20 looking for a nice Saint Paul girl

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St Paul's is the best comprehensive school in Birmingham. Birmingham Mail. End of term Friday 16 July GCSE progress score 1. I am extremely proud of our school and of our hard working and highly motivated staff and pupils.

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As an 'old girl' of St Paul's myself, I feel extremely privileged to lead the school that gave me such an inspirational, fulfilling and excellent education. I am, therefore, passionate in ensuring that all our pupils are likewise empowered and inspired by their educational experience. St Paul's is a unique school, founded in by the Sisters of Charity of St Paul the Apostle for the education of Catholic girls and now, years later, still retains the same sense of community Inwhat was happening then?

The Queen Mother was a little girl of eight, growing up in a castle in Scotland. Only very rich people had cars. To get around Birmingham you had to go in a horse-drawn omnibus. Many children still left school at the age of 12 and it was very rare for girls to go to university. Bishop Ilsley was there with various members of the clergy, sisters, local celebrities, and the Old Hall — the only hall then — was filled with plants and flowers. What was it like to be a pupil on that day?

His Lordship, the Bishop, and the other guests passed into the hall. As Form 2 opened off the Hall we were not allowed in there, so as soon as we had sung a hymn and our presence was no longer required we were sent to the Science lecture room, now the Library, without a teacher and told to be very quiet.

No child spoke or left her seat. I shall always remember that dead silence, such self-control. There were no books to read. Maybe the silence lasted for an hour, but the memory of that silence has lasted for fifty years. Great success came in the first decade. Prizes were won. The school was inspected and was declared to be providing excellent education. There was fun, too. On special feast days Mother Emilia used to wrap and throw caramels from the balcony to the pupils in the Old Hall. The more agile the pupils, the more caramels they scooped up.

Perhaps we might ask for this custom to be revived. Six years after our grand opening, inwar broke out between Britain and Germany and involved the whole of Europe.

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Sister Perpetua had started a class in the new subject of Domestic Science. A pupil remembers:. The students ran out of their practical Cookery lesson — such was the jubilation and relief that the war was over. After the war there was a new feeling of freedom for women. Hair and skirts suddenly grew shorter, even at St. The pupils may have worn gymslips in the s, but there was no gym. They also had a long bench with a strip of wood along the top.

They walked along this and jumped off at the end, remembering to bend their knees as they jumped. The Thirties! The school diary shows that House Meetings were held every month, and on the Feast Days of the various Houses there were parties, even fancy dress parties. At this time there were some boarders at the school. The Convent next door had not yet been built, and the Sisters and the boarders lived at No.

It is recorded that the boarders had midnight feasts and that one of the priests from the Oratory came round and told them ghost stories. Edith Spooner, writing in the School Magazine inwas pretty dismissive about the school stories, which were being written at that time. Such girls went out of fashion long ago. The boarders especially looked forward to the feast of Corpus Christi. There we changed into our white dresses and ed in the Mass and procession round the beautiful gardens.

After that we changed back into our cotton dresses. We were escorted to a tram and let off at the terminus in Rednal. From then on until half past five we were truly free — no sisters to watch, or guide, or scold. They must have been as glad of the break as we were! The sisters always knew where to find us for our tram ride back to the city, with our noses and arms burning from the sun: it is strange, but in all those years I cannot recall one feast day being rainy. At the end of August we were called back to school where Sr Veronica, the headmistress, told us that those pupils whose parents wished, were to be evacuated within 24 hours to a secret destination, which turned out to be Hereford.

We were issued with gas masks 20 looking for a nice Saint Paul girl instructions to carry them with us wherever we went. The welcoming Hereford householders took us into their homes and war was declared the following Sunday. However, battle did not commence immediately so after the winter we returned to Vernon Road to a school with reinforced walls on the corridors and adhesive paper darkening the window as a protection from shattering glass.

Soon the Battle of Britain began in earnest with lessons being interrupted by the air raid warning al — not always unwelcome to those who had not done their homework. She recalls: After a few months of picking our way to school through a bomb scarred city we were evacuated to Shropshire and there we stayed till when the tide of war changed and it was safe to return. We helped gather in the harvest near Coventry, and as Sixth Formers we were allowed to fire watch at school. There were about girls at the school by now. The first day of each term was a little different from the way term begins now.

At the whole school would walk up to Mass at the Oratory on the Hagley Road. There was a leisurely break time — then tutors met their new forms. Girls had not been told beforehand who their new tutors would be. Cheering was heard from some rooms as an acceptable member of staff arrived. The building was really much too small with no specialist Music or Art rooms. There was no changing room for PE. Also the playing field at that time sloped towards the reservoir — this had one advantage in that it made life difficult for visiting hockey teams unused to playing at an angle!

Although I have been to Brittany several times since, that first visit has always been special among my memories and sowed the seed of my great love for travelling. In the s all girls wore hats. Indeed the School Council got approval for straw boaters to be worn in the Summer for the Third Year upwards. These were considered very stylish, but were not very comfortable. If the wearing of hats sounds very old-fashioned to us now, the school was moving with the times in other directions.

This apparently meant that many of the dancers were exhausted as afternoon school began!

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By the beginning of the 70s the school had expanded considerably. Sadly, though, the Common Room and a of classrooms were destroyed by fire in November Sixth formers were walking up and down corridors crying because all their work had been destroyed; teachers were in a panic and there was scary excitement everywhere. I remember the calming, solemn influence of Sr Josephine as we squeezed into the Old Hall, said a prayer and made arrangements to go home.

The smell of smoke in U4 lingered for years. All the girls were packed into the Old Hall, with the Sixth Form looking down from the windows on the top corridor.

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One moment the hundreds of girls were chattering like magpies, the next 20 looking for a nice Saint Paul girl, when they realised Mother was there you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Then came the applause and the smiles. Two months later, on Remembrance Day, 11 Novemberthe school had its very own trumpeter to play the Last Post for a special Remembrance Day Assembly.

Once again the windows on the top corridor were opened and the sound of the trumpet came down to the Hall below. The school entered the s with Sr. One past pupil remembers a day when she was chosen to take part in the Shropshire hills on a very chilly January day in order to have a TV interview with no less than Prince Edward. Not only was the school in the forefront of all the most up-to-date educational developments, its community was widening out considerably to reflect the rich diversity of the community in Birmingham.

In a Multi-cultural Mass was held, which celebrated this diverse cultural heritage. How God was going to make any sense of any of this was beyond me! Yet, there was a profound message, that, even though we had different cultures and languages, we all belonged to the one Father, the God of all nations and all peoples. A former pupil — another member of staff today — tells us how much the girls loved Sr Agnes, despite her sometimes formidable presence. I remember everyone turning out their pockets and doing their bit to make sure Sr.

Agnes was safely returned to us. As far as we know Sister has no connection with any firm of builders or architects but once she came, we certainly got used to a new style of hat around the school. I wonder what those girls ofwho watched the ladies and gentlemen arriving in their carriages that October morning would think of it all?

Yet, in spite of the changes there is one thing we think they would recognise -—the spirit of St Paul that binds the community together. Together with all the staff we have seen the school gain specialist status, a new building, an accolade as an outstanding school and a wonderful celebration of its centenary in And what is that spirit that, through all the ups and downs of the life of the school, has somehow or other permeated the 90 years of its existence?

I think we need to look at our patron, St. Paul, and see what he says.

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It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never ends. On 17 Decemberthe Archbishop also blessed a second foundation stone in readiness for the new building which the school has been eagerly anticipating for many years. This building will replace the 30 year old 'prefabs' which were erected as a result of a fire and also as a temporary solution to the expanding school population.

The popularity of the school was due to its continued success in preparing and educating young women to take their place in the world. A service of blessing took place in the school chapel to give thanks for all the opportunities that the pupils and staff have been given as members of the school community. It was also to express deep gratitude to the Sisters whose vision and dedication brought this school into existence and who continue to support it today, years later.

The service was celebrated in the presence of representatives from the Sisters of Charity of St Paul, including Sister Therese Browne, a Headteacher and now the Generate of the order. There were also governors, architects, builders, past and present members of staff, and pupils. The newly formed Centenary Choir gave an uplifting performance of Love Divine. After the service, the Archbishop met with members of the School Council and members of staff.

20 looking for a nice Saint Paul girl

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