St. Paul’s School: Exploring Education to the Core

The school aims to promote education, and the intellectual, spiritual, and physical development of young people.

Unveiling the History

St. Paul’s School was established in 1926, exclusively for the British community of expats. Its extraordinary curriculum reflected the fact that more British children were choosing to complete their education in Brazil rather than return to the UK. The school has now grown to be a large British international school with just over 1,000 pupils. Initially the school taught girls and boys separately; later it developed to become a fully co-educational school.

St. Paul’s offered boarding facilities for its pupils from 1926 to 1967 and in the 1960s and 1970s the school became a co-educational day school for pupils aged 4-16. In the following decade, in response to a demand for preparation for university entrance in Brazil and overseas, the school registered with the São Paulo education authorities as the Escola Britânica de São Paulo. It later went on to introduce the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

The Fundação Anglo-Brasileira de Educação e Cultura was established in 1951. This changed the school’s status from that of a limited company to a foundation governed by a Board of Governors and overseen by trustees. It provides crucial support and structure for the school community.

Sixth formers first received their Segundo Grau certificate in 1983 and first IB Diplomas were awarded in 1987. The school has around 90 years of solid history during which it has earned its strong reputation as one of the foremost academic establishments of its type, capable of holding its own with the best in Brazil, Latin America and the UK.

In 2018, St. Paul’s School celebrated its 92nd birthday, together with HM Queen Elizabeth II. The school is proud of its history; its strong heritage and contemporary approach combine to drive it to strive for excellence in everything.

Contributors to Success

St. Paul’s has come a long way and is making consistent effort to make learning a better experience for learners.

In July 2017, and with the appointment of a new Head of Digital Learning, the school invested heavily in a six-point digital learning strategy for developing digital natives for the millennial generation. Through the implementation of the strategy, the school’s infrastructure has been transformed and enhanced, pupils have been given greater access to a wider range of devices and resources, and staff have embarked on a professional development programme to ensure that technology is effectively embedded into all aspects of the school’s diverse curriculum.

The school has been awarded the prestigious Microsoft Showcase School award and is about to receive the Apple Distinguished badge in recognition of its pioneering achievements in digital learning.

The school is continually striving to ensure that its curriculum, teaching and learning, and facilities are cutting edge and in line with best practice internationally. In the Pre-Prep School, the learning journal platform Tapestry has been fully adopted to allow staff to assess and monitor children, track their learning progress, and share it with parents at home.  The curriculum in the Pre-Prep is closely aligned with the UK’s Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). High quality children’s literature and a strong focus on language learning have enriched and enhanced the Pre-Prep curriculum, which focuses on rich first-hand experiences, discovery, exploration and learning through play.

The site has undertaken an almost continuous programme of building works over the past 20 years as it has gradually grown. This includes extensive refurbishment and extension of the original school building, and the creation of a sixth form centre. In 2014 the school inaugurated a multimillion dollar underground state of the art sports centre including basketball and volleyball courts, and a full-size heated swimming pool. In 2016 the school celebrated 90 years of excellent education by opening the Queen Elizabeth II academic centre, which houses a learning resources centre, art studios, music school with the latest recording facilities, and 10 modern science labor

The school’s branding and communications have been significantly improved and updated in recent years, with the new website and school uniform taking on a contemporary design reflective of the school’s values in a 21st century setting.

These are just some of the ways in which the school, with the support of staff members, pupils, and parents has continued to work to ensure the immensely successful reputation of St. Paul’s School today.

Distinct Academic Programmes

St. Paul comprises the Brazilian Core Curriculum, the English National Curriculum (taught in the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools using the International Primary Curriculum), and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. It exceeds the standard required for British School Overseas (BSO). These programmes are supported by a wide variety of artistic, cultural, sporting extra-curricular activities, field trips, and pastoral care. This results in a broad and balanced curriculum supported by a wide range of extra-curricular activities, which meets all local regulations as well as international standards.

The school has added new subjects to the curriculum in the last four years. At IGCSE subjects like global perspectives, music technology, visual arts, drama and communication, and media production are now studied alongside other more traditional subjects. Subjects such as computer science, Brazilian social studies, environmental systems and societies, and global politics have also been added to the IB curriculum. Changes in timetable structure have been made to allow children more choice in the subjects they study and a wider range of qualifications for each pupil.

Financial Scholarships

St. Paul’s has established a firm reputation as a place where strong innovation and tradition come together to help pupils flourish and contribute to the world as global citizens. The school has launched the St. Paul’s Foundation Scholarship Programme, aiming to provide full scholarships for especially gifted children living in Brazil to study at St. Paul’s School. It is proud to define ‘gifted’ in the broadest manner, be it in academics subjects, ports, music or the arts. The school is a not-for-profit organization and do not see itself as a charity. However, its scholars receive all the advantages that St. Paul’s offer and will in turn enrich the environment of the school with their special talents and alternative perspectives on life.

Enrichment through extra-curricular activities

St. Paul’s understand that their pupils need to learn about themselves, and learn from the global, ever-changing world they live in, and as such as an extensive enrichment programme overseen by a senior leader to ensure that the pupils’ learning goes well beyond the classroom walls. Pupils receive a transformative, holistic education to help pupils achieve their full intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative, and spiritual potential. A wide range of clubs, societies, trips, visits and sporting, musical and House activities all enhance the pupils’ vibrant learning experience.

The school’s expansive list of clubs and societies ranges from dance to astronomy, knitting to robotics, and mathematics Olympiads to debating societies. In the Greenpower project, a group of pupils design, built, and race an electric car and have represented the country at international level.

St. Paul’s is a great advocate of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, a challenging programme available to all pupils aged 14-18. It is a balanced, noncompetitive programme of voluntary activities, which encourages personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to their community.

The MUN (Model United Nations) programme exemplifies the holistic education the school offers to its pupils. It is a fully pupil-led activity that provides a unique opportunity for pupils to develop their understanding of international current affairs while honing their debating and public speaking skills as they defend different countries’ perspective on mock UN committees.

Regular drama and musical performances are organised by the school. St. Paul’s teams are successful in a range of sporting activities. St. Paul’s pupils also have the unique opportunity of putting their learning into practice on a variety of compulsory and elective school trips, both local and international. The school hosts a successful and well-attended biannual education conference where teachers and leaders come together to exchange knowledge and learn from world-renowned specialists in the world of education.

The Motto of St. Paul’s is “Strength is gained with our hands, but zeal is only acquired through our minds”.  The school aims to instill a balanced set of values in pupils, so that after leaving the school they recognise and accept their responsibilities to the society in which they live.

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