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The School Today

St Albans School is an independent school in St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is one of the most ancient educational foundations in Europe. In this place, for over a thousand years, young people have been achieving academic distinction, learning civilised and humane values and developing their personality and character to allow them to play a leading role in the wider world.

The School

St Albans is an independent academic day school offering a first rate education in an environment rich in opportunities. Boys enter the School at 11, 13 and 16, girls at 16. There are approximately 830 pupils, taught by over 100 staff. This ratio allows each child to be known and valued as an individual and the School works in partnership with parents for the fulfilment of their children’s potential.

The School is sited in the historic centre of St Albans, opposite the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, with which it has had a long association. The School is not a religious foundation, however, and welcomes pupils of all faiths or none. The Abbey and School are built on a hillside which slopes down to Verulamium Park, with its fields, sports pitches, lakes and Roman remains.

The Historic Abbey Gateway

Organisation

The School is organised into three sections: the Lower School (Years 7-8), the Middle School (Years 9-11) and the Sixth Form (Years 12-13). Below the Sixth Form, boys are organised into forms of about 24 under the guidance of a tutor, who oversees the pupils’ academic and pastoral welfare. Sixth form tutor groups typically number about 16 pupils. Advice is given on choices for examination subjects at GCSE, AS and A2 levels. Career and further education guidance is available through the Morrisby Aptitude test, taken by all pupils in Year 11, and extensive help with preparation for university entrance and UCAS for Sixth formers.

Curriculum

The School’s curriculum is under constant review in order to respond to the changes and challenges of education. In the Lower and Middle Schools the aim is to offer a broad education in order to give the pupils the maximum number of options when it comes to choices. The curriculum includes a programme of PSHE and Religious Education.

Apart from the core of English, English Literature, Mathematics, one Modern Foreign Language and Science, pupils choose IGCSE options from a range including, Latin, Ancient Greek, Geography, History, Religious Studies, German, Spanish, Drama, Music, Design & Technology and Art.

The timetable in the Sixth Form is designed to provide the greatest possible flexibility, so that boys and girls can study almost any combination of subjects, although advice is naturally offered to ensure sensible choices. Most pupils will embark on four AS courses in the Lower Sixth, taking three of the subjects on to A2 level in the Upper Sixth.

 

The Sixth Form Centre

Pen Arthur

In 1967 the School acquired what was then a derelict hill farm in the Brecon Beacons. The property was fully restored and is now a well-equipped Field Studies Centre, Pen Arthur. It is one of the School’s most valuable assets, a central component of the distinctive education offered by St Albans School. Academic departments use Pen Arthur for field trips and study weekends throughout the year, and it plays a key part as a base for outdoor activities organised by the CCF and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

 

Pen Arthur

Sports Provision

Cricket at the Woollam Playing Fields

In 2002, the School’s new sports complex, the Woollam Playing Fields, was opened after ten years’ preparation. It is the largest school playing fields development in the UK and gives the School unrivalled facilities for games. The site is shared with the Old Albanians Club, fostering close links between the School and the Club. The School has 19 winter pitches and 7 cricket pitches, an artificial surface for tennis and hockey as well as netball courts. The magnificent pavilion is also used for a number of School functions, including parents’ consultation evenings.

The School's 25m swimming pool

The summer of 2012 saw the completion of a new Sports Centre on site, with sports hall, swimming pool, climbing wall, fitness suite and dance studio.

Aquis Court

Simultaneously, the purchase of Aquis Court, a very large office building adjacent to the School, has provided spacious, modern facilities for the Sixth Form, with new Common Room, private study area, cafeteria and classrooms. The School shop has been relocated to a part of the building with convenient parking and one self-contained wing of Aquis Court houses the Art Department in spacious new facilities.

 

Aquis Court

This in turn has opened up other areas of the School for redevelopment, providing day rooms for pupils, a refectory in what was the gymnasium and the evolution of the Hall, formerly a multi-function dining/assembly hall and theatre, into a dedicated home for the Music Department and Centre for the Performing Arts.