundamental to the human existence and this week it has been the focus across St. Paul’s School. Being such a basic aspect of human relationships, it forms one of the fundamental parts of the Golden Rules and the Code of Honour in our school. This year we were delighted to be joined by Paralympian and diversity champion Claire Harvey MBE, one of the keynote speakers at our last education conference, who has led pupils, staff and parents to reflect on the importance of being kind and treating others as equals. 

Pre-Prep pupils a special talk from Claire, where they made “diversity flowers”, writing on petals to celebrate their differences and share their hopes and dreams for the future. The Prep School enjoyed a range of talks throughout the week, learning about the importance of inclusion and resistance. Senior pupils were challenged in their PE to reflect on how much they take for granted when forced to play a volleyball match without moving their legs. Senior School also enjoyed an inspiring talk on the importance of embracing others for who they are, and allowing people to be themselves without fear of judgment. They were led to reflect on how it is easy to create “in-groups”, often excluding anyone who is different on a subconscious level. 

Staff and parents have also been inspired by Claire’s amazing story this week, and we are grateful for all her hard work this week in challenging and inspiring us all.

St. Paul’s achieves excellence once again as a British School Overseas

The Independent Schools Inspectorate has just released the 2019 report about St. Paul’s, and we are delighted to share that our school is judged as excellent!

To find out more you can read the full 2019 inspection report here.

The ISI is a body approved by the British government for the purpose of inspecting independent schools in England and overseas. The inspection of the school is from an educational perspective, evaluating the standards relating to the quality of education, the spiritual, moral, social and cultural of pupils among other aspects.

The key findings of this last inspection at St. Paul’s were that both the quality of the pupils’ learning and achievement and the pupils’ personal development at St. Paul’s are excellent. According to ISI 2019 report, St. Paul’s:

“promotes principles which enable pupils to develop self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence; distinguish right from wrong; accept responsibility for their behaviour; contribute to the lives of others; and gain knowledge and respect for public institutions in England and for the responsibilities of Brazilian citizenship”.

“We know just how rigorous this process is, and how high the standards are that need to be achieved.  For this reason, we are very proud of the outcomes of this report, which certifies that St. Paul’s meets all the highest standards as an independent school”, says Ms Louise Simpson, the school’s head.

In 2012, St. Paul’s became the first South American School to be formally recognised by the UK government as a British School Overseas. Three years later, in December 2015 , the school was inspected again, and achieved excellence, thus renewing our BSO accreditation. We are delighted that we are able to maintain this excellent standard with this most recent report.