St. Paul's Co-educational College (Traditional Chinese: 聖保羅男女中學), (often abbreviated as St. Paul's Co-ed., St. Paul's or SPCC) is located at 33 MacDonnell Road, Mid-levels, Hong Kong.
The School has a long history (since 1915), and students performed exceptionally well academically and in inter-school competitions, making SPCC one of the most renowned schools in Hong Kong. Eminent for its choirs, orchestra and harmonica orchestra, the school has a strong emphasis towards music, and is regarded as one of the best schools for students' musical development in Hong Kong. Apart from the music groups mentioned above, the school also organizes wind band, guitar ensemble, pianist chamber.
The school was founded in 1915 as St. Paul's Girls' College by the Anglican church. It was the first school in Hong Kong to require students to wear uniforms (1918).
The chairman of the School Council is Professor Sheung-Wai Tam.
It is operated under the Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS), and was the first subsidized school to join the scheme. Each student pays HK$48000 annually which is the maximum limit for a DSS school restricted by the HKSAR government.
The motto of the school is 'Faith, Hope and Love'.
The school is currently on the route of Citybus
route 12A from the Admiralty
(Tamar Street) Bus Terminal and the Green Minibus route 1A from the Central City Hall. There are bus routes 3B, 12, 23, 23B, 40, 103, minibuses 9, 22, 22S, 28 at Kennedy Road, just below the school. The school is also accessible by taxi, or even on foot if the gradient is not too taxing for the individual. The school is not too far away from Hong Kong Park, and can be reached by exiting from Pacific Place and taking a short walk through the Park. School bus services are provided to students.
Situated in the Mid-levels, the school campus is naturally deprived of space. The school comprises currently 12 floors, including the roof structure, and two "underground" floors, which are only partially underground. Flooring system is based on the American style, which counts floors similarly to the Chinese style, to avoid confusion. It is announced that there will be a whole new classroom arrangements in the coming school year (2008-2009). However, the new floor plan has not been published yet.
The lowest floor contains an outdoor irregular patch of ground named the triangular football pitch due to the roughly triangular shape, the gymnasium, a table tennis room, and a boys' changing room.
One floor up and there is the girls' changing room as well as the Design and Technology Workshop.
On the first floor, there is a staff room (Staff Room (D)), two music rooms, four Form Two classrooms (2A - 2D), Special Room D, tuck shop and a boys' lavatory. There is also an outdoor tiny playground for badminton. A White Champaca
(or White Sandalwood, Michelia alba
) tree grows from this playground through the open air, passing all the corridors to a point higher than the school's current highest point. The lower exit on this floor enters the Tramway Path between MacDonnell Road and Kennedy Road. The trail overlooks the aforementioned football pitch.
On the second floor, there are the three Form Two classrooms, three Form Three classrooms, Special Room B, an Interview Room, a Supporting Service Office (SSO) (formerly named as stationery office/sick room), the Art room, the new Conference Room, the Special Room A (also known as the Needle Work Room, attached the secondary school campus with a staircase and has a door that leads to the basketball court of the primary school), the Integrated Science Laboratory, two girls' lavatories, and three new extra classrooms which was renovated from the old covered playground that used to contain table tennis tables, and overlooked the tiny ground floor playground (the badminton court) and the slope, now steps with plants, between them. This playground used to hold game stalls on games days and club activity days before the transformation. A staircase links the covered playground to the tiny playground on the first floor, right outside the windows of Music Room A. There is also a Student Union Room beside the staircase. The backstage of the Hall on the third floor is also accessible from stairs between 2F and 2G classroom.
On the third floor, there are two staff rooms (Staff Rooms (B) and (C)), six Form Three classrooms, a boys' and a girls' lavatories, The Sir Robert Kotewall Hall (aka "The Hall" or "School Hall"), the Biology and Advanced Biology Laboratories.
On the fourth floor of the Old Wing (the red brick portion), there is a staffroom (Staff Room (A)), classrooms of Form Four and Five, A and B. A new reception area cum satellite library is also being built on this floor. Form Four Classrooms C to E, girls' lavatory and the IT-Learning Centre (ITLC) (which is also known as the computer room) are situated on the lower fourth floor of the New Wing while Form Five C to E, boys' lavatory and Lower Six Science C are on the upper fourth floor of the New Wing. A set of wooden stairs lead down to the third floor outside the Hall, and a concrete one up towards the roof of the Hall, where there is an outdoor basketball court. The gallery at the back of the Hall is accessed here. The MacDonnell Road entrance is also situated on this floor, near Staff Room (A). The core part of the school can be found on the fourth floor of the school as well, consisting of the Student Affairs Office (SAO), the Administration office and the Principal's office.
On the fifth floor are the three Upper Sixth Science classrooms (A, B, C) and two Lower Sixth ones (A, B), one of which (Upper Six Science C,which is formerly Upper Six Science B) is isolated by the Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry Laboratories that take up a portion of the corridor. The classroom is isolated because safety regulations disallow students to enter or walk through the labs. Also on this floor are the Physics and Advanced Physics Laboratories, the girls' lavatory, and the basketball court on the top of the Hall. The Principal's Conference Room can be found next to the Advanced Physics Laboratory, and can alternatively be reached from a staircase on the fourth floor next the MacDonnell Road exit. Hence, students are disallowed from going up that staircase.
The sixth floor houses the English Corner and the Dance Studio, reachable by staircases in the New Wing. Staircases in the Old Wing leads up to the roof, which is theoretically out of bounds for students. However, it is a tradition for Upper Sixth graduated to go up to the roof to celebrate their last day in school, and janitors would be tolerant of this rule-breaking on that particular day.
The sixth floor in the Primary School building houses Form Five F, Lower and Upper Sixth Arts classrooms, two staff rooms (Staff Rooms (G) and (E)), with Staff Room G formerly known as the Old AV Room, and the Geography Room. On the seventh floor in the Primary School building, there is Form Four F, the school library, a staff room (Staff Room (F)), the Finance Office, the Community Relations Office and the Project Office. This portion in the primary school section is relatively remote from the main campus, and is nicknamed "Siberia" by students.
The school's swimming pool is located at 1 Calder Path.
The School Improvement Programme (SIP) Annex has been in use since October 2006. This annex is a small block behind the Hall which raises the building from ten up to 12 floors, including a few new classrooms, a computer room, a staff room (Staff Room (H)), a chapel and a multi-purpose room. Due to the height of the building, it is nicknamed 'High Mountain' by students.
Primary School Building
In 2008, the secondary school will undergo redevelopment when the primary school moves to its new campus in Wong Chuk Hang. Once this has been done, the primary school building will be demolished and rebuilt as a new wing of the secondary school.
Normally, there is an assembly every school day from 8:30 am to 8:45 am. Students start arriving the hall from 8:20 - 8:30 am. While waiting for all students to be seated, a student, or 2 in duet, from the Pianist Chamber plays a classical piece of music (except some of the pianists, like Samson Lau and Lucy Liu, played alumnus Lau Ting Sum's composed pieces). Assembly starts with hymn singing and the Lord's Prayer, which is then followed by performances, presentations, speeches etc. It usually ends with announcements of the school, clubs and interest groups.
When assembly is to include performances, presentations, speeches etc, there will be a 30-minute "Long assembly" instead. It ends with a reminder of a different timetable for morning lessons
St. Paul's Co-educational College is remembered as the first secondary school, not exactly sure, that requires students to wear school uniforms in Hong Kong, thus beginning the culture.
The uniforms of St. Paul's today are one of the typical styles of Hong Kong student uniforms. Boys wear black jackets and girls wear dark green dresses. The idea behind the uniform is often cited as to be as complicated and stylish as possible. This implies no make-up and only a pair of simple ear studs (no earrings) for girls, and boys should not have hair that is long enough to touch the shirt's collar. Flamboyant hairstyles are not permitted.
The male summer uniform is a white short-sleeved shirt, a metal school badge above the sole chest pocket on the left, with deep blue trousers, black shoes and white socks with no logos; The winter uniform is a long-sleeved white shirt with grey trousers, with a red school tie with tiny blue school badges on them (these are worn with the summer uniform for ceremonial purposes as well, and probably with a long-sleeved shirt if called for). The deep blue suit-jacket style blazer with a large silver-brimmed school badge sewn onto the chest pocket is compulsory.
The female summer uniform is based on the traditional cheongsam, plain blue with darker blue rims, with white socks and black shoes. The school badge is positioned below the collar in the middle. The winter uniform is similar, except that the dress is long-sleeved, of a thick material, without different coloured brims and is navy blue. Again, the blazer is optional. The dress must be long enough to conceal the knees when standing up. At below 12 degrees Celsius or for specific health conditions, girls are allowed to wear a white long-sleeved shirt and long blue trousers.
Wool jumpers are optional for both the summer and winter. These must be dark blue. They can either be customized ones with the SPCC logo on it that are sold at school, or completely dark blue, where if the metal school badge is concealed, it must be replaced onto the jumper. The jumpers can be sleeveless, long sleeved, buttoned or unbuttoned.
Sports wear is common for boys and girls: a white, short-sleeved top with a modernized school badge and 'SPCC' on the left side of the chest, with a pair of dark blue shorts, white socks and sports shoes that should be mostly white. However, the shorts for boys and girls are slightly different. Those for boys are looser (similar to basketball shorts) while those for girls are more tight-fitting (similar to volleyball shorts).
Swimming gear: swimming trunks for boys and swimsuits for girls. They are of the same colour, the same red and white stripes running vertically, and the words 'SPCC' sewn onto them near the left hip.
The school promotes a "Language Policy". Students are encouraged to speak Putonghua or English, but most frequently students insist on speaking Cantonese on the campus.
Cleaning Campaign intends to motivate students to keep their classrooms clean and tidy while the real intention is commonly believed to be 'saving manpower for the school', due to the release of the result of how much electricity saved. The regular inspections are supposed to operate every week. In addition to the regular inspections, there are also sudden inspections occasionally. Classes with the lowest marks in cleanliness and tidiness will have to stay after school to clean up their classrooms. The three classes with the highest and lowest marks will be announced respectively. Classes with highest scores will be awarded certificates.
The Culture Salons are organized by a core group consisting of students from different forms. The core group organizes activities that elevate students' awareness and concern about the past, and current culture. Guests are often invited to give talk at school during morning assemblies and Enrichment Programme Days.
It is announced in the assembly on 23rd June, 2008 that a new timetable will be introduced in the next school year. There will be several main changes. The number of cycle days in 1 cycle will be increased from 5 to 10. There will be no more lessons of 30 minutes and all lessons will be of 1 hour. The lunchtime and recesses are also lenghthened. There is an additional Form Teacher Period everyday before the morning assembly. As a result, school starts earlier and ends later. Such policies are said to be implemented for the convenience of the construction of the new school campus. Reaction towards the new policies is mixed.
The choirs are the most prestigious school teams in SPCC. There are three choirs in the college, the Treble Choir, the Concert Choir and the Senior Mixed Voice Choir. The Treble Choir is the only junior choir in SPCC and the members are usually from Form 1-3. On the contrary, the Concert Choir and the Senior Mixed Voice Choir mainly consist of Form 3-7 members. There are about 120 members in CC and 80 members in SMVC. Talented members in the CC with good attendance can have the chance of being promoted to the SMVC and compete in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival.
The Senior Mixed Voice Choir has been achieving excellent results in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival and other international competitions since its establishment in 1949. The SMVC is now ranked at position 475 in the World Choir Ranking List of Musica Mundi, the organiser of the World Choir Games.
Comparing with other school teams and clubs, the senior choirs have the most "complicated" administrative structure. Each committee member have different roles in the senior choir. For instance, there is one chairman, one chairlady, 4 part leaders, 4 part coordinators, 3 secretaries, one treasurer and 3 librarians. Choir has 17 students work together as the committee, compared with clubs of less than 10 committee.
This opposes against the policy of club position limitation, but due to its position in the school, all the school teams are not bounded with this rule.
Starting from the era of Dr. Anissa Chan, the chairpersons and the part leaders of the senior choirs need to lead the singings of hymns on stage, instead of the teacher-in-charge of the event, making students have less or no chance to hear the voice from the teachers. At the same time, prefects take the role of announcing notices, rather than teachers. The reason of the change is suspected to avoid mispronunciation of the teachers, for instance, one of the teachers broke the boredom by pronouncing fellowship as "followship", triggering laughter.
The SPCC Alumni Choir was founded in 1980 at the initiative of the late former Principal Dr BM Kotewall, who wanted to preserve the tradition of musical excellence of the School. It made its debut at the 1980 Summer Concert under the founding conductor Geoffrey Ko, who passed on the baton to John Lowe and Barnabas Chung in 1982.
In addition to its regular appearances in the Carol Service, the Summer Concert and other significant functions of the School, the Alumni Choir also organizes public concerts on its own or with other performing groups, continuously providing a vital and precious musical and social link among different generations of graduates.
The college had an affiliated primary school: St. Paul's Co-educational College Primary School, which was once divided into two half-day schools, St. Paul's Co-educational (Kennedy Road) Primary School (former St. Paul's Co-educational P.M. Primary School) and St. Paul's Co-educational (MacDonnell Road) Primary School (former St. Paul's Co-educational A.M. Primary School) to cope with the demand for places, they resumed full-day education in 1999.
The secondary school curriculum is taught in English, except for Chinese Language, Chinese History and Putonghua. Furthermore, its primary school teaches predominantly in English with help of Cantonese, and some lessons are taught by native English Teachers.
Public services / professionals
- High School attached to Tsinghua University, Beijing, China - sister school
- Shanghai High School , Shanghai, China - sister school
- Nankai High School, Tianjin, China - sister school
- Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia - sister school
- St Andrew's Cathedral School, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia - sister school
- St Joseph's Institution, Singapore, - sister school
- CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) [Convent of Holy Infant Jesus (Toa Payoh)], Singapore - sister school
- St. George's School (Vancouver), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - sister school
- Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA - sister school
- One of the five member schools for the Student Science Conference Platform, including Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore; Nankai High School, Tianjin, China, Stella Matutina Girls’High School Taichung, Taiwan; The Hutchins School, Tasmania, Australia; St. Paul's Co-educational College, Hong Kong, China
"The Mangrove", the tuck shop of SPCC supplies snacks and lunch boxes which most of the students do not prefer. On Kennedy Road , there are three shops which have been supplying lunch boxes for mainly the students from SPCC and St. Joseph's College. They are "King Shing", "Man Lee" and "Huen Kee". (They are also informally called by SPCC students as "The First Shop", "The Second Shop" and "The Third Shop" respectively).
The prices of their lunch boxes have been soared twice from $20 to $22, and $22 to $24 within a month during 2007-2008 academic year.
There is another choice for the students. The YWCA restaurant at MacDonnell Road provide lunch boxes and drinks, priced HK$15, but increased to HK$18 in 2008.
Annual Summer Music Event
To celebrate the 90th anniversary of SPCC, the school held the Extravaganza in the Asia World Arena which is far away from the school in 2006. This act set a record of being the first school holding an event that involves all students and the first school to use the Asia World Arena.
In 2008, even the annual music event - Summer Concert, which usually takes place in Hong Kong Cultural Center, is cancelled this year. The reason for this is that both the Treble Choir and the Senior Mixed Voice Choir are participating in the 5. World Choir Games Graz, Austria. This reduces the opportunity of the other music groups' performance. According to the Music Department, it is said that the Summer Concert will be presented to all again in 2009.
On 15th November, 2006, a press release was published. It introduced plans for an IB Diploma programme from the academic year of 2010. This will be accompanied by upgrading the campus to accommodate foreign exchange students and non-local staff/ students, giving students more exposure to the broader world, in a bid to make St. Paul's a world-class institution.
Clubs and Societies
The club and society promotion which is the most intriguing during assembly yearly in Mr. Henry Poon's era no longer exist under Dr Anissa Chan's regime. The promotion provided opportunities for student to have a chance to act, give presentation and promote the clubs during the assembly and it was part of the collective memories of the past SPCC. Still is the reminiscence of the alumni and some senior form students, the club and society promotion now survives only as the performances by the Music Society, including the choir, school orchestra, harmonica orchestra, wind band and pianist chamber.
New Principal and changing into DSS
At least 6 extra computers were installed in every Form 1 classroom during the first year of the Direct Subsidy Scheme. In the next year, 6 extra computers were installed in every Form 2 classroom. Mr. Henry Poon, the principal of that time, states that "renovation starts from the first floor" which aroused discontent among the higher forms. Ironically, when the new principal, Dr Anissa Chan, came into duty, all the extra computers in the classroom were removed to Computer Room to prevent students from browsing websites that are not for educational purpose (though the term "educational purpose" is not clearly defined).