St Paul’s Girls' School (SPGS) enjoys an exceptional national and international reputation for scholarship and academic ambition, encouraging its students to be leaders in a huge variety of fields. Although examination results are consistently stellar, the school chooses not to be measured by these. Students are encouraged to explore ideas well beyond the required syllabus and enjoy the pleasure of learning for its own sake in this vibrant and inspirational atmosphere. Independence of mind is much valued. On entering the marble-floored hall designed by Gerald Horsley, staff and parents describe a place ‘bubbling with a sense of fun and intellectual curiosity’, where the girls believe they can truly be themselves.
Independence and individuality are encouraged through a liberal environment: there is no uniform or house system and the organisation is managed with a light touch as the brightest minds, both staff and students, work together unrestricted by the need for a proscriptive rule book. This is a serious school but it knows how to have fun. While the students achieve the very best exam results, the pressure to succeed is managed carefully. Girls' meet daily in small tutor groups and every girl is assigned an older ‘sister’ to whom she can turn.
Competition and comparison are discouraged in the lower years as pupils find their feet in this challenging and exciting academic environment. A glance at the list of regular weekly activities and school visits shows that pupils have an extraordinary range of opportunities for a broad and rounded education. The creative arts are an integral part of the curriculum. Music is a particular strength in a school where composer Gustav Holst was the first director of music and Composer-in-Residence. Sport is also an important part of the life of the school. Many of the dozens of after-school clubs are run by the girls themselves and range from kickboxing to Dissection Club to the up-to-the-minute news and comment that can be found in iPaulina, an online magazine run by girls in the Senior School (the name used for the sixth form).
The school is situated in Hammersmith in West London and occupies a Grade II listed building in the Queen Anne Revival style. It is in the early stages of a £34.5 million redevelopment project which has recently led to the creation of a brand new Senior School centre, classrooms and sports facilities to complement the historic heart of the school. As well as incorporating the latest technology, the new buildings have allowed for outdoor spaces planned to give girls a place to pause, review, and reflect. An exciting new centre for creative technologies is planned.