St Paul’s School / Daily Life

Designed to enhance their learning in physics, maths and engineering lessons, whilst also stretching the boys beyond the confines of examination syllabuses, the range of activities on offer includes:

  • External Competitions: Lower Eighth teams enter the Schools’ Aerospace Challenge each year, presenting design ideas to the RAF each year; teams from St Paul’s have twice been placed as runners-up and winners in the last five years. The Weizmann Safe-cracking Challenge is also a popular choice with Eighth Form students. Contestants have to design a safe that can only be cracked by solving a physics riddle. The UK Space Design Competition is a new challenge for Paulines this year.
  • CanSAT: Students entering the European Space Agency CanSAT competition launch research probes into the atmosphere and have achieved unparalleled success winning both the UK (three times) and European finals (twice) in the last five years, most recently in 2015. Their wins position them as the leading school in the history of the event. Lower school teams enter the UK BalloonSat competition.
  • Formula 24+: Newly founded racing teams will enter Formula 24+ and Formula 24 racing competitions in summer 2016. Teams must design, build and race their cars against teams from other schools and universities.
  • Talks: A number of high-profile speakers give students exposure to the engineering industry at large. Recent speakers have included the Chairman of Rolls-Royce plc, a lecturer from the University of Cambridge, and a design engineer from a start-up rocket engineering company.
  • Courses & Scholarships: St Paul’s students have enjoyed regular success applying for Arkwright Scholarships to support engineering interests in the Eighth Form; on average, four to six students receive a scholarship each year. Similarly, many Lower Eighth students attend Headstart Courses at leading UK universities to gain insight into reading engineering after St Paul’s.
  • Internal Competitions: Lower school students compete for their ‘Club’ in a series of internal competitions, attempting to demonstrate their engineering prowess. Other smaller competitions are extremely popular (e.g. the Christmas Chocolate Challenge!) and are often organised by the students themselves. Each year over 150 students compete in internal competitions of varying difficulties.
  • Trips/Visits: Many internal competitions lead to students winning prizes to visit external engineering facilities. 2015-16 visits include unique opportunities to visit the McLaren Technology Centre and Brompton Bicycle’s new facility.
  • Rube Goldberg: A three-week design and build Rube Goldberg project for Lower Eighth students is a particular highlight for many students and returned with great success in summer 2015. Students had to strtegically drop a certificate into a bag, triggered by the swiping of an Oyster card. The impressive four minute result was filmed and can be seen here:
SPS Rube Goldberg Machine 2015 - See how many aspects of school life you can spot!