My name is Rebecca Baxter and I am the Head of Middle School. I have a deputy, Danny Rowland, and together we are responsible for pupils’ pastoral care and academic progress through their two important GCSE years.
In the Middle School, each form has a form tutor who has been carefully selected because of their ability to work with students in the Fourth and Fifth Forms, who remains a pupil’s tutor during the two years. As in other sections of the School, tutor groups will have about 24 pupils, and each form has a form prefect who works with the tutor on both administrative and pastoral duties, including acting as a mentor to selected students.
As well as registering pupils twice a day, tutors will also see pupils for tutor periods every Tuesday and Thursday, and some Wednesdays. During this time, tutors will pass on important information and will use the time to further broaden a St Albans School education. In both years, this will include discussion of the term’s PSHE topic, activities and conversations to support the development of the School Values, and the organisation of charity projects. In the Fourth Form, tutors will also help their tutees to prepare for their PSHE assembly, which each form delivers once during the year.
In the Middle School, we realise the importance of goal-setting and encouraging students to consider their aspirations for the future. As part of the ongoing careers guidance programme, all Fourth Form students will complete the Morrisby Profile - an aptitude test - during the Summer Term. At the start of the Fifth Form, each student will have a one-to-one conversation with their tutor to review the profile and discuss plans for the future, including A Level choices and beyond. We also have a full programme of support to aid pupils in achieving their ambitions, and Mr Rowland and I work closely with tutors, subject teachers and the Learning Support Department to ensure that all students are empowered to reach their full potential.
There are many opportunities available for pupils to make the most of in Middle School. Alongside studying for 10 GCSE subjects, they have access to a full range of co-curricular activities, including the Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We actively encourage all students to participate in the co-curricular programme, as we believe it is an integral part of their education and furthers the development of values such as courage, organisation and reflectiveness, which are essential for success in the classroom and beyond. Pupils also have the opportunity to undertake the Higher Project Qualification, which encourages an inquisitive and industrious attitude and will enable them to develop their independent study skills.
Regular Middle School Assemblies tackle important concerns and topics facing pupils and combine with the PSHE programme to develop their empathy and mindfulness about the School, local and global community. Recent Middle School assemblies have included: Goal-setting; Resilience; Managing Risk; Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing; Study Skills and Internet Safety. PSHE during the Middle School covers topics such as: Diversity; Risk Taking and Self Control; Healthy Relationships and Mental Health.
St Albans School believes in a holistic education, and through its pastoral, academic and co-curricular endeavours, we hope that all Middle School students will develop the qualities of self-discipline, ambition and integrity, which will enable them to flourish during their time throughout the School and in their life beyond.
St Albans Private School offers a curriculum broadly based on the National Curriculum, while giving pupils the opportunity to study additional subjects.
Pastoral care is a significant strength of the School and every teacher in the School has a pastoral role. The School’s 2014 ISI Inspection Report cited pastoral care as ‘excellent’ and noted that each pupil was ‘well-known and valued as an individual’ as the staff know their pupils ‘extremely well and foster an excellent atmosphere of trust and safety, leading to strong and positive relationships’.
All our pupils, from First to Sixth Form, are members of a tutor group, organised by year. The tutor is the first point of contact for parents and oversees the personal and academic welfare of pupils, through a combination of informal contact and tutor periods. Tutors meet with their tutees twice a day and play a key role in the delivery of our PSHEE programme and in ensuring that their tutees are healthy, both mentally and physically.
Coordinating the work of these tutors are the Heads of Section, who are all members of the Senior Management Team: Lower School (Years 7 & 8), Third Form (Year 9), Middle School (Years 10 & 11) and Sixth Form. A distinctive feature of our pastoral care is the supportive role played by form prefects, sixth formers chosen by a very careful selection process to assist the tutors.
The School Nurses and Chaplain make an important contribution to our pastoral provision, while the Counsellor, who is not a member of staff, is available each week for confidential consultation.
Parents can meet their child’s teachers and tutors at Parents’ Consultation Evenings and at a number of informal social occasions during the year.
St Albans School’s results once again far exceed the national average. In 2016, 95% of GCSEs taken at the School were awarded A*- B grades, with 47% being awarded the top A* grade. The School’s A* and A grades equated to 77% of all results.
|Percentage grades A* to C||99|
|Percentage grade A||77|
|Percentage grade A*||47|
|Percentage gaining A* to C in at least 5 subjects||100|
|Percentage gaining A* to C in English||100|
|Percentage gaining A* to C in Mathematics||100|
|Points per candidate||71.3|
|Points per entry||7.2|
Students achieving a ‘clean sweep’ of eleven A* grades across all subjects taken are Oliver Barratt-Johnson, Ben Craig, William Drake and William Foxton.
A number of pupils achieved at least 10 A* grades, including Timothy Bagnall, Jordan Collingwood, Owain Cooke, Harry Hemsi, Jamie Irani and Arjun Kolli. Those achieving at least 9 A*s are Jack Bevan, Caspar Fleming, Max Fryer, Stephen Heaney, Ed Lambert, Benjamin Plumer, Angus Potter, Jamie Sanderson, James Scragg, James Van Der Welle and Morgan Wynne.
These results are all the more impressive given that in the majority of subjects St Albans pupils take the more demanding International GCSE (IGCSE), which serves as a much better preparation for A level study.
“Congratulations to our pupils on their individual successes this year. The results are in line with our expectations of this year group, and I am looking forward to welcoming our successful candidates into the Sixth Form together with the large number of new pupils joining the School next week. Their strong results will provide firm foundations for their progress to A level and beyond.”