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Open Days

Thursday 6 October:            10.00am - 11.15am

Thursday 13 October:          10.00am - 11.15am

Thursday 20 October:          10.00am - 11.15am

SPA Geog release the Geography Hoodie

The SPA Geography department are proud to release the prototype of the Geography hoodie. The aim of the hoodie is he raise the profile of the subject across the school and appeal to younger year groups of Year 7 and 8. The Geography hoodie will be supplied to the 20 Geography Ambassadors chosen after half term to represent the subject in Year 9-11. Keep your eyes on our notice board if you are interested. 

The Year 11 were kind enough when volunteering in October at Foot Cray Meadows to trial the hoodie out. See what you think from the photo-shoot below!

Kevin displays the hoodie by the River Cray.

Klaudia trials the hoodie in working conditions when using the sledge hammer to knock in stakes to the river bed.

# Where will Geography take you today?

SPA Geog Year 8-11 volunteer along Foots Cray Meadows with Thames21

The SPA Geog team Year 8-11 worked with Thames21 along the River Cray in Foots Cray meadows on Saturday. 20 students learnt about hydrology of the river whilst working to create soft engineering solutions to erosion of the river bank. Using waders the students in some areas were up to waist height when cutting fallen trees to remove them from the channel. Amy, Eljay and Franklin did superb work in this area removing the branches.

Amy and Eljay remove a fallen tree.

Whilst others were working, Year 11s Kevin and Klaudia had time to be fashion icons displaying the latest in SPA Geog clothing range; the Geography Hoodie. Please see the display board on ways you can get your hands on one of these!

The students need physical endurance when using the sledge hammer to knock the stakes into the river bed and also team work to bend the willow around the stakes. The aim was to create a willow wall to protect the bank of the river from erosion.

 Team work makes the dream work.


Placing plant mating in the river.

As you can see from below, the day was a complete success and students were able to identify key ideas on river hydrology which is the next topic to be studied in Year 9 and be recapped on in Year 11. Our rewards for hard work go to Nikola in Year 11 and Franklin in Year 8. Once again the students are a credit to the school and the community in which they volunteer their services. Well done to the SPA Geog team and Mrs Cogan and Ms Gregory for dedicating their time to enrich the lives of our students.

# Where’s your next Geography classroom?


SPA Geog 8I Sky High

Year 8H and 8I students travelled to Downe Campsite on Friday 7th October for two days of adrenaline pumping activities. The aim of the excursion was to work on team-building skills, collaboration and leadership.

Team SPA Geog Year 8

The students worked together on a range of different activities from zip wire to Jacobs ladder. On the Friday students tackled the zip line and archery before having a sing-song round the campfire. There was also the teaching of toasting the perfect marshmellow. Some students were more successful than others (see the photo of Lewis below).


Slightly toasted there Lewis!


Jason enjoying the zip wire.


Ready for the Zip Wire guys?


Sheldon shoots for the Bulls Eye.

On Saturday after a hearty breakfast in our lodge, the students embarked on their first activity of Jacobs Ladder. It was an incredible achievement for the students who made it to the top (Kyle, Joshua and Jason) and to witness the students working as a team to rise to the challenge. It certainly got the thumbs up from Kyle!

The final two activities of the day saw the students’ abseil from a tower and participate in the leap of faith. Two daring activities that the students rose to the challenge. The weekend saw these students challenge fears of height, develop lasting friendships and build skills, such as teamwork and leadership, which are transferrable to the classroom. I must commend Kyle on his helpfulness to his peers throughout the weekend. Each were a credit to the school even with the 3am Saturday morning bedtime!

Paul-Yvan enjoys the abseiling.



Figure 7- The leap of Faith.

Thank-you to all staff who gave up their time at the weekend to support the trip, especially to Mr Pinkerton, Mrs Allen and Ms Gregory. Please see the Geography Blog and SPA Geog YouTube Channel for more videos and pictures.

# Where’s your next Geography classroom?

XLP and CRED join with St Paul’s Academy for a trip to Bulgaria

What seems fitting is the slogans that epitomise the two charities that have provided the Year 11 leavers' trip to Bulgaria. In a single context of volunteering within this country, the charities have achieved something incredible, simply by providing 'positive futures for young people' and 'participation and transformation' of students into adults. In summing up this week in Bulgaria the first thing to do is to cast my mind back to selection - about 9 months ago - where XLP worked with St Paul's Academy to select the students and assist the making of their trip a reality. We have had several meetings - often related to teaching the students within the country and what to expect - but not to mention the countless fundraising endeavours to raise the money needed just for flights. Please see the school website and Geography Blog for additional photos and videos.


 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”


4am The XLP team arrive at the airport

Team XLP

The students started the week volunteering with local Kindergarten children. This was to support the Roma community that are disadvantaged in the educational system as they do not speak fluent Bulgarian and alternatively shunned by society to the outskirts of the city. The two days included the planning and delivery of lessons to the children and also weeding and painting railings and play equipment to improve the aesthetic value of the surroundings.

Miles initiates a game of tag.


Morejoy interacts with Kindergarten students.


Mauroulla paints with school children.


Laura draws with a school child.


Lauren waits with students during musical chairs.


Maria helps a student draw.


Alastiar helps colour an image.


One of the teams works with the Kindergarten children during an organised activity.


After lunch the XLP team weed and paint the railings.

The students also visit at an orphanage on the third day of the week. Unfortunately the lack of acceptance of special needs in Bulgaria meant that many children are neglected by their parents and often ended up in care homes or orphanages. The team were exceptional in improving the lives of these children through games and interaction. They also returned to Hope Kindergarten to finish painting play equipment in the school grounds.

Habeeb works with a student.


Figure 13- Francesca paints play equipment.

For the final two days of volunteering the XLP team worked with 8-15 year old teenagers in the park based on themes from the Rio Olympics. Each team embraced one of the moral values developed from the games, such as unity. On the Thursday this also included presentations to the CRED, XLP and the Roma charities at the central office in the city by the students on elements of English life.


Steve presents to the local charities on forms of martial arts.


Eric presents about cultural music and dancing in England.

Unfortunately this is a snapshot of a trip and does not do it justice. If you would like to learn more please visit the Geography Blog for a collection of pictures and videos that capture the incredible trip led by XLP and CRED to Bulgaria. We have been able to produce a movie that accurately depicts how rewarding it was. Within the video we can see our students - who are amazing ambassadors for the school - interact with Roma students (a deprived traveller community shunned by the Bulgarian society), volunteer within a kindergarten school called Hope, work with older students in a park on the Rio Olympics and with the adults when we BEAT them at penalties in football. 

Where will St Paul’s take you?



Joseph, Tiernan and 83,000 noisy spectators!

On Saturday 6th August, two of our very talented Year 7 sports men, had the unique opportunity to play Gaelic football at Croke Park in front of a sell-out crowd of 83,000 people.  Croke Park is situated in Dublin, Ireland and is the third largest sports stadium in Europe after the Nou Camp in Barcelona and Wembley in West London.  Joseph McCormack and Tiernan Dunne were selected by the PE department to represent the school and local community as a reward for their hard work and commitment to the Year 7 Gaelic football team. 

As the boys walked out onto the Croke Park pitch during the half-time break of the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals they were overwhelmed by the size of the stadium, the beautiful playing surface and the noise of the crowd.  During their visit they also had the opportunity to explore the GAA museum to learn about the cultural influence of Gaelic games in Ireland, the UK and further afield.  It was certainly an experience that both boys won’t forget in a hurry and one that will hopefully inspire them to continue taking part in sport for many years to come.  Well done boys!

Jack Petchey Young Achievers Network

In 2011, The Jack Petchey Foundation launched the pilot Achievers Network project. This programme engaged with 30 young people aged 14 -25 (Achievement Award Winners, Speak Out Finalists and Step Into Dance Finalists) and provided an intense 18 month personal learning and development programme.  The overwhelming success of the programme, has led the Jack Petchey Foundation to develop the programme further, with 2 further cohorts, and it has been transformed into a 12 month programme.  To date over 100 young people have engaged with the Achievers Network Programme, with 100% of participants stating that they have increased self-esteem and confidence.

At the beginning of this academic year, two of our Year 11 pupils, Stephen Ola-Oni and Lora Umelue, previous Jack Petchey Young Achiever’s Award winners were nominated by Mr Akif and Miss Duffy to become part of the Achievers Network.  Both students had to complete an application process, attend a number of training days and finally attend an interview in East London in order to be considered eligible for the programme.

Out of hundreds of young people who were nominated for this programme and selected to attend for interview, both Lora and Stephen were selected.  Such an achievement is truly fantastic and a much deserved accolade for two such hard-working, humble students who have always been wonderful ambassadors for St Paul’s Academy. 

Programme Outline

The training begins with a weekend residential, whereby young people build and develop friendships with their peers and undertake team building exercises.

In addition to the Residential Weekend, there are 4 training days which focus upon subjects such as Self-Esteem, Communication, Leadership, Listening and Negotiating Skills, Peer Pressure, and Time/Stress Management and Study & Revision techniques. In addition to the training sessions, each young person is provided with a skilled mentor, who provides a minimum of 3 face to face contacts, as well as long term support over the span of the programme.

Furthermore the Achievers Network are central to some of the decision making process by Jack Petchey in relation to future programmes, contributing to design and campaigns, being on interview panels, assisting with day to day work and hosting VIP guests at events, all of which form an integral element of the Achievers Network experience.

The Achievers Network Programme culminates in a Graduation Ceremony, which in 2015 was held at the prestigious offices of RBS in Central London.  This was an outstanding event, whereby all members of the network were awarded their graduation certificates in front of their families and VIP’s.

We would like to extend our congratulations once again to both Stephen and Lora on their fantastic achievement.  We wish them every success as they embark on the programme and hope that it is an enriching and fulfilling experience for both students whereby they continue to grow into mature, ambitious, high-achieving young adults.

Year 9 Students in the Fast Lane

Recently a group of ten Year 9 pupils from St Paul`s Academy have started attending offsite vocational provision at Archways Vocational College in Thamesmead.  All ten pupils are currently undertaking a BTEC Level 1 qualification in motor mechanics through which pupils are working together to build their very own working Go-Carts. 

The year will conclude for pupils with two track days during which they will be able to test their projects and driving skills. Pupils are developing key trade and craft skills which are essential for apprenticeships and industry.  Such life skills would otherwise be left untapped within the constraints of the traditional curriculum.

The importance of Vocational Education has long been stressed by Senior Leadership at SPA.  With current government agendas focusing so strongly on making subjects more ‘academically demanding’, inevitably isolating our less academically able and often most vulnerable students, this project has yet again been a positive step by the school.  Such an initiative highlights the total inclusivity of SPA in providing quality, individualised learning for all pupils and is something we as a school are very proud of.

We hope our Year 9 students continue to enjoy their studies at Archways Vocational College and look forward to seeing them in the driving seat of their very own vehicles as well as their own futures.

SPA Geog are filmed for a documentary

I am writing to inform you of an incredible achievement of both former and past students with SPA Geog and volunteering. As a result of our commitment to volunteering with Thames21 over the last 5 years, we were invited by Dorothy Leiper to take part in a documentary called ‘The Living Thames’. The aim was to show how different social groups use the Thames as a working river.



SPA Geog welcomed back some former faces including the likes of Qozeem, students from the class of 2016, and from the class of 2014- the twins Joel and Joshua.

Class of 2014 Joel and Joshua.

Class of 2014 Joel and Joshua.


 Class of 2015 (from the left Shannon, Charlotte, Joseph, and Ewelame).

Class of 2015 (from the left Shannon, Charlotte, Joseph, and Ewelame).


Current Year 11 students Amy and Klaudia.

Current Year 11 students Amy and Klaudia.

At the weekend the students picked up plastic washed up by the Thames at high tide. The film crew took footage of the students completing this activity and interviewed Michael Heath (leader of Thames21) about the relationship with St Paul’s Academy. Mr Davis was also interviewed about the importance of volunteering as a medium to show Geography in action.

A selection of photos taken of volunteering welcoming back former students and teachers alike.

A selection of photos taken of volunteering welcoming back former students and teachers alike.

After a brief introduction from the film crew, 5 former students were interviewed about the importance of volunteering (Habeeb, Qozeem, Lateef (current Year 11), Shannon and Charlotte). All of these students hold the accolade of over 40+ hours volunteering in an array of different environments. The Lawal family have completed a total of over 150 hours as brothers in Geography. All students were a credit again for the Geography team and were excellent ambassadors for St. Paul’s Academy.

Being interviewed by former wildlife presenter Chris.


Finally, a personal mention needs to written for the photography work of Zachary Fontinelle, who has taken all of the photos you see in this article. He is aspiring to be a geographical photographer and with photos of this quality we can see he will have a bright future ahead of him. Well done Zachary for your outstanding work! Zachary has chosen Geography as his future career….

#What will you do with Geography today

Examination results – Summer 2016

St Paul’s Academy are pleased to report another excellent set of examination results for summer 2016.

This is the first year that the success of the school is judged against the 4 new measures of English and Mathematics, Attainment 8, Progress 8 and the Ebacc. This means that the way our school is judged takes into account much more than students’ attainment in just 5 or more GCSEs at A* – C grades but focuses more fairly on their progress across all subjects. This is a change that we very much welcome at St Paul’s.

We are delighted to announce that 72% of the whole cohort achieved a C or above in both Mathematics and English (with 77% in Mathematics and 87% in English). A phenomenal 89% of students achieved three or more levels of progress in English and 75% achieved three or more levels in Mathematics. Three levels of progress is the national expectation which means that so many of our students have done far better than their KS2 primary school data would suggest. This is particularly pleasing as we continue to have to address the national challenges of fluctuating grade boundaries.

The second new national measure to report is our Attainment 8 score. This is the average score of students’ results across their 8 best subjects. With a very pleasing score of 50 points, we are delighted to say that every student entering a GCSE or equivalent exam at St Paul’s Academy is achieving an average grade of a top C. This is testament to the hard work and dedication given to our students by our teaching staff. The opportunities to attend holiday and Saturday booster sessions and to sit Walking Talking Mocks are a huge strength of our school. We worked hard this year to make Booster sessions more valuable by focusing on targeting the right students and making testing an outcome of all sessions. We also academically mentored many students in order to alleviate exam anxiety and to boost motivation and self-esteem.

The measure of Progress 8 is very much welcomed by St Paul’s. A student’s Progress 8 score is calculated by comparing their results with the average score of other students in the UK who started out with the same Primary school levels as them (meaning that a positive score is excellent). Although we cannot report our exact score yet due to awaiting the national data, we can forecast that our school’s result will be a positive one. St Paul’s is a fully inclusive school: we value the progress of all our students, regardless of their ability.

Of particular note, our results confirm our belief in early entry qualifications. We advocate students sitting exams early where possible, if they are ready to do so. This year, 100% of our Mathematics students who sat their exams in Year 10 had already banked A* – C (a magnificent 130 students). The picture was the same in Religious Studies with an impressive 100% of students achieving an A* – C grades in Year 10. In November, a group of 28 students sat their IGCSE English early with 100% achieving A* – C (and 26 out of 28 achieving 4 or more levels of progress).

In our current Year 10, all 45 of our BTEC Sport students who have completed the course one year early achieved A* – B grades, 42 of our 52 Religious Studies students achieved A or A* grades, 21 of our 28 GCSE PE students achieved A or A* and a significant number of Science students have now banked their A* – C grades. We continue to see the benefits of early entry where nationally the picture is that many schools are not prepared to take the risk. We think that it is motivating for students to start Year 11 with some qualifications already banked if they have been ready to do so. For our higher ability Mathematics students, their Year 10 entry created an opportunity to sit Additional Mathematics which was excellent preparation for their A-Level studies.

23% of our students achieved the Ebacc (English Baccalaureate). This is one of the new measures introduced by the government and stipulates that all students should sit English, Mathematics, two Sciences a Modern Foreign Language and either Geography or History. We do not believe at St Paul’s that this combination of subjects is the right one for all students. As a comprehensive school, we believe that ‘one size does not fit all’ and that different pathways in life suit different people. We do, however, recognise that our Ebacc combination of subjects needs to be the key priority in our School Improvement Plan.

As you may be aware, schools are very much judged on the performance of their students who receive Pupil Premium funding compared to those who don’t. We are pleased to announce that 67% of the students receiving Pupil Premium funding achieved A* – C in both English and Mathematics this year compared to 76% of those who don’t. Our Pupil Premium students achieve above the national average and with the gap being under 10%, we are confident that we are continuing to move in the right direction of narrowing the gap.

St Paul’s Academy continues to thrive as a school who value collegiality of staff and the success of all students in our school community. Our 2016 results are testament to the fact that we continue to strive to do our very best for all our young people.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

Patrick Winston

Our top 20 students

Name Grades Achieved Primary School
Oluwagbenro Soyemi 8A* 3A 1B   Notre Dame
Stephen Tipper 7A* 4A 1B   St Patrick's
Yvanah Kinsiona 5A* 8A     Alexander McLeod
Morejoy Mbang 5A* 4A 4B   Cardwell
C J Emiaso-Ogheneore 4A* 5A 2B   Plumsted Manor
Robert Pepushi 3A* 5A 1B 1C Bexley Academy
Delphie Bond 3A* 2A 4B 1C Sherington Primary
Miles Oke 2A* 6A 3B   St Margaret Clitherow
Leonie Banya 2A* 5A 6B   Bishop John Robinson
Will Ozono 2A* 5A 5B   Bishop John Robinson
Beneeta Biju 2A* 4A 5B 1C St Patrick’s
Ololade Kehinde 2A* 4A 5B   Boxgrove
Nonye Obosi 2A* 3A 6B   De Lucy
Nana Obeng‑Sabah 2A* 3A 4B 2C St Margaret Clitherow
Aminata Daboh 2A* 2A 6B 1C Gallions Mount
Vivian Orah 2A* 2A 3B 3C St John Fisher
Habeeb Lawal 1A* 6A 5B   Linton Mead
Alexandra Tweedale 1A* 6A 5B 1C Alexander McLeod
Tristan Arines 1A* 3A 3B 3C St Patrick’s
Solace Squire 1A* 3A 3B 3C St Mary Magdalene
Swanage geography trip

The SPA Geography department embark on their first National Controlled Assessment trip to Swanage

Where does Geography take you at St Paul’s Academy? After a successful year of a Shanty Town project at Downe, winning the illustrious trip to Wales, and experiencing the high-quality lectures from Citizens UK and Peabody, for Year 10 Geography it concluded in Swanage! Have a look at what the students got up to on their coursework excursion. SPA Geog #Making Geography a reality!

'We got the chance to explore nature and Geography fully, which we do not get to do often' (Fay C).

Year 10 completing a field sketch by observing Swanage bay from Peveril Point.

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Please see the blog for all upcoming trips this term from Year 7-11.

On June 24th-27th 2016 74 Year 10 students with the aid of the Geography department ventured on their first National Trip to Swanage. The students were visiting Studland Bay, Old Harry’s Rock and Swanage bay to test their controlled assessment hypothesis, ‘The management strategies implemented along the Jurassic coastline have been equally effective at minimising the impact of coastal erosion.’ This excursion involved collecting data to prove or disprove this hypothesis. The students saw an array of different Geography landforms that we had studied in class: including Swanage bay; Studland Bay Nature Reserve; and the famous landform Old Harry’s Rock.

Students collecting beach transect data at Studland Bay.


The famous landform in reality; Old Harry's Rock.

Students collected an array of different data to help with their coursework. They were able to develop new skills such as teamwork, acquiring new data collection methods (as seen below) and applying theory to coastal environments. These acquisition of skills are beneficial for future A Level subjects, not to mention sort after at Russell Group Universities, and careers such as accountancy and within Law firms.

Emmanuel recording data from footpath erosion at Studland Bay.

Wide Horizon's classroom.

The data collection at the different sites was later written up in the classroom and analysed. The students did get time to relax, which can been seen by Benga relaxing on the sand dunes. There was also time on Sunday for mass at the local Church in Swanage much to the delight of the Priest and the congregation who gave SPA a standing ovation at the end of the service. We were also fortunate to visit the famous landmark of Old Harry’s Rock on our last day at Swanage and we were able to witness some of the wonders that the Jurassic coastline has to offer.

Teaching about landform processes by Wide Horizon staff.

Sunday Mass at the local church in Swanage.


Benga relaxing on the sand dunes at Studland.

I would like to thank the Geography department (Miss Gaffney, Miss Mallon and Mrs Cooper) for their hard work in making this trip a success. Also the staff members, who without them the trip would not have run or been as easy to enjoy (Mrs Gregory and Mr Pinkerton).

I would like to extend my gratitude to the Wide Horizon staff who supported the students and staff with a high standard of professionalism and excellence. We would be sure to recommend this trip to other schools and future students.

'An unforgettable experience that will stay with me for eternity' (Amy K).

I hope this article has portrayed the future experiences you can expect from the Geography team. Please ask them about new trips or see Mr Davis for further details. Finally the last words to say have to be....

Meeting Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE

As a reward for hard work writing controlled assessment at Swanage, Lennox and Klaudia attended a lecture by Sir Ranulph Fiennes called ‘Living Dangerously’ paid by the Geography department on Thursday 30th June. The Guinness Book of Records in 1984 named Ranulph as the “World’s greatest living explorer”.

Most notably he is known for leading expeditions to remote parts of the world including navigating both poles. To date he has raised over £16m for UK charities, which gained him an OBE in 1993 for ‘human endeavours and charitable services’. He was also the UK’s top celebrity fundraiser by Just Giving in 2010.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Other impressive achievements that has led Sir Ranulph to be named the world’s greatest living explorer include:

  • First to reach both Poles (with Charles Burton).
  • First to cross Antarctic and Arctic Ocean (with Charles Burton).
  • First to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis
  • Achieved world first in 1992/1993 by completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent. This was the longest unsupported polar journey in history.
  • In 2003, only 3½ months after a massive heart attack, 3 day coma and double bypass, Ranulph Fiennes the first 7x7x7 (Seven marathons in seven consecutive days on all seven continents).
  • March 2005, climbed Everest (Tibet-side) to within 300m of summit raising £2 million for the British Heart Foundations new research MRI scanner.
  • March 2007, Sir Ranulph climbed the North Face of the Eiger and raised £1.8 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care's Delivering Choice Programme.
  • Becomes the oldest Briton, at the time, to complete the Marathon des Sables – the ‘toughest footrace on earth’ in aid of Marie Curie.

Lennox and Klaudia were able to hear the stories of Ranulph Fiennes’ adventures first-hand and how he became known as the accolade of the greatest explorer in the world. Klaudia – who is often known for her own thirst for adventure – was captivated by Ranulph and his solo navigation of Artic, especially with the story of how he used a hack saw to cut his frost-bitten fingers off in his garden shed. Lennox – although impressed with Ranulph’s adventures – considered that he would never want to navigate these areas for fear of serious injury.

Year 10s Lennox and Klaudia meet Sir Ranulph Fiennes after his ‘Living Dangerously’ lecture.

However, speaking from experience of attending The Royal Institution for the lecture, it was an amazing opportunity to listen to and meet one of my own geographical idols. I would strongly recommend researching the historical background of this role model and reading ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know’ or his UK bestseller ‘The Feature Men’ as Ranulph Fiennes is also a renowned geographical author. Both students with myself and Mrs Gregory strongly recommend attending any future lectures with Sir Ranulph as he attempts to raise £20m for charity and suggesting that there is another expedition in 2017, which bodes to be unique in its potential achievement. Sir Ranulph epitomises the vision of the Geography department by challenging the idea of classroom learning and advocating discovery of Geography in reality. So my challenge to you is….

Girls’ annual Gaelic football

The U-14 Girls Gaelic Football team have been training very hard every week to prepare for their annual Ireland tour. Often, over 35 girls attending training every Friday afternoon at St Paul’s Academy, it gave Miss Devine a very difficult task to select just 20 students for the trip. It was delightful to see so many Year 7 students involve themselves in a new sport this year and excel, many striving for places on the team. The skill level these students have shown is incredible after only playing the sport for such a short period of time and the commitment and dedication which the students give to Gaelic Football is exceptional.

Our St Paul’s Academy students in conjunction with Dulwich Harps Gaelic Football Club departed on the morning of Saturday, the 9th of July, 20 girls accompanied by Miss Devine, Miss Buckley and Mr Meade. The girls flew into George Best Belfast City Airport and enjoyed their first day relaxing with some lunch, soaking up some atmosphere in Belfast City Centre. The girls visited City Hall and had a chance to shop in the Castlecourt before departing. At 4pm, the girls’ team arrived at their very welcoming host club, Cavan Gaels. Greeted with big smiles and our club colours, we knew from the outset, we were going to have a fabulous time!

The first adventure in Cavan took place in Kingspan Breffini Park, with our students going to watch one of the GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers- Cavan Vs Carlow. A wonderful experience for the girls and a first for many of them. They certainly made themselves noticed, many of the girls involving themselves in the game, chanting and cheering for the home team! Our girls had a chance to mingle with our host team before going back to Terry Coyle Park, home of Cavan Gaels for some food and evening entertainment! After a few games of darts, pool and table tennis, our St Paul’s girls in true style showed off some of their infamous dance moves to the locals! Plenty of laughs were had before the girls departed back to their host houses for the evening.

After recharging the batteries with plenty of sleep, our girls made their way back to Terry Coyle Park for the 4 team Tournament which the girls had been eagerly anticipating. The girls played 4 games in total, two 15 aside and two 9 aside games- the first contest was against our host team, Cavan Gaels. Our girls put up a good fight after a tight first half scoring 2 points against Cavan Gaels 1 point. After the half time team talk, hard work and determination saw the girls come out on top, winning 2-5 to 0-1. Our next game saw St Paul’s Academy split into 2 teams, the girls played their socks off, but were unfortunately were narrowly beaten in both games by Baileboro and Ballyhaise. Both 9 aside games were played with great spirit, it was excellent for our girls to get such experience in all three games, playing against teams of this calibre in Ireland.

The final game of the day saw St Paul’s Academy take on an All Star team, comprised of players from the other two visiting club teams, Baileboro, Ballyhaise and our hosts Cavan Gaels. The game was tight from start to finish, with every player on the field giving their best. With the school motto instilled in our girls, LINOA (Losing Is Not An Option!), they fought hard to the bitter end. The game resulted in a draw which thankfully kept both teams happy! Some fine displays of football came from Alex Barnes in midfield, Sheilla Idehen up front and Shana Ajufo our half back, however, the player of the tournament on the St Paul’s side must be awarded to Tarila Yinfaowei with her super saves in goal!

On Sunday evening, our team were treated like royalty once again, fed like Queens in the club house before heading off to the local bowling alley for some down time. Afterwards, girls had the option to catch the European final, play pool or table tennis or just hang out as they wished with their host families. Again, the evening was finished off with some song and dance, before presentations were made to both clubs. St Paul’s Academy presented Cavan Gaels Mark Leddy and Sophie Graham with their plaque in appreciation for all the hard work and effort which the club had given to making this such a memorable weekend. Cavan Gaels very generously presented Miss Devine, Miss Buckley and Mr Meade with a framed Cavan Gaels club jersey which will take pride of place at St Paul’s Academy. A lovely memento which the school will cherish for years to come.

On Monday, our girls said their ‘Goodbyes’ to their new friends and wished their host families well. So many lovely comments were made throughout the weekend about how polite, well- mannered and behaved our pupils were, a credit to the girls themselves, their families and teachers.

Monday saw the girls make their way to Croke Park, not just for the stadium tour but the the Etihad Skyline tour. This offered the girls panoramic city views and insights into Dublin’s celebrated landmarks combined with the thrill of walking on top of one of Europe’s largest stadiums.

Special thanks must go to Mark Leddy (Cavan Gaels U-14 Coach) for establishing the link between the two clubs and for working so hard to arrange the visit, Noeleen Tully, (Secretary of Cavan Gaels LGFA), Sophie Graham, (Chairperson) and Niall O’Riordan for their relentless help throughout the weekend. A massive thank you must go to all of the host families from Cavan Gaels, who looked after the team and teachers so well throughout the weekend. We are forever grateful to all those individuals who facilitated in any way- for their time, organisation and preparation to ensure the weekend was a massive success for all involved. Thank you to Miss Buckley and Mr Meade for their support throughout the tour.

Last but certainly not least, a massive well done to all the girls of St Paul’s Academy who represented the school so fantastically on their trip. They were an absolute pleasure to have on tour and every one they met commented on how charismatic and charming this group of girls were! To come over and compete against girls who have been playing the sport for years and to play so well is an amazing achievement! You have made St Paul’s Academy very proud! Well done ladies!

Eadaoin Devine

Nightline hike with wide horizons

I am writing to inform you of an incredible achievement by some of our Year 9 and 10 Geography students. They entered a competition called Nightline by Wide Horizons, which involved the students walking 30 miles overnight to raise funds for disadvantaged children to attend outreach programs with the charity. It would mean children who are economically deprived could attend trips like our competition win to Wales.

Year 9 team (from the left Emmanuel, Wojciech, Shanelle, Finlay, Sammy, Lilly, Phoebe, Nosa and Faith).


The Year 10 team (from the left Amy, Eljay, Taniesha, Joshua, Lateef, Folarin, Keoin, Kevin, Steve, Mateusz and Hugo).


Walking from Eltham through Avery Hill Park.

At the weekend we witnessed great team performances; England football team beating Wales 2-1 and the Rugby team winning their first ever series in Australia. The weekend was also commendable by the St Paul’s students in Year 9 and 10 showing the same values of teamwork, leadership and perseverance to achieve an incredible sporting feat.

Hugo, Kevin and Alain leading fron the front at approximately 9pm.

After a brief introduction from the Wide Horizon team, the students embarked from the start at Eltham and walked at a blistering pace of 3.5 mph. The students travelled through Chislehurst, Sidcup, the volunteering sites along Foots Cray Meadows (seen above) and to their first stop at Bexley Cricket Club.

Dusk along the River Cray.

Resting for approximately 20 minutes to refuel with the array of different snacks and drinks provided by Wide Horizons we ploughed on through Bexley Village. The journey suddenly became real for the students when the light diminished and we entered Hoxton which was the rural fringe to Dartford. As we approached the halfway mark the students were in excellent spirits. I was particularly impressed with the front runners (Keion, Lateef and Eljay) who led the way and maintained our speed of over 3 miles an hour. Similarly, the students worked hard to support themselves by carrying bags and providing supporting comments. I was particularly impressed by Finlay, Taniesha and Emmanuel – to name a few – that had never walked further than 3 miles and yet we found ourselves enjoying a hot beverage at 1am at the half way mark. What an achievement!

Having a break and a kit kat.


Fields of poppies at midnight in Eynsford.

At the mid-way point we refuelled on a balanced diet of Lucozade tablets, sugary hot beverages and chocolate. Although there were now tired legs the students were determined to tackle the next phase of our adventure; the hilly North Downs. What made this part of the Nightline hike such a challenge was the lack of lit and designated pathways, the undulating terrain and obstacles such as thick mud and rivers to navigate through. Our pace slowed and we made our way to the 21 mile marker. I must admit that at this point some of the staff were huffing and puffing.

Farningham at sun rise at 4.36am in the morning. A well-deserved rest before we reached the next Wide Horizon's pit stop.

It is without a doubt, a tremendous accolade to achieve a challenge of this magnitude without training. 20 students reached the 21 mile marker navigating through undulating terrain, rivers and often limited light, except for the glow sticks directing our route. At this point the students had walked from Eltham to Shoreham village Hall. This distance is portrayed by the selection of the route below. If you would like a full description of the route please click on the links:

· Download an OS Map of the Nightline route here

· Download a Road Map of the Nightline route here



A selection of the route until the 21 mile base in Shoreham village.

A further 10 students walked with Mr Davis, Mr Eldridge and Ms. Gregory to tackle the hilly final 9 miles of the route. This included two hills over 200 metres above sea level and certainly proved a challenge when legs were tired and we were entering our 10th hour of walking. Nonetheless, the students worked cohesively and showed the staff why we have some many amazing young people in our school. The students achieved the unthinkable from the beginning of the evening the night before and recorded a time of 11.5 hours with rest breaks to reach 30 miles (50km).



The end which included a steep hill at Wrotham Hill Park.


40km out of 50km (24 miles).


Our position at 8am on Sunday morning.


Joshua and Amy at 48km.

Congratulations to all students for their tremendous achievement and I hope they thoroughly enjoy the Nightline Hike. What is especially commendable is the fact that these students have raised over £600 (including gift aid) for the charity and proved yet again that Geography students are a credit to the school and assets to our department. The students raised this to support disadvantaged students being able to attend outdoor learning experiences at Wide Horizon Centres. These students are marginalised from these spaces due to socio-economic status. If you would like to donate to our students please follow the link below:

My thanks to Miss Gregory, Mr Elderidge and PC Verrall for their dedication to this event outside of curriculum time. Similarly, well done to the Wide Horizons team for a fantastic and well-organised event. See you next year!

Team St Paul's.

Division 3, All Ireland Champions, 2016!

John West Féile na nÓg is a Club festival for Gaelic football and Ladies Gaelic football at Under 14 level, involving teams from across the Association. The John West Féile na nÓG National tournaments this year were held in Kerry, West Limerick and West Cork on this occasion, South London competed in Division 3.

The South London team departed on Thursday morning, 20 boys accompanied by Mr Winston, Mr Maher, Mr O’Donoghue and Mr Smyth. The boys enjoyed their first evening relaxing in a Limerick Farmhouse before the big group stages on Friday. The rest of the trip would see the South London boys being hosted by Fr Caseys GAA club in Abbeyfeale. Atta Gyedu, one of the team’s star players, joined the rest of the team accompanied by Miss Devine on Friday morning after picking up an award for his football success at Cray on Thursday night.

With a positive attitude from the get go, the South London boys took on Butlersbridge from Cavan in their first group game. With a final score of 0-5 to 0-2, the boys set the standard for the competition with their first victory. Game two of the day- Newcastle West Vs South London, the boys had a comfortable win with the score line reading 2-6 to 0-2 at full time. On Friday night, our host club Fr Caseys prepared a delightful feast for both sides. Teams, families, mentors and players enjoyed socialising in the evening, many of our South London boys provided song and dance which proved a hit with the locals!

Saturday saw South London take on our fantastic host club, Fr Caseys. The game was played with great heart and spirit but South London dominated throughout. The final score line truly reflected the hard work the South London team put in, 3-4 to 0-5, leaving London in a very promising position entering the Quarter Finals.

Played in Dromcollogher, the Quarter Final saw South London compete against Kanturk. With a jersey clash, our boys had to play in red and amber, however, this did not deter them! South London controlled the game from start to finish with some fantastic performances displayed throughout, the game finished 4-5 to 0-1. Buzzing with the result, the South London team made their way back to Abbeyfeale for a BBQ and disco with the Fr Caseys host team! Again, a fantastic night was had by all, our South London team entertained on the dance floor and even tried a spot of Irish Dancing! Plenty of laughs were had and new friends made! South London did not stay out too late however as preparation for the big Semi Final was well underway!


South London Vs Naomh Éanna in the much awaited Semi Final was played at state of the art facilities in John Mitchells, Ballyseedy. The game was intense from the first whistle to the final whistle, a big Naomh Éanna crowd made plenty of noise on the side line, but our boys did not crumble under pressure. The South London side fought hard and defeated the competitive Naomh Éanna side. Final score line, 3-4, 1-3. All Ireland Final here we come!


Set out at the beginning of the Tournament, the aim was that the South London boys would make the All Ireland Final and they certainly did not disappoint! Players, mentors and spectators from all round gathered to watch this eagerly anticipated final! Dublin Champions, Lucan Sarsfield were up no doubt up for this game, chanting their team name loudly, evidently fired up before the ball was thrown in the air! The first half was a battle but the Dublin champions finished narrowly in front.





Coming from 2 points behind at half time, the South London boys worked tirelessly in the second half to earn their much deserved victory! South London put in a superb team effort which could not be faulted. Some outstanding performances on the day were noted by Sahid Kamara who was solid in defence, Samuel Adenola was exceptional in the middle of the field, Samuel Braddick confidently added to the score line, however, the hero of the day was Armani Orji who scored the winning goal to secure the All Ireland Feile Division 3 title! The commitment and dedication that these boys have given to Gaelic Football is highly commendable. The tears in the player’s and mentors eyes when the final whistle was blown just sums up how much this experience meant to the boys. To win the tournament was just the icing on the cake! 

All in all, a terrific weekend was had by both players and mentors. Many teams, managers and players commented on how well drilled and prepared the South London team were. Host families remarked how politely mannered and behaved all the boys were and what a delight it was to host them for the weekend.


Special thanks must go to Maurice O’Connell and all of the hosts from Fr Caseys from Abbeyfeale, who looked after the team and mentors so well throughout the weekend. We are forever grateful to all those individuals who facilitated- for their time, organisation and preparation put in to ensure the weekend was a success.


Congratulations to the all the boys (18 from St Paul’s Academy and 2 from other London Clubs) and to their very successful management team of Mr Maher, Mr O’Donoghue, Mr Winston and Mr Smyth.


Mr Maher and Mr O’Donoghue have given a lot of their own time, many late evenings and weekends, training twice a week to prepare these boys appropriately for the Feile. This recent win has brought our total to 4 All Ireland titles in 6 years, an amazing achievement and has made all the hard work worth wile.



Well done boys- an amazing achievement! You have made South London and St Paul’s Academy very proud!

Miss Devine

Jack Petchey Awards 2016

Monday 6th June saw 9 of our students attend the annual Jack Petchey Awards Evening for the Borough of Greenwich.  This year the event was held at the O2 Cineworld which proved a fantastic venue for the awards.  The evening is a chance to celebrate and recognise the hard work and achievements of young people as well as adult leaders throughout schools in the borough. 

Entertainment was provided throughout the evening including a performance by two of our very own Year 10 students, David Adeogun and Bridget Akintunde-Philips, who sang a beautiful rendition of their own gospel song.Listening to the talent, hard work, dedication and achievements of our young people at St Paul’s, as well as in our neighbouring schools was heart-warming and something which we as a school are very proud of. 

The following students, alongside Miss Duffy, a teacher of Physical Education at SPA received achievement awards for their hard work and commitment in the following areas:

Stephen Ola-Oni (Year 10)

Hard work and dedication to our Health and Well-Being Club and Sports Leaders Programme.  Stephen is described as a ‘born leader’.

Nana Gyedu (Year 8)

The highest amount of positive behaviour watch entries in Year 8 as well as a high achieving sportswoman in a range of activities including athletics and netball.

Laschar Williams (Year 9)

Commitment and dedication to her English studies.

Dennis Johnson (Year 10)

Outstanding progress and achievement in Science.

Daniel Abeshin (Year 11)

An inspirational volunteer within Dance and a vInspired Student Ambassador.

Lora Umelue (Year 10)

Outstanding Health and Well-Being Ambassador, Sports Leader and vInspired Student Ambassador.

Miguel Manalili (Year 10)

Continued dedication to the community of St Paul’s Academy.

Aakash KC (Year 10)

Consistent hard work and achievements in maths and statistics.

George Zuhlke (Year 9)

Hard work and never ending positive attitude.

Miss Duffy (PE Teacher)

Received a Jack Petchey Leader Award for her dedication to Netball at St Paul’s and establishing the first ever Greenwich School’s Netball League, providing girls in years 7 to 11 across the borough with opportunities to compete in regular netball fixtures and engage in increased physical activity.

Well done to all of our awards winners.  We are very proud of all of your achievements and look forward to hearing about your future successes.  Keep up the fantastic work!

Nana Gyedu is selected for London Schools’ track and field team!

Year 8 pupil Nana Gyedu has recently been selected to represent London at the English Schools Athletics Championships in Shot Put. The junior girl division is made up of year 8 & 9 pupils, and Nana is the only junior girl to be selected from the whole of London for Shot put!

Knowing there are only 60 places on the London team, made up of junior, intermediate and senior boys and girls from across London, the selection process was always going to be tough, but Nana took this in her stride. At the London Championships held at Battersea on June 22th, Nana threw a personal best of 10.37m but this was just short of the selection mark. Two days later at the year 7 & 8 London Schools Championships, Nana knew she had to do something special to gain a place on the team. Pulling out all the stops and with grit and determination Nana threw a new personal best of 10.76m - massive 39cm over her old PB!! This meant Nana had met the entry standard for the team and would need to wait and see where she ranked. Overall out of all the London athletes who gained entry standard, Nana ranked 3rd best for her achievement in shot put and bagged her spot on the team.

This is an absolutely amazing achievement for such a young athlete and we are very proud of all Nana has achieved to date in athletics. Nana will travel with the team to Gateshead on 8th and 9th of July to compete against the best in the country. We wish her the best of luck and will keep you posted!!

Miss Stone

PGL Residential Trip – ‘Forming Friendships and Facing Fears’

For the first time in a number of years our Year 7 and 8 pupils were given the opportunity to attend a three day outdoor education residential trip, delivered through PGL, from Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd June.  36 pupils travelled to Marchants Hill in Surrey alongside Miss Duffy, Miss Stone, Mr Innocent and Mr Crinnegan.  Our pupils were spoilt for choice as each day was jam packed with activities, offering pupils the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of new challenges.

Arriving at midday on our first day of the residential trip, after eating some lunch and meeting our leader who would stay with the group for the remainder of our stay, the group jumped straight into their first activity.  Pupils took part in quad biking and the PGL ‘Giant Swing’.  Such activities gave our pupils the chance to develop their problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills as well as overcoming existing fears of heights on the Giant Swing.  Miss Duffy for one certainly overcame this fear when the pupils very cleverly persuaded her to try this activity.  Needless to say she didn’t ask to engage in it a second time round, once was enough!  After the main activities of day one staff and pupils finally settled into their rooms before sitting down for their first meal together.  The entertainment for the first evening consisted of a campfire where pupils got to sing songs and toast marshmallows.  However, this was no normal campfire sing along as our pupils characteristically, in true SPA style put their own stamp on proceedings, engaging in their own original sing songs and dancing to some of their favourite afro beats.  The PGL leaders who were with the group definitely left us after our trip more cultured and exposed to new characters which was brilliant to see too.

Rising early on the morning of day two, a few sleepy heads in tow, we made our way to breakfast where pupils were presented with an array of options to cater for every taste and preference.  With our bellies full everyone split into their activity groups once again ready to engage in another action packed day of activities.  Day two saw pupils participate in activities such as zipwire, archery, trapeze and a very muddy challenge course.  The zipwire and trapeze encouraged students to develop key aspects of their resilience such as problem solving, the ability to persist and continue to try and overcome a challenge in the face of adversity as well as manage their emotions and ask for help where and when required.  Pupils enjoyed learning a new sport in the form of archery, however, we think it’s safe to say that unfortunately we have no Robin Hood’s in our midst!  The final activity of the day saw pupils (and staff) faced with their toughest challenge yet, the muddy obstacle course!  A mini-version of the popular tough mudder course, pupils were faced with climbing over and crawling under a range of obstacles while surrounded by mucky puddles at every turn.  Following the first task of simply rubbing mud all over their faces, all barriers and apprehensions were quickly broken down and considered a distant memory as pupils and staff got totally stuck in and enthralled in the activity.  Rolling around in the mud, jumping in giant puddles and the odd handful of mud thrown here and there (mostly by Mr Crinnegan and Mr Innocent), everyone was totally caked in muck from head to toe.  However, what shone through were the smiles on every single student and teachers face after engaging in such a unique, uninhibited and exciting activity.


Needless to say there were a few showers that needed to be taken and clothes rinsed out following this activity.  With all of our clothes hung out to dry outside our cabins and everyone washed and squeaky clean once more, the group were able to sit down and enjoy their last evening meal together.  The final activity of the day saw Mr Innocent transform into our resident house DJ and entertain everyone at our very own SPA disco.  Pupils and staff enjoyed an evening of fun, dancing and laughter before settling in for our final night at our resort.  Having engaged in so many activities throughout the day, the fun, excitement and fresh air took its toll on pupils as, unlike the first night, this time round pupils quickly drifted off to sleep to the delight of staff.

Waking early on the final morning of our trip, pupils quickly packed and prepared themselves for the events of the final day.  After eating breakfast and splitting into their groups, pupils took part in both a low ropes challenge as well as a range of sporting activities such as rounders and rugby football.  Ensuring we sat down together for a final time to enjoy a lovely healthy lunch, we were then soon ready to depart and return home to St Paul’s.  As pupils boarded the coach and we set off it was evident to see how much pupils enjoyed and benefited from their experiences during this trip.  On our way home it was fantastic to listen to pupils recall fond memories of activities they had engaged in or enjoyable and memorable moments they shared with one another.  Such an experience has helped pupils to engage with each other much more, form new friendships and strengthen existing ones as well as develop a mutual respect for one another. 

All pupils who attended the trip were fantastic ambassadors for St Paul’s Academy and displayed exceptional behaviour throughout which they should be commended for.  A special thanks must go to Miss Stone and Miss Duffy for the planning and organisation of the trip as well as Mr Innocent and Mr Crinnegan for their help and support in the lead up to and during the trip itself.  Due to the overwhelming success of this trip it is hoped that a residential trip like this can be offered to pupils on an annual basis.  Getting the opportunity to engage in new activities and grow in an environment beyond that of the classroom and realms of St Paul’s is invaluable to ensuring our pupils holistic development as well as providing them with lasting memories which they will cherish.

View the photo gallery.

Miss Duffy

Year 7 Health and Well-Being Day

As lead school for Health and Well-Being in the Greenwich Borough, our Year 7 students celebrated our ‘Health and Well Being Day’ on Wednesday 15th June in style at St Paul’s Academy with a fantastic day of fun and activity.

The day started with our students meeting England Karate competitor Ross Mathieu and International and GB Table Tennis star Darius Knight. Ross showed us why he is one of the best in England with his ‘Kata’, an impressive detailed pattern of movements which he often displays in Karate. Darius took on some of St Paul’s finest table tennis players in a challenge competition but unfortunately none of our pupils managed to beat the 2012 Olympic competitor! Mr O’Donoghue inspired our pupils with an informative presentation relating to our own mental, social and physical well-being.

Students completed a range of activities from ‘Fight Klub’ with Ross Mathieu where they were put through their paces in an energetic workout built using simple combinations of kicks and punches whilst keeping time with the high energy drum and bass beat. The programme is a combination of kickboxing, boxing and dance. Many pupils commented on how much entertainment they had with Ross and how intense the workout was. Hopefully many pupils will be inspired to join ‘Fight Klub’ outside of school! Please see for more information if interested.

Our pupils played some fiercely competitive games in their Football Tournament on Health and Well-Being Day. Each combined form class had an array of games on the day, with some fine displays of football shown! St Paul’s students played as European teams to coincide with the European Championship being held this month.

Our Sky Sports Ambassador for St Paul’s Academy in conjunction with our Health and Well-Being Initiative showed some of his skill on Wednesday with a Table Tennis Master Class. Pupils had a chance to better their skills by learning from the best! Darius competed at the 2012 Olympic Games and shared some of his life experiences with our pupils.

The highlight of the day for many of our pupils was the chance take on the 120ft inflatable obstacle course outside. With lots of different hurdles to overcome the obstacle course proved tremendous fun on the day! Students and teachers alike competed to get the quickest time and to beat their opponent on the course! There were many laughs and giggles as many struggled to leap obstacles, jump hoops and climb ladders but everyone had fun, which was the main aim of the game!

The day would not have been a success without the help of our Health and Well-Being Ambassadors who work relentlessly with Miss Devine every week to ensure our Health and Well-Being initiative in school is effective. Our Sports Leaders did a fantastic job, refereeing and overseeing activities on the day. Massive thanks must go to all the PE department who organised and delivered activities so efficiently. Thank you to Mr Akif for his assistance with the organisation of Health and Well-Being Day and to Mr Winston for giving our Year 7 students the day off timetable to engage in such wonderful activities.

A day to remember by all! 

Wales 2016

SPA Geog Year 10 Team national competition winners head to Wales with Wide Horizons for the £10,000 adventure

Where does your adventure start? For Year 10 Geography it began in Wales! Have a look at what the students got up to with their national competition win. That's a £10,000 all expenses trip (including travel) with food and extreme activities. SPA Geog #Where's your Geography classroom?

To find out more subscribe to:

The first question I am going to pose to you before you read the account of the Year 10s in Wales is where will Geography take you today? What will you make of your Geography study? 

What makes this subject so special is the amount of 'Geography in reality' you can experience outside of the realms of the classroom environment. Looking through the blog since January we have had an array of different experiences that are open to all students. Why not take ownership over your own learning?

Why not ask the team today about the next adventures? Why not come up with your own opportunity and ask the team to organise?


'The trip to Wales helped me build my confidence and trust in others, and it helped me make friends' (Gareth M).

Firstly before I illustrate to you the lasting memories created in Wales, I want to commend the students. Participating in fieldtrips and outdoor learning is made for the teachers by the students within it. All students who went - even you Folarin - were a credit to the Geography department and assets to the school. Congratulations to all of you who either tried a new activity, conquered a fear, met a new friend or learnt a new skill. This epitomises what Geography trips are about! I myself had a wonderful experience and I will remember this as my first national adventure with St Paul's Academy. Where shall we go next?

After a grueling 5.30am start to our journey to Ty'ny Berth from St Paul's Academy, the students were still lively, much to the dissatisfactions of the teachers. It was decided that we would travel on an afternoon Hike before our revision session in the evening. Students were able to see Geography in action with glaciation having shaped the Welsh valleys and also see a river entering a lake. The landscapes, as shown in the photos, were simply breath-taking.

From left (Joshua, Lateef, Breeana, Steve, Elizabeth, Jessica, Klaudia, Eljay, Anna and Ieva.

For many this was the first time viewing this type of geology or seeing these types of landscapes. It allow the students to become familiar with their surroundings. For Klaudia and Eljay it meant actually walking in the river crossing.

Marcell, Nathan, Maureen, Ahmed and Taniesha drinking the spring water.

After dinner we went on a Night Hike into the mountains. Each team travelling on a different route. It gave the students a chance to explore, see nature in all of its glory (Folarin managing to find a sheep’s skull) and experience the challenges of hill walking. This included river crossings, pot holing and even a student getting stuck in a bog (mentioning no names here but you know who you are!).

The boys kitted for their night hike. From the left (Kwabena, Kai, Steve at the back, Ahmed, Joseph, Nicolae, Marcell, Hugo, Mateusz, Nathan and Joshua)

'It was an unforgettable experience. I loved everything about it' (Anna A).

On the second day students were split in three different teams to complete activities. My own team completed an activity I myself had never tried; rock climbing. Have a look at the different activities that the groups got up to on this day and the views of the different geographical features surrounding our location!

What is the coastal landform over the mouth of the river?

'The best experience I have ever had' (Mateusz N).

Rock Scrambling.

The first activity was a rock scramble up the cliff-face without ropes. It meant that the students could perform aerobatics - which you can see from Lateef’s video on the blog. The other pictures depict geomorphic processes of freeze-thaw weathering and the students were in awe of being able to see this process in reality.

An example of freeze-thaw weathering.

I must commend the students, in particular Fay and Anna, among others for conquering there fear of heights. From the photos you can see the steepness of the cliff-face and the challenges of climbing it. Students were given expert advice before the activity and then were given ownership of keeping their peers safe by being in command of the ropes. Would you be brave enough to try this?

'We got the chance to explore nature and Geography fully, which we do not get to do often' (Fay C).

'We had the chance to explore nature in different ways through activities, and I thank God that we won this trip!' (Melanie M).

The end of the day of climbing culminated in an excursion to the beach where students experienced - many again for the first time - sand dunes, rock pooling and activities such as frisbee. Have a look at the other activities that students from the other groups got up to. 

Day 3 saw our first activity in a disused slate mine. This portrayed to the students the historical industrial past of Wales and the significance to villages like Ty'Ny Berth. The group opted for an easy abseil task first before a challenging free abseil without a rock to walk down. By now the group has become accustomed to Jessica screaming at all points during an activity conveying her fear of heights. Nonetheless we must congratulate her for her persistence in conquering the challenge of heights by abseiling down the wall (even though it took 22 minutes for a 2 minute abseil)!

Slate mine quarry where abseiling took place.

Whilst students dealt efficiently with this challenge - as it had become accustomed with this group of Year 10 - others explored the lake finding newts and frog spawn and ventured into the mine through the mountain. The photo below depicts how dark the mine was. Many of the students, namely Anna and Ieva, were less confidence with navigating in the dark and were scared of the shadows in the darkness.

'An unforgettable experience that will stay with me for eternity' (Amy K).


The afternoon saw the students participate in the most voted favourite activity by many of Year 10 SPA Geographers on the trip; Gorge Walking. Apparently (and I do not speak of personal experience here) the water was ice cold and would wake the dead! Nonetheless, the students worked hard as a team to navigate the rapids, climb waterfalls and travel up the gorge of a fast-flowing river. Before we had even started Klaudia found herself in a sticky situation that took the strength of Breeana and Ieva to save her. Have a look at the fun and challenge of this activity below:

‘A crazy adventure that has been fun along the way. It has also brought us closer together' (Megan S).

Steve should be commended on his teamwork skills in this task.

PC Verrall's team from the left (Marcell, Hugo, Megan, Nicolae, Kwabena, Nathan and Taniesha).

Especially memorable was the fact that Year 10 could navigate a narrow gorge and go under the plunge pool into the cavern below the ledge. For students to be able to see the processes that shape the waterfall in reality and experience it in the water brings the subject of Geography to life. There was certainly enough of life coming from each of them when they forced themselves against the water current to go under the waterfall. Some were more successful than others!


Our final day took us to the river mouth where Year 10s were to engage with kayaking and water sports. It is harder than the students made it!! Although one boat took longer to be able to navigate the calm waters. Look at their efforts below:

Going from saying "I can't" to actually accomplishing something is astonishing!' (Victoria A).

This micro-adventure allowed the students to visualize what we have studied in the Rivers topic on the Geography GCSE course. It developed skills of leadership and working together. If they had worked together then they would have just rowed in circles. Yet both teams made it up the river and came back quickly on the current of the high tide. Similarly, visiting the slate mine was my favourite part of our trip. For me it brought my subject alive and provided a unique opportunity to experience Wales heritage but also experiencing things like mountain springs.

This picture is my favourite from the trip featuring Eljay and Klaudia.

'I never understood the concept of Gorge Walking and abseiling but this experience has finalised my impression. Its pure wild and I have conquered my fears completing the not-so-impossible' (Eljay).

Our last activity was accessing a slate mine that was used to harvest slate in the 1900s during the industrial revolution. It allowed us to understand the life of the working class from the village and the fact that at age 13-15 years that you would be working in the mine by candle light. There are foreboding tales of the mine being haunted by workers who had died excavating the slate. Many of the bodies were not found- would you go down here? Check out the pictures below:

Inside the mine- surprisingly the temperature decreases dramatically.

Students were expected to get out of the mine without torches working as a team,


'It was an amazing experience. I conquered my claustrophobia and my fear of heights. I have also improved my relationship with my teachers' (Marcell U).

Looking cool PC Verrall!

The quotes summarise the feelings of the students but I would like to convey my feelings. It was one of my favourite moments of teaching - not least the most stressful as my first national trip - purely because of the group of students I had the luxury of experiencing it with. The group of students challenged their fears, they worked as teams and led as leaders and it was lovely witnessing their discoveries of Geography it reality. I must thank-you for all being brilliant students and reflecting the school in such a positive light. It is the likes of you as Geography students that make the job easier.

I would also like to thank the staff members, who without them the trip would not have run or been as easy to enjoy. PC Verrall and Miss Scorah you are incredible assets to St Paul's Academy. The success of the trip is a testament to your leadership and devotion to the students. 

I would like to extend my gratitude to the the Wide Horizon staff who supported the students and staff with a high standard of professionalism and excellence. We would be sure to recommend this trip to other schools and future students.

'The staff were really kind and caring' (Lateef L).


I hope this article has portrayed the future experiences you can expect from the Geography team. Please ask them about new trips or see me. Finally the last words to say have to be....





Citizens UK Workshop

Over the past two academic years, St Paul’s Academy have had a direct relationship with Citizens UK. Year 10 students started off their fruitful relationship with the charity in the Spring Term. The foundation of this relationship started with a Workshop that focused on concepts and knowledge from the GCSE syllabus: ‘Theme 1: Challenges in the Built Environment’.

Citizens UK is an organisation with 300 institutions in the national borders. Its aim is to tackle issues affecting the UK populations in the 21st Century. The link with St Paul’s Academy has provided the students with a wealth of knowledge of current issues such as poverty, work employment, immigration, affordable housing and the living wage. The importance of understanding these issues is paramount for the future of the students’ lives and gives them a sense of empowerment within their own communities.

Froilan Legaspi led the students through an awareness of the different issues facing the catchment area around the school; Thamesmead and Abbey Wood. He made the students familiar with key terms such as stakeholders and the tiers of decision-making on urban planning.

The workshop included an explanation of the issues affecting the area around the school, links to theory from Theme 1 of the Geography GCSE and a question and answer session. A group activity took place where the students were split into teams of 6 and involved in a decision-making task about a new development to the local area. Students embraced different roles and argued about the different issues when creating a new development. This was effective as provided practice for their GCSE Paper 2b for their terminal exams where students need to write a report on a decision-making scenario.

Within the workshop we were fortunate to witness the speech by Dylan Wiggins on the injustice of unaffordable housing within Abbey Wood. This speech is one that will be later given to a crowd of 6000 students, teachers and politicians – including the current London Mayor delegates Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith – and accurately depict the issues facing the students in the future. This speech by Dylan particularly resonated with the audience and stimulated debate about the problems the students faces with living wage and adequate access to housing.

The picture below depicts why it is paramount to engage Geography students with these issues. Firstly, it enables the students to understand and apply theory learnt within the GCSE syllabus. Secondly, the students actively take ownership over local issues. Thirdly, these students – like Dylan Wiggins – become active citizens and catalysts for change in the future of our cities. Within this workshop Year 10 students showed why they are assets to the subject and the school community. Well done!

Information Box

Sport Specialism

Young boy seen walking from the back in green Football gear.

Learning outside the classroom

Sport at the Academy is the catalyst for an enriching and stimulating learning experience. Engaging with our extended communities through sport is a magnificent enhancement to our unique education.

Sports links


Information Box 2

Enterprise Specialism

Advent Charity Appeal 2010 Sponsored Run.

Creating a 'can do' attitude

Creating a 'can do' attitude Enterprise Education is fundamental to Saint Paul's Academy's development, allowing students to develop different skills, which will enhance their potential in later life.

Enterprise links