Are you looking into St Paul’s Girls’ School for the next step in your daughter’s education? Find out everything you need to know about the 11 plus admissions process, and how to help your daughter succeed.
St Paul’s Girls’ School, or SPGS, is a private day school for girls in Hammersmith, West London. Since its foundation in 1904, the school has believed in the importance of educating women to fulfil their potential while giving them the skills and confidence they need to take their place with pride in the wider world.
The main entry points at SPGS are 11+ and 16+. The school has over 750 girls aged 11-18. Academic excellence is at the heart of St Paul’s, however this is maintained and enhanced by the sheer joy both girls and staff have in learning and the encouragement everyone is given to explore ideas, to challenge preconceptions and to develop their own ideas. Learning at SPGS is not just about passing exams, it is about a love of academic pursuits, inspiration and imagination. St Paul’s is highly competitive which is no surprise considering its outstanding results when it comes to higher education and university admissions. In 2019, 99.5% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 85% achieved at Grade 9. In the same year, 85% of A Levels and Pre-U were achieved at A* or A (or equivalent). Of the 2020 leavers, 38% went on to study at Oxbridge.
£8,629 per term for Year 7-13, inclusive of school lunches. A deposit of half the current termly fee is required upon acceptance of a place. This will be refunded in full against the final bill. If one or more of the people responsible for paying the fees is resident outside the UK, St Paul’s will also ask for an overseas deposit which is half of the current termly fee.
Due to government guidelines surrounding Covid-19, SPGS is currently unable to invite prospective parents and student to visit the school. You can view a virtual tour of St Paul’s on the school website. This features videos of the various aspects of school life at SPGS, you can see girls in action enjoying the facilities and hear from key members of staff. St Paul’s have announced their intention to resume tours on the 7th of June 2021 if possible, however it is worth noting these will only be available to 2022 applicant families.
Usually, St Paul’s Girls’ School offer tours during the school day for prospective parents and pupils. These are available from mid-March to the end of the Summer term each year. The tours are led by the Head of Admissions and are around 45 minutes long. St Paul’s also usually offer Open Days in the autumn term. These events include talks from the High Mistress, Director of Studies and Head Girl, in addition to a tour of the school led by current students. Parents can usually book tickets through the school website but these are currently fully booked for summer 2021.
Before registering your daughter for admission, we recommend that you and your daughter attend a St Paul’s Girls’ School Open Day. This will give your daughter a sense of what life is like attending SPGS, the facilities it offers, and a chance to meet members of staff, the Headmistress and current pupils. We have found girls who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.
Parents can apply to St Paul’s Girls’ School at any time prior to the registration deadline, which is usually the November of the child’s Year 6. 2022 applicants and beyond can apply now by submitting the application form found on the SPGS website. The application must be completed online. Candidates must pay a non-refundable registration fee of £125 unless the application is for a bursary place.
At 11 plus, St Paul’s accepts around 110 girls. SPGS is highly competitive, with many girls competing places. St Paul’s has announced it will do everything it can to take the impact of Covid-19 on girl’s learning into account in the selection process. Parents will be asked to provide details on the effect the March-July school closures have had on their daughter’s schooling, as well as contact the junior schools directly. It has also been announced that the dates for the entrance process are subject to change depending on the most recent government guidance.
St Paul’s does not give any preferential treatment for girls who already have a sister studying at SPGS. It is also worth noting this is a highly academic school, and it is not suitable for all girls.
All candidates will complete an on-screen time-limited cognitive ability test covering verbal ability, mathematics ability and non-verbal ability to identify potential. Practice materials are not provided but you can get a flavour of using the test on a computer by accessing:
Sat in late November, the online test identifies potential, covering verbal ability, mathematics ability and non-verbal ability. SPGS does not provide any practice materials for this exam, however, there is familiarisation material on the school website. We would recommend going through this so your daughter is not thrown by the question formatting. Learn more about CEM assessments.
CEM Select Assessments include questions measuring:
• Verbal Ability: Covering vocabulary, grammar and comprehension
• Numerical Ability: Covering arithmetic and problem solving
• Non-verbal Ability.
The assessment includes separate timed sections, each designed to test a particular topic. Before the start of each section, you will be told how many questions there are and how much time is available. Timing is even more important than usual in a CEM assessment, disciplined time keeping under pressure is difficult for any 10 year old and requires lots of practice. The tests are designed so that you must use all the time allocated for each section. If you reach the end of a section you will be sent back to the first question. In some sections you will not be able to progress onto the next section until you have answered all the questions correctly or you have run out of time.
The test is an hour long. It will be taken at the applicant’s current school, or at St Paul’s if that’s not possible. Parents will be told if their daughter was successful at this stage in mid-December.
Tailored tutoring could be the key to helping your daughter to stand out. From academic support to exam technique, our tutors can provide her with the knowledge and self-confidence to tackle the online test. Find out more about how Mentor can help your child prepare for the CEM assessment.
Girls who are successful in the computer assessment will be invited to sit the entrance exam in early January. This will take place in person at St Paul’s. Girls will sit papers in English, Mathematics and Comprehension. Usually, each paper is 75 minutes long, however in 2021 applicants sat a shortened 45 minute version of each exam in order to allow for safe social distancing measures to be in place. St Paul’s have not announced what version 2022 applicants will sit yet, however if possible, it is likely they will sit the longer paper. SPGS provide sample papers for their entrance exam on their website.
The English exam consists of up to 10 questions on an unseen passage of literary prose. Through close reading, girls will have to extract information from the text and comment on the meaning and effect of specific words and phrases. Some of the questions will be extended creative writing tasks based on the passage given. Girls will be examined on their ability to read, understand and respond to a text, and their ability to carefully infer meaning through linguistic effects. St Paul’s will also be looking for accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar, and a wide use of vocabulary.
The Mathematics paper is comprised of three sections all designed to identify a girl’s potential. The first section tests core arithmetic concepts, the second is problem solving questions and the third is harder, multi-part questions based on unfamiliar material. The questions are based on a wide range of maths topics, which are all parts of the National Curriculum up to KS2.
The Comprehension paper is a unique aspect of St Paul’s Girls’ entrance exam. The paper is based around a theme and is designed to test comprehension in the broadest sense and identify girls’ potential to react perceptively to a range of material. Girls are tested on their skills of deduction, inference, extraction and organisation of information as well as evaluation, comparison, identification of patterns and links, and logic. KS2 science skills may be required to evaluate the material and data presentation, no other prior knowledge is required. St Paul’s is looking for the ability to respond to a range of stimuli and draw accurate conclusions about what they are given.
This is a particularly challenging exam, and expert tutoring may be what your daughter needs to prepare. If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation, our specialist 11 plus tutors have significant St Paul’s entrance experience.
Those who are successful in the entrance exam will be invited back to St Paul’s for an interview. The interview lasts around 15-20 minutes and will take place in late January. It will be one-to-one with a senior member of staff. In 2021, the interviews were held via Zoom, however it is likely St Paul’s will be keen to get back to in person interviews if possible. The interview is an important part of the admission process. It is designed to identify natural ability and potential. Girls will be given material intended to generate conversation, interviewers will look for evidence of creativity, engagement and critical thinking skills.
The interviews will require applicants to talk about themselves; the interviewer will aim to explore candidates interests and ideas. Girls need to be able to articulate firm views on their interests and be able to justify them to an interviewer who may oppose or question them. The interview will also include questions seeking to gauge girl’s abilities in communication, inquisitiveness, reasoning and wider cultural interests. The interview is the chance for girls to show their genuine excitement and interest in SPGS.
Teachers are looking for enthusiastic, confident girls who they will enjoy having at the school, and who will make the most of what the school has to offer. Your daughter must be able to clearly articulate herself and answer the question given – rather than meander around a point. At St Paul’s, they prefer not to have girls appear over practised in the interview. If your child’s answers come across as rehearsed or planned, they will be less likely to get offered a place.
The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some girls who find it harder to express their views. So, every year Mentor runs individual and group sessions to build confidence. Focusing on interview prep and what to expect, we encourage children to develop answers and present their best self.
St Paul’s Girls’ School offer several Music Scholarships and Exhibitions at 11 plus. Potential Music Scholars will be invited to St Paul’s for a practical audition and interview by the Director of Music and other music staff. Music Scholarships are worth £1,650 per year and are based on the value of lessons in two instruments/voice. Music scholars at 11 plus retain their award for five years and will then have to apply for a 16+ (year 12) scholarship for their final two years at St Paul’s.
Music exhibitions may also be awarded following the auditions. They are worth £825 per year based on the value of lessons in one instrument/voice. As with scholarships, exhibitions are kept for five years.
To guarantee your daughter the best chance of admission to St Paul’s Girls’ School, offer her some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the SPGS 11 plus and with bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success at exams and interviews.
With more than 40 years of experience in tutoring children to gain admission to some of London’s most competitive independent schools, we at Mentor have a wealth of knowledge on how best to prepare your daughter for entry to SPGS.
Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject, the syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and all come with a wealth of experience and a great track record of success. All have up-to-date DBS certificates and references. Wherever possible we will match your daughter with a tutor who has a track record at St Paul’s themselves.
For some information on our tutors’ unique approach to testing children in preparation for exams, contact our team.
St Paul’s is known for being an academic powerhouse, consistently boasting exceptional exam results. That level of success and status generally goes hand in hand with a “hothouse” reputation, which is not something SPGS has managed to completely avoid. However, due to the highly rigorous selection process, once girls are in, they are known to flourish. Girls must have a genuine love of learning and be incredible ambitious, if your daughter is not naturally academically gifted, it is simply not the right school for her. Girls who thrive at St Paul’s are determined self-starters, who will not fall behind and who will not feel the academic pressure.
At SPGS, academic excellence goes alongside a liberal ideology. The rules are few, and the student-teacher relationships are relaxed and respectful. There is no uniform and rather than formal rules and discipline girls are expected to behave with common sense and courtesy. Despite the academic demands the girls face, St Paul’s is widely known for being a welcoming and kind community. Currently only about 12% of girls receive financial assistance, but SPGS aims, over time, is to increase that figure to 20%. Sarah Fletcher joined as the High Mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School in 2017, previously serving as Head of City of London School for 3 years.
In addition to its high achieving academics, St Paul’s offers a broad range of co-curricular opportunities for girls. Live music is never too far off at SPGS. Girls are encouraged and enthused to perform in any number the choirs, bands, ensembles and orchestras that gather. Sport is a vital aspect of a St Paul’s education; it runs an inclusive and varied programme to ensure girls with all abilities and interests will be catered to. Girls can try fencing, lacrosse, tennis, horse riding, swimming, rowing, netball, kickboxing, cross country, contemporary dance, basketball and athletics. Drama is a celebrated aspect of life at SPGS as evidenced by the spectacular performances taking place in clubs, productions and lessons. If they find the time, girls are welcome to any of the wide range of clubs and societies including Dissection, Coding, Junior Feminism, Debating, Journalism, Radio and Broadcasting and Chess.
Address: St Paul’s Girls’ School, Brook Green, Hammersmith, London, W6 7BS
Telephone: 020 7603 2288
We have many experts on the entrance to St Paul’s Girls’ School here at Mentor and are ready to guide you through the new entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your daughter gain admission to SPGS at 11 plus, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.