Lonsdale Road, London SW13 9JT
Profile: St Paul’s Junior School (formerly Colet Court) is a boys’ only preparatory school that forms the preparatory department of St Paul’s School in Barnes, one of London’s top secondary schools. Boys attend St Paul’s Junior from age 7 to 13, at which point they transfer to St Paul’s School (unlike some other prep departments of highly selective senior schools, boys from the Junior school do not need to sit an entrance exam to move up to the Senior School). Along with Westminster Under, it is one of the most sought after prep schools for parents who value high academic achievement. St Paul’s Junior is located on beautiful and spacious 45 acre grounds in Barnes, just across Hammersmith bridge, enabling it to offer a wide range of individual and team sports a stonethrow from Thames river. The buildings of the junior school themselves are not as modern or impressive as the website suggests though – clearly, the value of the school lies in the pupils and the quality of its teachers rather than the classrooms.
As a large school with 430+ boys, it provides a wide range of extracurricular activities with known strengths in music and drama, as well as competitive sports. Artwork on display at the school is also impressive. Notable examples of opportunities open to the boys are a rugby and football tour to South Africa, a recent trip to NASA space camp, a science trip to Iceland and an impressive array of mathematics medals won by the boys.
The ISI inspection of the school is very positive, highlighting high expectations and outstanding teaching, as well as praising the school for providing a rich extracurricular programme and outstanding pastoral care. If you follow the press carefully, you will find this was not always the case in the past. When you visit the school, you will see that thorough anti-bullying education is prominent at the junior school.
New Headmistress Maxine Shaw has joined in September 2016 from Hazelwood Prep in Surrey.
Admissions: Entry into St Paul’s Junior School is highly selective and takes place via competitive 7+, 8+ and 11+ exams, with 36 boys admitted into two forms at each stage. Boys may be registered for St Paul’s Junior School from their fourth birthday. The closing date for registration is 14 October in the year prior to entry. For the 7+ exam, candidates are invited to sit tests in English, Mathematics and Reasoning. The Reasoning test results are weighted according to age. The school provides a suggested reading list and a maths syllabus for parents who like to know what to expect from the selection procedure. It is obviously one of the most competitive prep schools to get into, and only boys who are performing comfortably ahead of their age group and are top of their class are likely to be successful here. A Head’s recommendation from the previous school is sought. The school very much looks for highly curious and engaged boys who love learning and ask questions. Due to its competitive nature academically, new Head Mrs Maxine Shaw also emphasises that boys who thrive on challenges and competition would do well here, while boys who are happier always being top of their class may be in for a shock upon joining.
Exit Results: All boys are generally expected to proceed on to St. Paul’s School, and a great majority of them do. This offers parents a peace of mind regarding their sons’ future education following preparatory school. The school does state that it provides recommendations and support for pupils who need to transfer to a school other than St Paul’s if necessary due to parental circumstances, but it is considered an exception.
St Paul’s Junior has a good relationship with other senior schools, such as Eton and Winchester, and will support boys with appropriate references and recommendations.
More on life after St Paul’s Junior School can be found on the school’s website.