St Paul's Girls' School

St Paul's Girls' School is an independent day school for girls, aged 11 to 18, located in Brook Green, Hammersmith, in West London, England.

St Paul's Girls' School
St Paul's Girls' School logo.png
Brook Green

W6 7BS

TypeIndependent day school
FounderWorshipful Company of Mercers
Local authorityHammersmith and Fulham
Department for Education URN100366 Tables
Chairman of GovernorsSimon Wathen
High MistressSarah Fletcher
Age11 to 18
Former pupilsOld Paulinas


Main building of the school in Brook Green area

St Paul's Girls' School was founded by the Worshipful Company of Mercers in 1904, using part of the endowment of the foundation set up by John Colet, to create a girls' school to complement the boys' school he had founded in the sixteenth century. The governors hold proprietorial responsibility, and some are representatives of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London.

The buildings for the school were designed by the architect Gerald Horsley, son of the painter John Callcott Horsley and one of the founder members of the Art Workers Guild.

The school has had several distinguished directors of music, most notably Gustav Holst (1905–34) and Herbert Howells (1936–62). Holst composed his St Paul's and Brook Green suites for the pupils at the school. Holst also composed what is arguably his best known work, "The Planets", while teaching at St Paul's. John Linton Gardner held a part-time position as director of music at the school.

Exam resultsEdit

St Paul's girls regularly perform extremely well in the GCSEs and A Levels.[1] In 2014, 99.3% of GCSEs were graded at A*s or As with 93.6% graded at A* alone. This was the highest ever A* percentage achieved by the school and in the country. In 2016, the school achieved the highest A Level results in its history with 60.0% of entries achieving an A* grade and 93.8% of entries achieving A* or A grades.

Detail of main building of the school

In the 2020 GCSE and IGCSE results, students were awarded the higher of their centre-assessed grade and the statistically adjusted calculated grade. 86% of entries were awarded a 9 grade (1% point higher than the 2019 outcome) and 97.9% of entries gained an 8 or 9 (which are equivalent to the old A* grade). In the 2020 A level and Pre-U results, 64.6% of entries attained an A* grade at A level or the Pre-U equivalent D1 or D2, while 92.4% of entries achieved an A* or A grade and 98.4% a B grade or higher (or the Pre-U equivalent).


Gustav Holst was director of music at the school from 1905 to 1934 when he died, including the period he composed his orchestral suites, including St Paul's Suite and The Planets. He was succeeded by Herbert Howells before John Gardner followed in the 1960s. Gardner wrote many memorable pieces for the school, including his popular Christmas carols Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day and The Holly and the Ivy. Hilary Davan Wetton was director of music from 1979 to 1994. In 1988 a CD with Children's favorite songs was released on the label Spectrum records.

Side view of school buildings from Rowan Road


The school's main theatre, where most school productions are staged, is named after alumna Celia Johnson. Other productions are staged in the drama studio which is a smaller space.

Bursaries and scholarshipsEdit


The school awards means-tested bursaries to students who join in Y7 and for students arriving in Y12. Bursaries fund up to 100% of tuition fees on a sliding scale depending on family income and assets, plus exam entry fees and a grant towards textbooks. Holders of 100% bursaries entering in Y12 also receive an extra package to cover additional expenses, such as the cost of sports equipment and music tuition.


Year 7: The school awards up to four academic scholarships and, usually, about three or four music scholarships to 11+ entrants (worth £100 a year; the music scholarship also includes free tuition in two instruments).

Year 12: The school may also award music scholarships to current students and to new joiners (worth free tuition in two instruments), and two art scholarships (worth £250 a year) to internal and external candidates. The Nora Day music scholarship (worth up to 50% of school fees plus free tuition in two instruments) is awarded every other year to a new joiner who shows exceptional musical potential. The school also awards scholarships worth £250 a year for academic distinction in the "Senior Scholarship", a dissertation written by students in the summer holiday following Y12.



The school has an active rowing club called the St Paul's Girls' School Boat Club which is based on the River Thames. The club is affiliated to British Rowing (boat code SPG)[2] and has produced four British champion crews at the 1992 British Rowing Championships,[3] 2002 British Rowing Championships,[4] 2003 British Rowing Championships[5] and 2011 British Rowing Championships.[6]

High MistressesEdit

The headmistress of St Paul's Girls' School is known as the High Mistress.

  • Frances Ralph Grey (d.1935), High Mistress 1903–1927
  • Ethel Strudwick (1880–1954), High Mistress 1927–1948, daughter of the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Melhuish Strudwick
  • Margaret Osborn (1906–1985), High Mistress 1948–1963
  • Alison Munro (1914–2008), High Mistress 1964–1974[7]
  • Heather Brigstocke, Baroness Brigstocke (1929–2004), High Mistress 1974–1989
  • Helen Elizabeth Webber Williams (born 1938), High Mistress 1989–1992
  • Janet Gough (born 1940), High Mistress 1993–1998
  • Elizabeth Mary Diggory (1945–2007), High Mistress 1998–2006
  • Clarissa Mary Farr (born 1958), High Mistress 2006–2017
  • Sarah Fletcher, High Mistress 2017–present

Old PaulinasEdit

Alumnae of the school, known as "Old Paulinas", include:



Culinary artsEdit



  • Myrtle Solomon – pacifist and former chair War Resisters' International


Journalism and mediaEdit




Notable former staffEdit


The school was in the news in November 2017 with allegations of sexual abuse between the 1970s and 1990s.[17] One teacher resigned on 22 November 2017 amidst these allegations.[18]


  1. ^ "Results". Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Club details". British Rowing.
  3. ^ "Rosewell, Mike. "MacLennan's attack pays off." Times, 20 July 1992, p. 25". Times Digital Archives.
  4. ^ ""The results service." Times, 22 July 2002, p. 26". Times Digital Archives.
  5. ^ ""Today's fixtures." Times, 21 July 2003, p. 32". Times Digital Archives.
  6. ^ "2011 Championships - Results of Sunday Racing". British Rowing Championships. Archived from the original on 6 December 2016.
  7. ^ Janet Gough, 'Munro , Dame Alison (1914–2008)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2012; online edn, May 2012 accessed 31 Dec 2016
  8. ^ "From Colonization to Kleptocracy: A history of Angola". International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  9. ^ Garside, Juliette; Burke, Jason (19 January 2020). "Isabel dos Santos: president's daughter who became Africa's richest woman". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  10. ^ Burgis, Tom. "Lunch with the FT: Isabel dos Santos". The Financial Times. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  11. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "EPT10 Sanremo: Salute Victoria Coren Mitchell – the EPT's first two-time champion". 21 April 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  13. ^ Alexandra Shulman Archived 6 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine Vogue UK, 22 April 2008
  14. ^ Harriet Harman: I dropped my cut-glass accent to fit in with Labour - Telegraph
  15. ^ [2][permanent dead link]
  16. ^ " – CBSi". Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  17. ^ Weale, Sally (14 November 2017). "St Paul's Girls' School in London at centre of sexual abuse claims". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  18. ^ Weale, Sally (23 November 2017). "Teacher at London girls' school resigns after claims of sexual abuse". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2018.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°29′42″N 0°13′08″W / 51.4951°N 0.2188°W / 51.4951; -0.2188