St Paul’s Catholic Secondary School was established in a Victorian school board building on Wickham Lane, Abbey Wood, in 1968.
This was supposed to be an interim arrangement while a new bigger site was found. Over the years proposals were made but, for various reasons, none were satisfactory. By the early nineties, shortage of space had become quite acute and it was impossible to provide the breadth of curriculum necessary for outstanding comprehensive education. Various attempts were made to look for extra land, particularly for sport, but none of these were successful. In spite of the restrictions, St Paul’s flourished; it became one of the most successful schools in Greenwich and in 2000 it was awarded Beacon School Status.
In 2002 the Academy proposal was made. It came about as a result of St Paul’s need to expand and the decision to replace the community school in Abbey Wood. This was a unique proposal because although the sponsor was the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, the agreement reached was that a third of places in each year group would be allocated to the local community.
|Original School Building||Current School Building|
St Paul’s Academy eventually opened in September 2005 with the expectation that the new buildings would be ready in September 2007. As a short term measure a four-storey temporary building was put on the Wickham Lane site reducing playground space to a bare minimum. Building delays of over two years meant that the Wickham Lane site became massively overcrowded to the point where the assembly hall was used as a classroom!
The move to the new campus eventually took place in the snow of January 2010, so that from September 2010 the Academy has been able to take its full quota of students into Year 7. The Academy is now able to accommodate a total of 1,200 students, with 240 in each year, consisting of 160 faith places and 80 local community places. The new campus not only provides a fantastic working environment for all curriculum areas, but also outstanding sports facilities, including the outdoor pitches and courts.
Since becoming an Academy, St Paul’s has continued to go from strength to strength. It has achieved examination results far beyond prediction or expectation for students of all abilities and we look forward to continuing to celebrate our students’ successes in the years to come.