The St Paul's Programme

The St Paul's programme is a significant element of the non-examined curriculum offered in the Senior School and it is unique to the school. It takes place on a Friday afternoon when you will have no other timetabled lessons and it runs throughout the academic year. During the first two terms there is some collaboration with the senior boys at St Paul's School. There are five main elements to the programme, three of which run concurrently as a carousel with a third of the students taking part in each activity at any one time. Alongside the carousel we also run a Leadership Programme which is fully integrated with the boys' school and the Senior Scholarship which is an independent research programme.


You may choose to take two electives from a wide range that are on offer at both schools. Electives may be practical, academic or general and run over five weeks. The elective programme changes every year but recent courses include:

  • Mad, bad and dangerous to know: Madness, prostitution, homosexuality, and leprosy in the medieval world.
  • What is education?
  • American New Wave Cinema
  • Blues Music: an introduction
  • Decisions: the good, the bad and the plain stupid



In this section of the programme you collaborate with external partners who work as mentors with small groups of three or four students as you work on an entrepreneurial idea together. Through face to face meetings, Skype conferences and visits to your mentor’s place of work, you and your group will create and design your own ‘real world’ project.

Mentors change each year but have included partners from:

  • The Imperial War Museum
  • The Cabinet Office
  • Disney UK headquarters
  • The Serpentine Gallery
  • Bloomberg UK
  • Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (architects)
  • City of London Offices
  • Curious (branding agency)
  • White & Case LLP
  • ADM Group (marketing)
  • Investec Wealth & Investment
  • Allia Future Business Centre


Some examples of recent projects are:

  • Designing a creative innovation centre within a current school space
  • Planning an app to connect people with no legal knowledge to law firms. 
  • Rebranding a major fashion house
  • A website targeted at schools to educate students about personal finance in an accessible and interactive way.
  • A proposal for a day-care centre for looked after children (LACs) that promotes emotional well-being and key developmental skills.
  • Creating an art exhibition using students’ own artwork in a collaboration with the Sackler gallery at the Serpentine.
  • A proposal for replacing debit/credit cards with fingerprint technology.
  • A website which connects legal aid clinics to law students enabling law students to get work experience.
  • Developing a method to improve concentration and mental wellbeing in young children through daily 10-minute videos


Service and Outreach

Every member of the VII will spend some time in service to the local community. Opportunities are always changing but they include working in care homes, community centres and primary schools.

These placements are a valuable chance for you to gain skills, boost self-esteem and confidence and have fun while using some of your time to give very worthwhile service to others.


Senior Scholarship

In the summer term students are given the opportunity to prepare for the St Paul’s Senior Scholarship. This is where you are given supervisory support from teachers to research, develop and write on literally any subject of your choice. The scholarship can take many forms but could be a scholarly essay, fieldwork or practical work leading to a report or a creative production such as a performance, novel, computer programme or film supported by a report. The process starts with an introduction to the world of academic research as teachers who have carried out their own scholarly and ‘real world’ research share their experiences with you. Essays and projects are completed over the summer and submitted at the beginning of the VIII. Entries are reviewed by a staff committee and those students who receive awards for their scholarship are invited to a formal presentation and dinner held jointly with SPS in the autumn term.

Recent scholarship titles include:

  • Maths / computer science  - From MNIST to skynet: Investigating the applications of neural networks to handwriting recognition.
  • Chinese - Covert sexism: To what extent does the Chinese language perpetuate a bias against women?
  • English - John Clare - Northamptonshire peasant poet, egocentric or ecocentric?
  • Drama - Voicing the deplorables taking Women for Trump for the Edinburgh Fringe
  • Politics - Lessons from the Interwar period: How serious is the threat to democracy in the contemporary world?
  • History - Israel and the evolving definition of Zionism
  • Biology - Long eyelashes and autism - is there a link?
  • Physics / Maths - Could Spiderman exist in real life?


Leadership Programme

Running across the entire year you will also get the chance to learn about the various skills and qualities that are part of successful leadership. We have worked with SPS and an external provider, Anatta, to develop a bespoke joint leadership programme for both schools. The programme involves all members of the VII and L8 (L6) from both schools and consists of six workshops (one per half term). Three take place at SPGS and three at SPS.

The programme is a mixture of lecture, group work, lived experience panels and individual reflection and among other things will look at:

  • Preparing for leadership
  • Leadership agility
  • Collaboration behaviours
  • Understanding self
  • Maximising potential
  • Agility


The St Paul's Programme is a hugely exciting part of the curriculum in the Senior School and its flexibility is its strength. Each element offers something different and each part of the programme will help you develop the confidence and independence to help you thrive at university and into your future life.