St Paul’s Way Transformation Project

The St. Paul's Way Transformation Project is stimulating and creating enterprise and business activities in the community of Poplar, Tower Hamlets

About The St Paul’s Way Transformation Project

St. Paul’s Way is one of the most deprived areas in Tower Hamlets but lies in the midst of Europe’s largest regeneration area, encompassing the Royal Docks, Canning Town, Canary Wharf, Poplar, Stratford City, the Westfield Shopping Centre, and the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


Along St Paul’s Way, within a few hundred yards of each other, are two housing estates, a secondary school, a GP practice, two primary schools, a retail parade and several community facilities.


Yet far from bringing communities together, St Paul’s Way acted as a car-dominated boundary between the disparate communities on either side of it; one local resident described the road as “the Berlin Wall”.

A series of significant developments were planned along the street, but the thinking was not ‘joined-up’ – the school, the health centre, and the housing were going to be built in isolation to each other.


Set up in 2006, the St Paul’s Way Transformation Project is a partnership between Tower Hamlets Council, Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA), The Diocese of London, NHS Tower Hamlets, Leaside Regeneration Ltd, London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, and Andrew Mawson Partnerships. It is tasked with bringing together, in a joined-up project, the physical improvements along St Paul’s Way, creating new networks and relationships between the parties and local residents, and pursuing a coordinated vision for the future of the area.

Science Summer School

Find out more about the Science Summer School here.

St Paul’s Way Trust School, a ‘National Teaching School’ and a ‘Through School’, places science at the heart of the curriculum with its unique Faraday learning pathway. The aim is to inspire young people to become the next generation of Britain’s scientists. Our new sixth form research laboratories, designed by Queen Mary University of London, build on this offer by giving students access to exciting and cutting edge research opportunities such as the Authentic Biology DNA research project.

The opportunities for exciting and innovative careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) are almost limitless. We present an inspirational programme which mixes the best of STEAM subjects with a focus on Engineering, through a series of seminars, discussions and hands-on experiments.

St Paul’s Way Health Centre

Across the road from St Paul’s Way Trust School is the new Health Centre, currently under construction. This new facility will be three stories high with a Pharmacy and complementary healthcare on the ground floor, a GP surgery on the first floor, and with space above for Queen Mary’s Dentistry Department and DNA research. This will provide an integrated model of healthcare with a much more holistic approach to tackling the health challenges of the community.

The school will take full advantage of this world-class facility on its door step, with pupils taking part in the research and learning, ‘hands-on’, how science can change the world. Conversely, we hope that having academics embedded amongst clinicians in the heart of the community will give them plenty of scope for practical research and experimentation.

St Paul’s Way Trust School

The first of the developments to be completed was St Paul’s Way Trust School.

There was a deliberate focus on taking a community-orientated, integrated approach to the school during the building process to improve performance even before it was finished.

The school has been in its new £40 million building since January 2011. Its academic performance has improved dramatically. It is amongst the twelve most improved schools in the UK. There are high expectations for significantly better results in the future, which can be seen by the increasing waiting lists for entry.

As the first completed project along St Paul’s Way, the Community Interest Company  will be most active at the school. Along with incorporating a more business-like approach to its provisions, we will be looking to develop new services that help connect the community with the school’s specialism in science.

The first of these was a summer school in July 2012, led by the school’s Patron, Professor Brian Cox, and including a series of lectures from distinguished scientists.

Housing developments

Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA) is investing £40 million into the regeneration of the Leopold Estate, replacing the old Bison blocks with 470 new private sale and affordable homes and carrying out a major refurbishment of the remaining red brick blocks.

They are also creating a new £2.5 million community centre and transforming the landscape of the whole estate to provide quality green spaces where residents can relax and enjoy their new surroundings.

St Paul’s Way CIC Objects

The objects of the Company were to carry out activities which benefit the community of Poplar, in Tower Hamlets, London, and other local communities by creating, stimulating, and promoting:

  • entrepreneurial approaches to the social problems faced by local communities;
  • partnerships between public, business and community organisations with a view to addressing the problems faced by local communities;
  • local employment;
  • enterprise and business activity, particularly by and for members of local communities;
  • learning and educational opportunities.
  • Researching, producing, and disseminating information, and holding events and seminars to address the problems faced by local communities.
  • Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of public and social sector organisations that serve local communities.
  • Improving the quality and management of the public realm in local communities.

St Paul’s Way CIC was a social enterprise supported by two business partners, G4S plc and Catlin plc, who were seeking to develop entrepreneurial opportunities in the area. In practice this means making the most of the physical assets by developing partnerships with local entrepreneurs. For example, St Paul’s Way CIC worked with the Tessa Sanderson Foundation to explore setting up a sports and fitness programme in the school outside of school hours, which will help integrate the new buildings with the local communities and make the facilities financially sustainable. As well as taking a business approach to the school’s facilities, St Paul’s Way CIC was looking to inject an enterprise mentality to the student’s education. An approach was developed to attract the best of local businesses to engage students in the practical application of their academic subjects, demonstrating a link between learning and earning.

St Paul’s Way CIC saw this method as fundamental to our success: coordinating isolated elements so that they work together and the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.


St Paul’s Way,

London Borough of Tower Hamlets,


E3 4AL


SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2019


SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2018


SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2017

SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2016

SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2015

SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2014

SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2013

SPW Summer Brian Cox Science School 2012

Transforming St Paul’s Way

SPW Transformation Project – Phase 1 building the road as we walk on it