St Paul's School

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St Paul’s School has a long and illustrious history. It was founded in 1509 by John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, who inherited substantial wealth from his father and used his whole fortune to endow the school, making it the largest school in England at the time.

Colet intended that his school would provide a Christian and humanist education. He was helped and advised by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, the most famous scholar of the day. Under Colet’s statutes, there were to be 153 scholars (a reference to the “miraculous draught of fishes”,John XXI, 11) “of all countres and nacions indifferently”.

The first building, sited by St Paul’s Cathedral, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the school has also survived the Plague and the Civil War. In 1870, it was one of only two day schools included by the Clarendon Commission as one of the ‘nine great public schools’ of England. The school has moved four times, initially due to the Great Fire and then growing demand, before finally settling at the present 45-acre riverside site in 1968.

Today, St Paul’s is one of the leading boys’ schools in the country. It attracts the very brightest pupils, who are able to achieve stellar examination results year after year. That is just the start. Academically, our exceptional teaching staff encourage our pupils to look beyond the curriculum, to question and challenge, to develop a genuine love of scholarship and to be fascinated by the process of discovery.

The brightest children can come from all walks of life. We remain true to Colet’s founding ambition by ensuring that pupils are able to come to St Paul’s on merit, regardless of their financial means. Currently, 147 pupils receive a means-tested bursary. The parents of any successful applicant can apply for one of the free or subsidised places available every year.

Academic study is at the heart of life at St Paul’s. Scholarship, perseverance and hard work are promoted in all subjects. But learning here is also well-supported, enjoyable and inspiring. Pupils follow a curriculum to IGCSE/GCSE and then to A Level. With the help and guidance of specialist teachers, they are encouraged to explore beyond the curriculum and push the boundaries of academia.


All pupils take these subjects to GCSE: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English Language, English Literature and Mathematics. Pupils also choose an additional five GCSE subjects: one creative subject chosen from Art & Design, Drama, Engineering (Electronics, Product Design, Systems & Control), Music and four further subjects, including at least one modern foreign language, chosen from Ancient History, Computing, French, Geography, German, Greek, History, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and Theology and Philosophy.


All courses are two-year linear courses, leading straight to an A Level in Year 13. The following subjects are available: Ancient History, Art & Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Economics, English Literature, French, Further Mathematics, Geography, German, Greek, History, Italian, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Spanish and Theatre Studies. In addition, a range of Extended Project Qualifications is offered in Year 12, including Engineering.

Whilst examination success is important, for gifted pupils we feel it is a by-product of their broader intellectual development. We encourage pupils to develop their own passion for learning, to foster a spirit of enquiry and to become increasingly self-directed in their study. Their tutors assist them in learning how to balance their academic interests with their other commitments.

Beyond the curriculum, St Paul’s provides over 80 societies, clubs and activities, from chess, cookery and film making to law, medicine and space exploration. Pupils are encouraged to join any in which they are interested and to explore new opportunities, regardless of previous experience. Our lunch break is one hundred minutes’ long, providing ample time to have a bite to eat and then rehearse a scene from a play, practise a movement of a string quartet, complete a training session on the rugby pitch or river, debate the right of prisoners to vote, or listen to the memories of a veteran pilot from World War II. All these and many more activities may take place during a lunchtime at St Paul’s. Yet such opportunities are not just restricted to the middle of the day; boys may stay after school to rehearse, practise, study or train.

Tutor groups are blocked into eight different houses, each led by their Undermaster. An inter-house competition is held throughout the year, with activities including sports, the arts, engineering and games, designed to accommodate pupils of all interests and abilities. The house system enables our pupils to enjoy healthy competition whilst forming lasting bonds with those in different year groups.

Whilst we may be a single-sex school we believe our pupils benefit from working and learning alongside girls. Hence we provide many opportunities for all our pupils to join with those from our sister school across the river, St Paul’s Girls’ School. Such activities include year group joint workshops, musical concerts, drama productions, an entrepreneurship course and volunteering programmes.

11+ / 13+ Answers, London 2023, Sixth Form Show
Further Information
Year Established:
Sally-Anne Huang
Church of England
School Setting:
Age Range:
Famous Alumni:
Edmond Halley, Samuel Pepys, Dan Snow, Rory Kinnear


Attending Events


May 2025

Independent Schools Show, Summer Fair
09:30 AM - 03:30 PM
Lonsdale Road, London, Greater London, SW13 9JT

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Nov 2024

The flagship, the original, where it all began 17 years ago. Friday 8 November and Saturday 9 November 2024 at the London Evolution in Battersea Park, London.


Nov 2024

09:30 AM - 02:30 PM
Taking place at The Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva the show provides families with unparalleled access to leading boarding schools. This November we return to this spectacular venue with 20 leading Boarding Schools.


Nov 2024

09:30 AM - 02:30 PM
Taking place at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, the show provides families with unparalleled access to leading boarding schools. This Thursday we return to this spectacular venue with 20 leading Boarding Schools.