St Paul's School

Logo of St Paul's School

Pupils Info

Gender – Boys' School
Age range – Age 13-19
Number of pupils on roll – 950 Pupils


Average Class Size: 15
Day and Boarding School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 35%
Day: £7,548 per term Boarding: £11,305 per term
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 96%

St Paul’s boys are known to be the most diligent in London. The school, placed neatly on the river in Hammersmith, has an ethos of hard work and good sportsmanship. Though the emphasis is on academia, it has strong arts departments as well as some serious sports facilities. The excellent tutoring system, relatively unique for a school, mean that boys are mentored by a single, carefully chosen, teacher throughout their school career. Perhaps it is no surprise that a school that has been around for over five hundred years, St Paul’s was founded in 1509 by Dean John Collet, who intended Erasmus to be the High Master (though he wasn’t as keen), would have learnt it’s trade by now: a staggering 35% of the boys get into Oxbridge.

Background and Reputation

Though St Paul’s school lives slightly in the shadow of it’s more successful sister school, St Paul’s Girls, it is an impressive proposition in it’s own right. The boys are serious about their study and there is an intensity to classroom life rare in school level education, yet they are also famously confident and social, and very close to the girls at both Goldolphin & Latimer and St Paul’s Girls. The school is currently undergoing a massive overhaul; since many of the buildings were built in the 60s with a limited lifespan, St Paul’s has set itself the challenge of gradually rebuilding the entire campus. The task is a daunting one, the buildings have to be replaced piecemeal as there is no extra space to move to, while getting planning permission has been an almighty undertaking. However construction started in 2011, with a swanky new building set to open about every six months.

Academic and Exit Results

St Paul’s is a high-flying school. The quality of the teaching is impressive and the classes small (generally less than twenty and less than ten in sixth form) the great strength of the school however, is the extent to which the boys are encouraged to work and enquire independently. This sets them in very good stead for university as well as producing outstanding GCSE and A Level results. Interestingly although there has been discussion, there are currently no plans to introduce the option of International Baccalaureate. The 2002 A level results were formidable, and the best in the last five years, with 55.6% of the boys achieving A stars, 88% A* or A and 98.5% A, A or B. The GCSE results were no less impressive, with an extraordinary 82.5% A, 97.6% A* or A and 99.8% A*, A or B. University admission from St Paul’s is incredibly strong, with 35% of the boys getting into Oxbridge and 100% going onto Higher Education. This is largely down to the tutoring system. The fact that the boys are mentored by a single tutor, who typically has just 3 tutees in each year, mean not just that there is pressure on the student to perform but also means that when it come to university application time, they have a someone who knows them incredibly well, can steer them through the process, and also write them a very weighty reference.

Social and Pastoral

Unlike many very competitive boys schools, there is very little bullying at St Paul’s. The boys, though encouraged to debate fiercely in lessons, are generally very amicable. Although year sizes are dauntingly large (around 170 per year), class sizes are not (around 20 until A Level when it drops to 10), this means that though it takes a while, the boys gradually get to know everyone in their year. The tutoring system, whereby students are placed in tutor groups with about 3 boys from each year, is a brilliant way of integrating all ages of the school. Boys are also divided into 8 Clubs, the day school equivalent of a boarding House. Though St Paul’s is a serious place, social life is very much encouraged, there are over 40 societies, and common rooms and cafe’s for the boys to hang-out in.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

To be on the sports fields at St Paul’s you would think that you were in the middle of the countryside. The playing fields are vast, consisting of 11 football and rugby pitches during the winter, or seven cricket pitches during the summer. There is also a a very big sports hall, a gymnasium, dojo, fencing salle, 25m swimming pool, 6 fives courts, a rackets court, three squash courts, a fitness centre, a 100m sprint straight and ten tennis courts. The really impressive thing though, is the rowing faculties: the school has a boathouse on the Thames with its own rowing tank. Like everything else at St Paul’s, sports is approached with due diligence to great affect. Their rugby team in particular is a force to be reckoned with. Art is an especially strong area in the school, the evidence of which is plastered around the campus. There seem to be no limits to the materials put into the hands of the boys, from plaster and wire to souped-up computers for installations. There is a particularly inspiring system of exhibitions in their John Milton gallery (an old Pauline), which shows work from a large range of students, teachers and guest artists. Perhaps the most fast-pace place in the school is the Music Department. Built in 1999, the music school, is always teaming with students. There are 35 practice rooms, several with some very high tech jazz equipment, as well as a recording studio. St Paul’s boasts scores of different music groups, from symphony orchestras to rock groups, all of whom are encouraged to give numerous recitals in the grand Wathen Hall. Both GCSE and A Level Music is well taught, and respected as an academic subject by the rest of the school. As a rule the Drama Department stages four productions a year, the quality of which are extremely high. Enhanced by a strong collaboration with St Paul’s girls, the range of material tackled, is unique for a school. Up to forty boys a year take drama as a GCSE, though the number drops off dramatically for A Level (interesting it is very rare for boys to go straight to Drama School after leaving, the vast majority acquiring a university degree first). Crucially involvement in the department is encouraged, whether or not drama is being take as an academic subject.


Confusingly there are two types of clubs at St Paul’s: it is what the eight houses, A-H are known as, and also what the 40 societies are referred to as. These societies meet in both lunch break and after school and would command a good entrance fee if offered to outsiders, as they are pretty impressive. Run both by passionate teachers as well as the boys themselves, things like Pegasus, the classics society, gets the best speakers in the country to come and address them; while some say the Oxford Union is nothing to Polecon, St Paul’s debating society.

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