Category Archives: School news

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!

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.

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!


Science curriculum and online learning: challenges and creativity

Our science curriculum is developed around giving pupils the opportunity to learn through discovery, and working with materials and chemicals gives pupils a more profound understanding of science. With our school moving to the online learning approach, not being able to do experiments in the laboratory has been a major challenge for St. Paul’s science teachers and has forced them to come out of their comfort zone and be creative in how they teach practical work.

One example of this is a software that is being used to create virtual experiments where pupils can have an experience of doing practical work and designing experiments, making observations and collecting data, processing the data and making conclusions from it.

Form 3 pupils are currently studying rates of reaction, one of the most practically based topics on the chemistry curriculum. Teachers used a virtual experiment software to create a lesson where pupils can add chemicals together and watch as the mass changes or volume changes and then record the data. Pupils collected their data using a spreadsheet and used spreadsheet functions to calculate the rate of reaction, and then took this data to create a graph showing the rate of reaction for different surface areas and concentrations of acid.

Of course, conducting the virtual experiment is not quite the same as doing the real thing and we can’t wait to get back to our hands-on experiences here in school. However, the key skills of observation, data collection, data processing, conclusion and evaluation are still clearly being tested, allowing pupils to develop their scientific thinking in new ways.

Remote learning at St. Paul’s: community and creativity

In English we say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and that is exactly what we have seen over the last few days and weeks in our school. Due to the social isolation determined by the coronavirus pandemic, we have just moved into our third week of distance learning, and we see that our pupils are quickly improving their own skills and resilience as they fall into a new routine. Teachers are also looking for more and better ways to connect with pupils and to support parents in the process.  Well done, Lions! We are proud to see how well the community has come together to face this issue, and to see how effective communication has helped bring us all together at this difficult time. 

Junior School

Remote learning is of course a huge experiment for primary educators everywhere and over the coming days and weeks we hope to be gaining greater confidence with the tech tools that we are using and creating content with increasing quality. It has been fantastic to see the learning flooding in from home. From PP1 to Prep 5 we have seen great engagement from pupils and families. In the Pre-Prep, we have seen home made bear caves, science experiments on how ice is made and how capacity works, and parents enjoying engaging with their children’s learning through board games and reading books together. 

Senior School

Now that the remote learning arrangements are underway, we are glad to have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from pupils and parents. We knew that our pupils, as true Lions, would knuckle down in the first days, and put time and thought into the tasks that they have been set. 

Digital leaders
Our St. Paul’s digital leaders have been providing a support service to any Senior School pupils who are having problems with technology during this period of online learning. It has been delightful to see so many of our young leaders encouraging anyone with questions or concerns to get in touch with the team

St. Paul’s to represent Latin America in the Wharton Investment Competition World finals

We are delighted to share that a group of St. Paul’s Lower 6th pupils (Lorenzo, Julia, Annie, Raphaella and Victoria), who formed the investment club Lions of Wall Street – have achieved a place in the Knowledge at Wharton High School (KWHS) Investment Competition world finals. 

KWHS has a mission to provide pupils and educators around the world with a deeper understanding of business and finance and to equip them with the skills needed to excel in the global marketplace. It is a part of the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania. The Latin America and Caribbean region competition is organized and run by the Wharton Alumni Association of Brazil.

In the competition, each team is tasked with trading its own portfolio of virtual cash over 10 weeks, using Wharton’s Online Trading and Investment Simulator (OTIS). This is to gain foundational knowledge and understanding of financial markets across the world. The competition, though, begins in earnest when teams move on to design their choice of an investment portfolio for a designated person. They had to research it considering financial, personal, ethical and wider-world issues to develop the most suitable range of investments.

Based on their unique portfolio, the teams write an in-depth report justifying their choices with sophisticated financial indicators and models. They also include personal, and group development considerations, such as teamwork, communication and hi-tech usage and are rewarded for creativity. The reports are submitted directly to Wharton where a panel of judges decide, on the quality of this content, the top ten teams in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

The St Paul’s Lions of Wall Street gained a place in the Latin America finals, out of a total entry of 60 Schools across the region. On Saturday 15th February, they were invited to give a live presentation on stage at BTG Pactual to a panel of judges, made up of prominent financiers, and in front of a live audience of Wharton representatives, local financiers, parents and peers. The competitors were judged on the quality of the investment portfolio, the creativity of delivery, and financial acumen. They also faced some hard questions from the judges.


“I am so very proud of them. These pupils spent the past six months working with dedication and determination well beyond the call of duty and outside normal class time. They were learning, designing, writing, rehearsing, communicating, collaborating, working together as a team and being fantastic ambassadors for St. Paul’s School. They worked really hard with the help of their volunteer mentor, Mrs Rebeca Ouro Preto” explained economics teacher, Mr Robert Cooper Blanks.

As a recognition of their outstanding performance, they were awarded second place in the Latin America and Caribbean regional finals and a place in the world finals to be held in May 2020, at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. All our best wishes will fly out with them when they depart.