The St Paul's Programme

There are four components to the Programme:

Senior Symposium
Entrepreneurship and Involvement
Senior Scholarship

Senior Symposium

The symposium is a celebration of Senior School learning, run by students in the VIII and attended by students just starting the VII.

The VIII give talks based on the Senior Scholarships they have just completed. The talks might be about almost anything under the sun – there’s a selection of recent titles below. Inspiring, funny, off-beat, thought-provoking, they show the range of possibility in the Senior School, as demonstrated by students halfway through it.

-The Treatment of Time in the Poetry of Philip Larkin
-Potentially Hazardous: The Orbit Determination of Near-Earth Asteroid 4183 Cuno

-Florence Nightingale: Saint or Statistician?
-Building a Microbial Fuel Cell: How I made electricity from Sludge
-'No tongue but thought': The portrayal of silence in Shakespeare's women
-Unidentified Flying Objects: More credible than the British Government?
-The Quantum Vacuum: How 'nothing' could be the key to understanding the beginning and the end of the Universe
-Is anyone there? Detecting faces using Java and OpenCV
-To what extent can dance be considered a language?

-How far were women marginalised within the cultural boundaries of Mesopotamia?


As the autumn term continues students choose from practical and general sessions covering everything from personal finance to deeper cultural understanding.

The electives will change each year, but this year’s list gives an idea of the types of courses available.

  • Anthropology 101
  • Basic first aid
  • Codebreaking, ciphers and the art of cryptography
  • Creative writing
  • Exploring the Renaissance world-view
  • Fashion and sustainability
  • First steps in coding
  • From Machiavelli to Berlusconi: a look at the heroes and villains who have made Italy
  • Hidden history: a story of music through four women composers (season I only)
  • Language change in a technological world (season II only)
  • Life writing
  • Mindfulness
  • Multilingualism in the 18th- and 19th- century Russian nobility
  • Music and nationhood
  • Pop, pills, protest and permissiveness: approaches to the 1960s
  • Practical personal empowerment: expressing the self through voice, breath and the body
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Reading the (inter)text
  • Sisters are doing it for themselves: a story of pop music through four classic albums by women (season II only)
  • Splaining: an introduction to feminism and gender politics
  • Study design and quantitative analysis of data
  • Studying psychology: "Can you read my mind?"
  • The fascination of what’s difficult: reading the graph of desire
  • The history of Japan: the Heian Period, 794-1185 (season I only)
  • The history of Japan: the Tokugawa Shogunate, 1603-1868 (season II only)
  • The leadership toolkit
  • Topical issues in linguistics (season I only)
  • Truth, “fake News,” and objectivity
  • Who are we and where did we come from? An exploration into human evolution
  • Why are we obsessed with mindfulness? (season II only)
  • ‘Woman is a temple over a sewer’ (Tertullian). Medieval misogyny or historical fact?
  • Women's health, sex and wellbeing

Entrepreneurship and Involvement

In the spring term, the focus moves to social and commercial entrepreneurship, with girls working in teams and collaborating with external partners. In concert with business and charities the teams will tackle challenges only now coming over the horizon, and seek inventive real-life solutions to real-world issues.

Partners will range from dynamic start-ups to major global companies, who are all interested in introducing change to the way we work and take social responsibility.

Speakers will share their experiences: YouTube content creators, inventors, entrepreneurs and charity leaders. It is a taste of the working world, and will allow you to develop team and presentation skills to support your studies at school and university, and to help you in the working life that lies beyond.

Senior Scholarship

Having seen what is possible during the Senior Symposium, with a wonderfully diverse range of talks from students a year above, once the summer begins it is over to you. This is your chance to shape and complete a project of your own.

There are all sorts of Senior Scholarship; you can read the work of some recent winner here. Some rough categories might be:

-Research project leading to an essay
-Fieldwork or practical work leading to a report

-Artefact creation leading to a piece of creative work: anything from performance, to computer programme, to a film, music score or other piece of art

However, there are no limits to the choices you can make. Over the term you’ll have access to supervisions to guide your thinking and help with research, but whatever you make or write or discover will be yours alone. Work can be completed in the summer holidays ready for the conference in September: your chance to inspire the generation who follow you.

Those studying three subjects in their second year may continue with the programme, making new choices and retaining the breadth of vision and scope that characterises all senior school study. No matter how many of the elements you experience, each part of the programme will help you develop the confidence and independence to thrive at university and in whatever lies beyond.