Unveiling St Paul’s School: A Comprehensive School Review

Step into the world of St Paul’s School as we embark on a thorough exploration of its educational landscape. In this comprehensive review, we unveil the essence of St Paul’s, from its academic rigour to its vibrant extracurricular activities, offering a nuanced understanding of what sets this institution apart. Join us as we delve into the heart of St Paul’s School to uncover the facets that make it a standout presence in the realm of education.

St Paul's School Review

Table of Contents

Key Features of St Paul's School

  • Local authority: Richmond-Upon-Thames
  • Pupils: 994; sixth formers: 406
  • Ages: 13-18
  • Religion: Christian
  • Fees: Day £29,685; Boarding £44,673 pa

St Paul's School Academic Results

GCSE Results (2023):

    • 96% achieved grades 9-7.

A Level Results (2023):

    • 85% attained grades A/A*, with 97% achieving A-B*.

GCSE Results (2019, pre-pandemic):

    • 96% achieved grades 9-7.

A Level Results (2019, pre-pandemic):

    • 80% attained grades A/A*.

Boarding Experience in St Paul's

Boarding at St Paul’s School offers a unique blend of educational enrichment and the vibrant experiences of London life, catering to weekly, full, and flexi boarders from Year 9 onwards, with a significant portion of sixth formers opting to reside on campus.

International Community:

    • Majority of full boarders hail from America and Asia, with approximately 60% choosing to stay in on weekends.

Boarding Facilities:

    • Two boarding houses, including the recently opened West House for flexi boarders.
    • Original boarding house offers functional single bedrooms with shared bathrooms, enhanced by a welcoming atmosphere curated by the head of boarding.
    • Emphasis on cleanliness and comfort, with attention to detail evident in the selection of homely furnishings.

Community Engagement:

    • Boys enjoy flexibility in their daily routines, with opportunities to return at lunchtime and host visitors after school.
    • Weekend breakfasts offer a relaxed atmosphere, with tailored meals catering to individual needs, especially for elite sportsmen.

Involvement in Decision Making:

    • Boarders actively participate in decision-making processes, influencing amenities and snacks, fostering a sense of ownership and community.
    • Recent additions include recreational amenities like a top-of-the-range coffee machine and a whiteboard for maths problem-solving sessions. 

Extracurricular Activities in St Paul's

At St Paul’s School, the extracurricular landscape is as vibrant and diverse as its academic offerings, providing students with opportunities to explore their passions, develop talents, and contribute to the community.

Eclectic Range of Activities:

    • From champion jugglers to cup stackers, the extracurricular scene caters to a wide array of interests and talents, ensuring that every student can find their niche.
    • Students advise against spreading themselves too thin, encouraging a focused investment of energy into a few activities they truly care about.

Volunteering Opportunities:

    • Students actively engage in volunteering initiatives, running enrichment classes at local state schools alongside their peers from St Paul’s Girls’ School, fostering a spirit of community engagement and social responsibility.

Performing Arts:

    • The school provides extensive support for performers, with top-notch facilities including the Wathen Hall and the Samuel Pepys Theatre, where students can showcase their talents in music, drama, and dance.
    • Students audition for prestigious ensembles like the Recital Choir and have opportunities to participate in orchestras, string, wind, and big band groups.

Visual Arts:

    • Art is well-resourced, with dedicated spaces such as galleries, photography rooms, and darkrooms, showcasing students’ creativity through various mediums.
    • Students have the opportunity to learn and excel in traditional and contemporary art forms, with examples of their work displayed throughout the school.

Student-led Initiatives:

    • In addition to established clubs and societies, students have the autonomy to create their own groups or participate in external competitions and events.
    • The school celebrates student achievements, from winning competitions to pioneering inventions, reflecting a culture of innovation and excellence.

Sports Activities at St Paul's

St Paul’s School offers a dynamic array of sports activities, designed to maximise training within the school day while fostering inclusivity and catering to a wide range of interests and skill levels.

Comprehensive Sports Programme:

    • Intensive and fast-paced, the school’s sports programme packs high-quality training sessions into the school day, aided by a deliberately long lunch break.
    • While sport is compulsory, participation in team games is optional, with approximately 50% of students engaging in competitive sports, with participation rates decreasing with seniority.

Diverse Range of Sports:

    • With a staggering 27 sports on offer, ranging from traditional favourites like rugby to more niche activities such as judo and ultimate frisbee, there’s something to appeal to both novice enthusiasts and elite performers alike.

State-of-the-Art Facilities:

    • The school boasts expansive sports halls, multiple fitness suites, a well-equipped pool offering family swimming sessions on Sundays, and a dedicated fencing salle.
    • Additionally, the school features its own rackets court, providing a unique sporting experience for students.

Outdoor Facilities:

    • Eleven pitches, predominantly grass, stretch across the school grounds, maintained meticulously by a dedicated team of groundsmen.
    • Built over Thames Water reservoir tanks, the pitches are managed without the use of weedkillers, showcasing the school’s commitment to sustainability.

Rugby and Rowing Traditions:

    • Rugby holds a prominent position in the school’s sports programme, with over 400 pupils representing the school across various teams.
    • Rowing, given the school’s river frontage, enjoys high visibility and success, with alumni frequently featuring in prestigious competitions such as the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, Olympic squads, and Ivy League crews.

Admissions Process: Entering St Paul's School

The admissions process at St Paul’s School is a highly competitive yet structured journey, with a focus on academic excellence and personal suitability. Each year, numerous boys vie for the limited external places available, with approximately 80 spots open for Year 9. Additionally, 104 students transition from St Paul’s Juniors seamlessly, providing continuity within the school.

Successful candidates are expected to comfortably meet academic standards, and the applicant pool typically comprises exceptionally bright individuals, with around half ranking within the top 3% nationally, as per the latest ISI inspection.

Most applicants hail from independent schools in South West (SW) and North West (NW) London. Those applying from state schools often target Year 7 entry at St Paul’s Juniors. For Year 9 entry, it is advantageous to attend a school that aligns with the curriculum covered in Years 7 and 8 at St Paul’s.

The application process typically commences with a (1) visit to the school, allowing candidates to familiarise themselves with the environment before (2) undertaking the ISEB online pre-test in Year 6. Subsequently, candidates undergo (3) additional assessments and interviews in successive rounds, with final decisions communicated within 3 weeks of the concluding assessments.

For sixth form entry, which offers 20 external places, candidates sit exams in their chosen A-level subjects, along with assessments that evaluate problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Interviews form a crucial part of the selection process, and applicants must provide an academic reference from their current school.

SEN Support at St Paul's

The academic team at St Paul’s School is able to support students with the following special educational needs:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Aspergers
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment

St Paul's School Testimonials and Reviews

Umayyah King

Very good and exceeding to the normal expectations of a school

Alex Lees

Absolutely fantastic school.


Incredible school, highest level of teaching, fulfilling community

Joshie JT7

Brilliant school

Frequently Asked Questions about St Paul's School

There are usually around 20 places available each year, so competition is very high. Students are expected to register a year before entry and the cut-off date is usually around mid to late September.

Since 1881, St Paul’s has had its own preparatory school, St Paul’s Juniors (formerly Colet Court), which since 1968 has been located on the same site. The school is included in The Schools Index as one of the world’s 150 best private schools and among top 30 UK senior schools.

School Fees
St Paul’s Juniors – Lower First to Upper Third Years£7,910 per term
St Paul’s School – Fourth to Upper Eighth Form per term£9,895 per term
Boarding Fee (including tuition fees)£14,891 per term

Among its pupils were the poet John Milton, the diarist Samuel Pepys, the astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley, and John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough.

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