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Panathlon Challenge Event

Tuesday 17th January saw students from across the London Boroughs of Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Kent & Chelsea come together to compete in the annual Panathlon Challenge Event at St Paul's Academy.  This sporting event, which caters for students with a special educational need, was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to engage in a range of new sports, learn new skills, make friends and have fun representing their borough. 

Students participated in a range of sports such as boccia, new age curling, polybat as well as a number of athletics events.  Students were forthcoming in expressing their opinion on how the day went, highlighting the wonderful time they had as well as the many new skills and lessons they learnt along the way. 

Michael from Team Bromley said, ‘At first I was feeling quite nervous but now I’m really excited.  My favourite event is new age curling and I can’t wait to do it again next year!’

Mo from St Paul’s Academy, representing Team Greenwich explained how ‘It’s not about winning it’s about having fun and trying your best.  Sport is really important to me because it helps me make new friends’.  While Robbie from Greenwich expressed how he would ‘like to do the Paralympics when I’m older!’

Teaching staff and carers accompanying students on the day were equally as positive and enthusiastic about the merits of such an event for the holistic development of pupils.  Debbie Raines, a teacher accompanying Team Bexley said, ‘I think these events are great.  Good for their morale and helps them work in teams.  Whether they win or lose they learn.’

The successful delivery of this event would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the help and assistance provided on the day by 23 or our Year 11 Sports Leaders.  Throughout the day students delivered a range of sporting activities designed specifically to meet the needs of the participants.  Not only did our students do a fantastic job but they also immensely gained from their experiences, developing a range of new skills as well as knowledge and understanding of working with students with special educational needs in a sporting context. 

Year 11 students, reflecting on their experiences commented:

‘At first I thought it was going to be simple and easy to interact with the kids.  I realised that it was harder than I thought but I am having a really great time.’ (Ping Cabanas – Year 11 Student).

‘Today was enriching, the children’s commitment was outstanding.’ (Aaron Innocent-Hill – Year 11 Student).

‘Today was a successful day through which I acquired many new skills.  I am grateful for this opportunity and happy that it’s one of the many successful events I have had the opportunity to participate in at SPA.’ (Micky Ashong – Year 11 Sports Leader).

‘The panathlon was a fantastic experience for me!  It was great to see everybody smiling and having a good time.  I learnt a lot from the event and acquired new skills such as non-verbal communication.  I really enjoyed myself and would definitely do it again!’ (Lora Umelue – Year 11 Sports Leader).

Our students were once again fantastic ambassadors for our school with many visitors commenting on the wonderful job they did in facilitating the delivery of the event.  Mr Akif who was responsible for managing our Sports Leaders on the day said, ‘Our Year 11 Sports Leaders are a credit to the school, themselves, their parents/guardians and teachers.  They remained committed to each activity they were designated to during the event which aided the consistent flow of events throughout the duration of the day.’

Occasions of this type show our students, staff and facilities at their very best.  It is also a huge reflection of our school ethos and values whereby we at St Paul’s Academy believe in providing students with opportunities which reach far beyond that of the taught curriculum.  We believe in providing qualities beyond qualifications and the Panathlon is just one example of how we achieve this.

SPA Geog and the Choir Fundraise for the ADVENT charity

First and foremost we wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and the best wishes for 2017. Before the Christmas break the newly appointed Year 11 SPA Geog Ambassadors combined with some with the School’s Choir went to Morrisons in Erith to raise money for the Advent Charity appeal. Under the expert tutelage of Ms Viner the Choir produced amazing vocals on various hymns and festive songs to the public and staff alike. The students – under the lead of the chocolate selling duo Mr Davis and Mr O’Connell – packed bags at the till for customers. Both the public and Morrisons’ staff commented of the fabulous singing of our choir and the politeness of the Ambassadors at the till. The fundraising co-ordinator from Morrisons commented that the Choir from St Paul’s Academy were ‘the best we have had this Christmas season!’. All students were a credit to the school and represented themselves as assets.

Kevin was an expert at talking to customers.


Year 7-11 members of the Choir sing hymns and Christmas songs at the entrance to Morrisons Erith.

Gareth gained many donations for his effort.

We celebrate the achievements of our Ambassadors and Choir on doing their bit to help raise money for the various charities support by the school. Please congratulate your child or those you teach if you see them. This year the students at St Paul’s Academy were raising money for:

  • St Ann’s Education Project in Kenya;
  • The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton;
  • CAFOD;
  • Thamesmead Food Bank’
  • Anerley Across: a charity which takes disabled people to Lourdes on an annual pilgrimage (’
  • The Christmas Tree Project;
  • King’s College Hospital: Haematology Department;
  • Cancer Research UK;
  • Weybourne Care Home.


Nathan proved popular with the customers.


Kwabena is a new recruit to volunteering but also gave up his time on Christmas Day to donate gifts to students.

The Year 11 Ambassadors of Geography and Choir raised an amazing £368 for charity in four hours. A tremendous achievement by all. Please see the Geography Blog and St Paul’s Academy website for more details of events within Geography.

Anna was integral to giving out the St Paul’s Academy Newsletter.

James got into the festive spirit.

#Where is your next Geography classroom?

REWARD trip for Year 11 students

Within the Geography department we welcome students who are assets to their Year group. These students are the first of the school to become Ambassadors of Geography or have excelled in results in their Christmas Mock; being within the top 10 of the cohort. Year 11 have many accolades to their name within Geography; winners of the prestigious event to Wales, first to experience controlled assessment Swanage; and volunteers reaching milestones of 60 hours such as Lateef Lawal. It was felt because the students were cool customers – in terms of performing under pressure in exams and interviews – we would reward the students for their effort. Would they be as cool and calm on an ice rink?!

Year 11 who have excelled in the Autumn term from the left:  Nicolae, Stephen, Kwabena, Eljay, Joshua, Tarrick, Chantal, Gareth, Maureen, Tevin, Amy, Marcell, Anna, Nathan and James.

We celebrate the achievements of our Ambassadors. These are highlighted in a further article on the blog ( and school website. However, this article is to credit the high achievers who have excelled academically. The students who push the Geography department forward to our goal of 80% A*-C. I have provided details of these students below. Please congratulate your child or those you teach if you see them.

Gareth, Chantal, Tevin and Marcell achieved an A in their Christmas Mock.


Anna, Amy Stephen and Kwabena achieved a B in their Christmas Mock.

It was quite a site witnessing 16 students – 14 of which skating for the first time – clamber along the side of the ice rink. An analogy that sticks in my mind is in the Disney Movie when Bambi enters the ice for the first time. Even the students would admit they were out of their depth. Wouldn’t this be correct Marcell and Tevin? Maybe some of the students should remain in their comfort zone of excelling at their studies?! But at least they attempted it unlike the teachers Mr O’Connell and Ms Gaffney who sought comfort in a hot beverage to watch the chaos. On a serious note, well done Year 11 for being assets once again to our department and you must be commended on your achievements.

Marcell representing the analogy Bambi on ice.


Even the railing couldn’t save Tarrick.


Amy, Maureen, Anna and Eljay- some of our finest Geographers and now Ambassadors.


Year 11 at Bluewater Ice Rink with Mr Davis and Ms Gaffney.

Please see the Geography Blog and St Paul’s Academy website for more details of events within Geography. For all the pictures – especially of select students falling over – please see the Blog.

Advent Charity Appeal raises £10,400.00+

We have now completed our Annual Advent Charity Appeal and focussed on charities in and around our community, nationally and internationally. This year the Academy decided to support: 

  • Sr Ann’s Education Project in Kenya
  • The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton
  • Thamesmead Food Bank
  • Anerley Across: a charity which takes disabled people to Lourdes on an annual pilgrimage (
  • The Christmas Tree Project
  • King’s College Hospital: Haematology Department
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Weybourne Care Home

During the Appeal, we held a sponsored Christmas Fun Run, a Fayre and a Talent Show, along with numerous other smaller activities and fundraising events.

This year, our Appeal raised in excess of £10,400.00, an outstanding achievement. I would like to thank students and members of staff who made the Appeal such a success.

This is the season of peace and good will; the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. I wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas as well as a prosperous New Year.

Yours sincerely

Patrick Winston


Rewards Trip for Health & Well Being Ambassadors

On Tuesday the 6th of December, our Health and Well Being Ambassadors ventured to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford with Miss Devine to descend the world’s highest and, at 178m, the world’s longest tunnel slide.  As they travelled down the UK’s tallest public artwork, they passed through light and dark sections with London’s dramatic skyscape whizzing by! In the 40-second trip, students circled around the ArcelorMittal Orbit 12 times as they weaved their way through the famous loops and curves of the iconic structure.

This rewards trip was to congratulate and say a massive "Thank you" to all the Health and Well Ambassadors who generously give up their time to assist with our Health and Well Being Club every Thursday after school. Their hard work does not go unnoticed and without their relentless help, the club would not be such a success. Special mention must go to Samuel Ajayi's who was recently awarded the 'Jack Petchey' Award for his contributions to both the Health and Well Being Club and his consistent volunteering in our Summer Scheme project for Primary School children.

Our students finished off their trip with a tasty feast in Nando's- platters all round!

Many thanks must go to the following pupils for their fantastic efforts over the past few months. 

  • Stephen Ola-Oni
  • Vera Umelue
  • Mira Umelue
  • Lora Umelue
  • Micky Ashong
  • Divon Ball
  • Michael Ononye
  • Verona Okine
  • Faith Shoyomi
  • David Ozobia
  • Samuel Ajayi

Well done and keep up the good teamwork!
Miss Devine

SPA Geog feature in 'The Living Thames' Documentary with famous geographical celebrities

There have been historical achievements within the Geography department in the last two year; our first fieldwork nationally to Swanage, the students winning a UK competition to Wales with Wide Horizons and achieving our best ever GCSEs results with 71% A*-C. This has been continued with the release of the promo of the documentary called ‘The Living Thames’. It includes a small snapshot of St Paul’s Academy but in the full release it contains interviews with current and former students (class of 2013/14) on the power of volunteering within Geography.

TV presenter Chris Baines interviews Habeeb Lawal (class of 2015), current student Lateef Lawal, Qozeem Lawal (class of 2013) and Shannon O’Brien and Charlotte Cunningham (class of 2014).

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’. After a brief introduction from the film crew, 5 former students were interviewed about the importance of volunteering (as seen above). 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 200 hours as brothers in Geography. All students were a credit again for the Geography team and were excellent ambassadors for St. Paul’s Academy.

 TV presenter Chris Baines interviews Mr Davis.

Chris Baines who presents the living documentary is known most for the creation of Countryfile, which he presented between 1989-1992. He is also the UK's leading independent environmentalists. He is a horticulturalist, landscape architect, naturalist, television presenter and author.

It this famous presenter was not enough, please have a look at the link below as it includes another famous face, which underpins another significant milestone in the SPA Geog department:

The students will be invited to a red carpet event for the release of the documentary next year, with the potential to meet these famous Geography role models. An achievement for most of us –including the Geography teachers – beyond our wildest dreams.

Please see the Geography Blog and St Paul’s Academy website for more details.

#Where is your next Geography classroom?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, It's the Super Volunteers of St Paul's Academy!

During recent years a number of our students, particularly those currently in Year 10 and 11 have undertaken extensive amounts of volunteering work in a range of areas as part of their vInspired Student Volunteer Ambassador role.  In order to justifiably recognise and celebrate such fantastic achievements, vInspired, via an online blog, have reincarnated eight of our top student volunteers in the form of The Avengers characters to illustrate the true Super Volunteers that they are!  This blog highlights the unbelievable work that each of the students undertake on a daily basis in order to help improve the lives of others both within St Paul’s Academy as well as in their local community.  Each student aims to achieve their v100 award for volunteering 100 hours.  However, like true heroes, these superstars have gone above and beyond their V100s and have completely transformed their community. This is the amazing story of the Super Volunteers of St Paul’s Academy:

David Ozobia (Year 10) – v100+

David helps to deliver extra-curricular sporting activities at St Paul’s Academy.  As a school Sports Leader, David volunteers his time with the boys and girls school football teams, and is a school Health and Well-Being Ambassador.  One phrase to describe David – Unassuming superhero

Eberechi Paul (Year 10) – v100+

Eberechi is an extremely passionate and caring volunteer.  Eberechi always goes out of her way to help staff and students have an improved school experience. She delivers netball and athletics training sessions and events.  She truly shines when promoting and organising enterprise activities, she has helped raise thousands of pounds for our school’s designated charities each year.  One word to describe Eberechi – Passionate

Tareh Omajuwa (Year 10) – 103 hours

Tareh is a vibrant and hard-working volunteer who dedicates her time to putting a smile on everyone’s face each and every day.  Her positivity and love for life are her most precious characteristics, which rubs off on everyone she comes into contact with. Tareh works hard to help the school netball teams improve their skills by assisting with training and matches each week.  One phrase to describe Tareh – Pure sunshine


Mira Umelue (Year 10) – 183 hours

Mira is always on hand to assist, no matter how big or small that task may be.  
Mira volunteers across a range of clubs and areas at St Paul’s Academy and devotes her time and effort to each equally and generously.  Mira’s involvement as a V•Inspired volunteer has been pivotal to our school’s sporting and enterprise activities.  One word to describe Mira – Superstar

Michelle Asante (Year 11) – 125.5 hours

Although shy, Michelle’s impact in her local community is unquestionable.  The difference to her local community through volunteering is immeasurable.  Michelle has volunteered for a children’s summer reading project in Woolwich to teach children how to read and improve their reading skills. One word to describe Michelle – Proactive

Verona Okine (Year 11) – 103 hours

If you feel down, Verona is sure to put a smile on your face and turn any negativity into positivity.  Verona dedicates her time and energy to improving the physical, mental and social well-being of staff and students at St Paul’s Academy. As a school Sports Leader and Health and Well-Being Ambassador, Verona is passionate about promoting, educating and improving the health and fitness of all students at SPA.  One word to describe Verona – Irreplaceable

Lora Umelue (Year 11) – 133 hours

Every group, organisation and team needs a driving force and Lora is ours.  Lora’s passion, enthusiasm and dedication mean we would be lost without her!  She is often the person who is behind the concept and organisation of such events.  So much so Lora has inspired us to run our very own Race for Life event, which we will be holding at St Paul’s Academy on 30th November in aid of Cancer Research UK.  Lora is helping to train pupils to run the race as well as organising a number of enterprise activities to help raise money for this worthy cause.  One phrase to describe Lora – Our precious, quiet organiser; our driving force!

Stephen Ola-Oni (Year 11) – 224.5 hours

Stephen is unbelievably passionate about sport and encouraging others to strive to be the best they can be.  His passion and enthusiasm is infectious.  Stephen has assisted in the delivery of our school summer sports scheme, giving up his summer holidays to help young children in his local community engage in regular sport and physical activity.  As a member of the Jack Petchey Young Achievers Network Stephen engages in a wide range of volunteering and enterprise initiatives as part of the Jack Petchey Foundation.  One phrase to describe Stephen - One of a kind; a born leader!

At St Paul’s Academy we are extremely fortunate to have amongst us some of the best young student volunteers any school could ask for.  The time, effort and dedication all of these students show on a regular basis in helping to make their school and the community of St Paul’s Academy a better place is remarkable and extremely admirable.  Events which our student volunteers have recently been involved in include our school Health and Well-Being Day, Sports Day, SportInspired Disability Games, SportInspired Community Festival as well as a range of enterprise activities.  As part of our school Advent Charity Appeal students have organised their own Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK which will take place on Wednesday 30th November.  These über volunteers not only endlessly give of their time to help others but they do so while all the while making sure that they keep up with their studies.  As a Catholic faith school our student volunteers epitomise our belief in ‘Faith in Action’.

In the words of their teacher and vInspired Co-ordinator at St Paul’s, Miss Duffy ‘They are all shining examples of model students and exceptional ambassadors for St Paul’s Academy. I couldn’t be more proud of everything they have achieved and how they have grown as young people.  The difference which they make to our school community is immeasurable.’

In order to see the blog and articles in full please visit

SPA Geog Ambassador Interviews

Want to receive rewards for promoting Geography?



Want to boost your CV with being a role model and ‘young ambassador’ for Peabody?



Produce a 3 minute (no longer) pitch on the following two questions:

  1. What makes you a positive role model in the subject you love?
  2. How can you promote the subject to younger year groups?


INTERVIEWS TO BE BOOKED WITH MR DAVIS - starting at 3.30pm Thursday 1st December 2016 in the large meeting room in the management corridor.

Criteria to attend interview:

  • Immaculate behaviour record;
  • Maintain a C2 or above grade in all tests;
  • Be able to devote time to volunteering and weekend trips;
  • Raise money for the Geography department through charity fundraising;
  • Complete a ‘young ambassadors’ accreditation from Peabody.


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#Where's your next Geography classroom?

SPA Netball Teams meet England Netball Star Zoie Humphrey

In October our girls’ Netball teams had the fantastic opportunity to take part in a netball masterclass under the guidance of England Netball star Zoie Humphrey.  In August of this year Zoie represented England at the Indoor Netball World Cup in Australia.  Earning their place in the final against the might of New Zealand, Zoie was pivotal in helping her team secure victory over the Silver Ferns and return home as World Champions!

With such netball experience and expertise under her belt, our girls were eager to work alongside Zoie in helping them to improve their netball skills and game play.  The girls enjoyed an hour long practical session with Zoie where they worked on creating space, set plays and match play.  Zoie also took the time to speak with the girls about important issues facing girls in sport as well as the importance of nutrition in sport and getting a balance between sport and studies.  Zoie answered any questions pupils had and it was extremely evident to see how much each pupil enjoyed and valued being a part of such a special opportunity.

Such an experience has helped to inspire players, giving them an increased drive to work hard and improve during every training session and game.  We would like to thank Zoie for giving up her time to come and work with our St Paul’s Academy Netball teams and hope to work alongside her again in the near future.

SPA Netballers get 2016/2017 season off to a sensational start

Finishing off the 2015/2016 season in style with all year groups winning their respective Greenwich School’s Netball Leagues as well as our Year 7 team being crowned Kent Invitational Schools’ Tournament winners, the girls, along with coaches Miss Duffy and Miss Stone were confident of a good start to the new season.  However, never complacent, the SPA Netball contingent know that there is always room for improvement.  As a result, September saw our greatest number of girls taking part in netball at SPA to date with up to 75 students spanning Years 7 to 10 taking part in netball training and competition each week.  This an exceptional feat and illustrates how much the popularity of the sport has grown amongst girls at St Paul’s in recent years.

Each of our 4 teams in Year 7 to 10 have got their Greenwich School’s Netball seasons off to winning starts, recording wins over Eltham Hill, Thomas Tallis and Harris Academy Greenwich:

Year 10

vs Eltham Hill (Won 5 – 4)

Year 9

vs Eltham Hill (Won 12 – 1)

vs Thomas Tallis (Won 23 – 5)

Year 8

vs Eltham Hill (Won 10 – 1)

vs Thomas Tallis (Won 10 – 1)

A special mention must also go to our Year 7 Netball team who have recorded their first two wins in the Greenwich School’s Netball League against Harris Academy Greenwich (12 – 4) and Thomas Tallis (12 – 6), remaining undefeated.  The girls have been working really hard at training each week to try and improve their basic netball skills as well as working on their match play and tactics.  With continued hard work this team have the potential to achieve countless success; watch this space!

Our Year 9 girls have already competed in their U14 Kent Netball tournament for this year at Rainham School for Girls, finishing an improved 5th place in their group.  On the day the team secured victories over Sackville School, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School and Invicta Grammar.  Such success bodes well for this dedicated team in their upcoming season. 

With such a great start to our Netball season we are excited to hear of more successes for all our teams.  Each team still have to play challenged fixtures against Blackheath High School, St Thomas More and The John Roan with our Year 10 girls competing in their Greenwich School’s Netball Tournament at the end of January.  We wish all of our Netball teams further and continued success in the New Year.  Well done girls, keep up the great work!




SPA new 3G pitch development

The process which has seen the development of a brand new, state of the art 3G pitch development at St Paul’s Academy began in May 2014, when initial meetings were held with the Football Foundation and the London FA about the possibility of funding being secured for a new full size 3G football pitch.

Following lengthy negotiations, and an extensive football development plan being produced, the Football Foundation decided to award the school £422,093 which is one of the largest sums of money the Football Foundation has given out in their recent history.

The strength of the Football Development Plan helped to secure this funding, as well as an agreement by St Paul's Academy that we will work closely with local football clubs and the FA to provide the local community with use of this top class sporting facility.  Teviot Rangers and Charlton Athletic will be our primary partners on the facility and the London FA will use the site to provide courses for coaches.  The facility will also provide the local community with much needed employment opportunities through new coaching roles being created as a result of increased activity, refereeing as well as pitch management.

One of the greatest benefits of this new facility is that now St Paul's Academy’s own football teams have a stable venue for training and home games all year round.  In recent years our school has suffered from serious drainage issues which has resulted in games being played away from home on a regular basis.  This facility will now put an end to the uncertainty of fixtures being played and provide our pupils and staff with consistency in terms of training and matches.

FieldTurf are the company who were successful in securing the contract for this development.  Their work is carried out in the UK by S and C Slatter, who have carried out projects at a number of UK Football clubs including Sutton United, Leatherhead FC and Tamworth FC as well as a number of schools.  With the development of our new full size 3G pitch in such safe hands, we as a school community are looking forward to the completion and grand opening of the development on Monday 12th December 2016. 

Year 10 Fieldwork at River Cray

There are many challenges that are facing our young people; the changing goal posts in education, the prospect of more content to topics in Geography and the erosion of 25% coursework. Nonetheless, this has not deterred Year 10 who embarked on their first fieldwork studies which will be tested in their terminal exams for the first time next year with the new specification OCR B Enquiring Minds. In their visit to Foots Cray Meadows on the 7th November with Thames21 I cannot remember many that were with such adverse temperature. This did not deter them. This trip enhanced their learning within the classroom on hydrology. The point of this excursion was to introduce students into data collection against a hypothesis and for many of the class was a first experience at measuring field data.

Lilly Towner shows off the Geography Hoodie whilst measuring river depth.


The Year 10 measure the river width and record velocity by dropping in floats to the river.

The students completed various qualitative and quantitative data methods, such as field sketches and calculating the depth and width of the river channel. Students received a health and safety chat with Thames21 then spent the remainder of the day within the River Cray in waders collecting data.

The Year 10 measure the river width of the river using tape measures.

This was an extremely productive day and Year 10 were able to apply theory to an outdoor classroom. It also meant invaluable skills learnt for fieldwork collection for their exams. This was applied to homework and answering the hypothesis through data analysis: ‘The River Cray gets deeper and faster along the river channel as it progresses downstream.’

#Where will your Geography classroom be?


Year 11 Volunteering with Thames21

The Year 11 Geography students who are keen to be part of the NEW ambassadors’ scheme for Geography participated in a volunteering visit to Foots Cray Meadows on the 5th November with Thames21. This trip embraced a new member of volunteering scheme and an honouree Geography student Nikola who now has completed 10 hours. Nikola is a hard-working and dedicated member of the volunteering initiative who has excelled in her first two trips to the meadows (seen bottom right). For others it was the first time volunteering in the local community, such as Gareth (far left) and James (second left). Where will St Paul’s opportunities take you?

The first task of the day was to replenish the supply of willow from trees alongside the river to use in the creation of river walls to minimise erosion. This involved the use of saws and bill hooks to cut the tree at the base of the branches but with enough space for regrowth. For many of the students this was the first time that they had experienced willow coppicing and they learnt about the ecology of the plants whilst working with Thames21 staff. Year 11 got to branch out their skills from this excursion- excuse the pun and poor attempt at humour!

As you can see from the picture below, the students worked hard to generate enough resources for the next task. Unfortunately this meant transporting the willow sticks 2 miles to the other end of the stream.

The second part of the day the students use the waders to start to build the willow river wall. The reason for this activity was to minimise the force of hydraulic action on the river cliffs at the side of the river. Much of this part of the bank had been eroded by the force of the river and accelerated by dog walkers allowing their pets to enter the river. In combination this had created footpath and river cliff erosion. This was particularly useful for the students as they were able to witness ‘Geography in reality’ from theory learnt about Rivers in the classroom.

The Year 11 students split into different teams – one group in charge of creating a new soil layer to replace the eroded material with soil and river pebbles and the other to build the wall. You can witness the extent of the erosion of the bank in the picture above.

As you can bear witness to below, the Year 11 students have taken ownership of the River Cray and personally reduced the erosion along this stretch of water. Another incredible achievement by St Paul’s students and in particular representing the SPA Geography department as assets to the local community. This was commented upon by various members of the public.

I will leave the students to reflect the thoughts on the current excursion.

# Where’s your next Geography classroom?


SPA Geog Year 8- Field Trip to Thorpe Park

As a taster for Geography at GCSE and to consolidate their classroom learning 40 year 8 students were taken to Thorpe Park for an interactive educational workshop. The day started early arriving at the park at about 10am where the students initially had the opportunity to explore the park and enjoy some of the rollercoasters. 

An all-time favourite ride with the students is Swarm a wing rollercoaster. Some students even queued longer to sit in the front seats to be further thrilled and terrified by this 59 miles per hour ride. 

After lunch the students attended an hour long educational workshop about the development and location of the park. The interactive workshop also included elements of the history of Thorpe Park and the employment the park brought to the local community. They also spoke about the positive things the park did for the local environment. Students were very engaged and showed a keen interest by asking lots of questions. 

The student’s behaviour was fantastic and they thoroughly enjoyed the field trip. Thankfully all phones and glasses survived the day!

St Paul's pupils join the fight against cancer

As part of our enterprise specialism, our pupils at St Paul’s Academy have decided that they would like to raise money in aid of Cancer Research UK by organising and taking part in their very own Race for Life as part of our Advent Charity Appeal.

In conjunction with our annual Christmas Fun Run, the event will take place on Wednesday 30th November around the local Abbey Wood area of South East London.  It is expected that around 200 plus students across years 7 to 11 will join forces with teachers to take on cancer and walk, jog or run in aid of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.  Our Health and Well-Being Ambassadors, Sports Leaders and vInspired Student volunteers have teamed up to help make this event happen and raise as much money for Cancer Research as they can.

Working alongside Miss Duffy and members of the PE Department, our student volunteers have taken the lead in ensuring this event is a success:

“The students have been the driving force behind promoting and organising this extremely worthwhile event.  The passion and commitment they continuously show towards volunteering and helping to raise money for charity is exceptional.  Our students are our greatest resource.  Their passion and vision is what drives us at SPA and so supporting them in their endeavours is extremely rewarding.”  (Miss Duffy, vInspired Co-Ordinator at SPA).

In order to prepare for the event, our über volunteers have been working alongside students in our Health and Well-Being club as well as a number of our other sports teams to help make sure they are ready for race day.

“As a sports specialist school we feel that one way which we can make a difference to not only the lives of our students but to those in our local community who are battling cancer is by taking part in a Race for Life event.  We are not just raising money for this worthwhile charity but we are also improving our health and fitness and our overall health and well-being at the same time.  So it’s a win-win situation for everyone!”  (Verona Okine – Year 11 vInspired Student Volunteer and Health and Well-Being Ambassador).

“Most of us know someone who has been touched by cancer and we all have our special reasons for taking part and wanting to help more people survive.”  (Lora Umelue, Year 11 vInspired Student Volunteer and Health and Well-Being Ambassador).

“This is our Race for Life, this is our Faith in Action.”  (Micky Ashong – Year 11 vInspired Student Volunteer and Health and Well-Being Ambassador).

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of events which raises millions of pounds every year to help fund vital research.

Schools across the UK are being invited to hold their own Race for Life events in aid of the charity.  They can choose a day that fits with the term calendar and pick a distance which suits the age and abilities of all pupils.

Rachel Carr, head of Race for Life, said: “Race for Life Schools is a fantastic way to have fun, get fit and save lives. Young people today are the generation who could see ground-breaking treatments and cures for cancer in their lifetime.  They will be the researchers and lifesavers of tomorrow.  But first, we need them to be the fundraisers of today – and walk, jog and run to help beat cancer sooner.”

For more information regarding our St Paul’s Academy Race for Life event, please contact Miss Duffy ( or speak to one of our vInspired Student Volunteers about how you can get involved.

If you would like to donate to this cause then please do so via our JustGiving page:

or see Miss Duffy for a sponsorship form.

Year 8- Field Trip to The Woodlands Farm Trust

The first Geography Field Trip of the new school year was to The Woodlands Farm Trust. Thirty year 8 students took part in a range of map work activities that helped consolidate their understanding of maps and mapping, completed at the end of year 7.

After a mini map work refresher the students took part in an outdoor key word activity that involved them using their teamwork and communication skills.

After lunch the final full farm orientation group activity combined all the skills they had learned throughout the day. The student’s behaviour and participation was excellent. The students spoke enthusiastically about the trip on the bus journey home, many of them mentioning how much they had enjoyed themselves and how outside the classroom learning helped with their understanding of maps. It was a truly enjoyable and educational way to start the year. 


# Where’s your next Geography classroom?

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?



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.

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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.

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