January 26th, 2006
Fifth form GCSE Music students gave a concert in the Library, performing a variety of music, much of it composed by the artists themselves. Styles ranged from jazz, with Paul Harris and Patrick Courtney playing Finger Bustin’ Boogie, to contemporary rock, with Richard Seaman and John Haines’ rendition of the Arctic Monkeys’ song Riot Van. Tim Clark, Matt Bevan and Ben Gallop all performed accomplished classical solos on cello, oboe and violin respectively. Geoffrey Ewen and Titus Murphy, with the help of Second former Joe Davies, played Corelli’s Trio Sonata. Original music was performed by Nathan Lay, Ben Gallop and Richard Seaman, demonstrating the composition skills they have learned as part of the GCSE Music course. The concert was given a rousing end with four of the musicians belting out the old Beatles’ classic Back in the USSR.
January 26th, 2006
Not even a bitter icy wind managed to cool the enthusiasm of a group of the School’s hockey players as they worked hard on their techniques at Woollams, under the charismatic guidance of Simon Mason. Simon, veteran of three Olympic Games, is the goalkeeper for the Great Britain Hockey team. Though he has never won Gold, he has earned an appearance on the BBC’s Question of Sport. He drilled the pupils on number of techniques, showing them how to make effective passes in front of goal and convert these into successful shots, and gave particularly strong advice to goalkeepers, based on his own experiences. Of course, he demonstrated the skills with a dazzling display of his own technique. He was impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the pupils, and thanked them for their participation, but gave them a salutary warning that success in sport is built on dedication, teamwork and long drill practices, rather than relying on moments of flair. The U15B team immediately demonstrated the value of his coaching, beating Haileybury 9-0 in a match following Simon’s session.
January 20th, 2006
The best plays from the Third Form Play writing Competition were performed on Thursday in the New Place studio. The evening was a great success, with some very strong comic performances. All plays and performances were excellent, but the winners of the Best Actor Awards, Tom Dace and Jethro Lee, clearly demonstrated why they had been chosen. The two plays that received the Best Play Awards where A Stain On Both Your Trousers and Adventures of Super Hero. A very good audience enjoyed a splendid evening’s entertainment.
January 19th, 2006
The Government’s Secondary Schools performance tables were published today, and show that St Albans School is doing very well indeed. The Times shows that the School is among the top 50 independent schools for A level, while The Telegraph puts St Albans in 25th position for independent schools at GCSE. The BBC website matches schools according to area. This shows that locally we are joint 1st for GCSE and in 2nd position for A/AS level. In addition to this, a comparison of local schools’ value-added scores places St Albans in 10th position.
Headmaster Andrew Grant said: “We have talented staff, talented pupils and high expectations. Naturally, I am very pleased that the sharp focus on academic success and the very hard work put by teachers and students have been reflected in these results. Particularly encouraging is the fact that, although our pupils are already high-achievers when they come here, the Value-Added score shows that they go on to do better, by about 6 GCSE grades each, than pupils of similar ability nationally.”
January 16th, 2006
If you need to find your way in a hurry, you could do worse than ask the advice of Lower Sixth former Edwin Baynes. Joint captain of the School’s orienteering team, he has been competing in the School Orienteering League. In November he raced in the County Championships in Ashridge Forest, winning the event to become the County Intermediate Boy Champion. He was awarded the trophy earlier this month.
Edwin has not been the only successful orienteer; in the younger County Championships age group, James Harrison finished 4th and Philip Corns 15th out of 70 Competitors, while in recent events Adam Bennett has represented both the county and South East England.
January 11th, 2006
Everyone agrees that computer skills are essential in modern education, but conventional computer courses do not always cover the practical tasks for which computers are used. A group of our pupils have recently completed the European Computer Driving Licence, a Europe-wide qualification, which tests skills in word-processing, spreadsheets, databases and the internet among others. They are practical tests based on how computers are used in real-world situations.
Though aimed at adults, 17 pupils from St Albans School have passed all seven modules of the qualification, including, remarkably, thirteen who completed the course while in the Second form. Head of ICT Mr David Richards said, “the ECDL offers our pupils an excellent opportunity of improving their ICT skills while working towards a very relevant and worthwhile qualification.” All pupils at the School have the opportunity to follow the course.