About Us

WELCOME FROM THE

HEADMASTER

A School that is proud of its long and distinguished history, yet one whose prime focus is the needs of its students for the world of the future; a School whose pupils achieve outstanding examination results in the most demanding academic subjects and gain entry to the leading universities, yet one that believes that a good education comprises so much more than examination grades – these are two of the hallmarks of St Albans School.

With just over 850 pupils, St Albans School is not a particularly large school, enabling each pupil to be well-known, valued and supported as an individual and to feel part of our friendly community. Our fundamental focus as a School is on the wellbeing of our pupils: the fulfillment of academic and co-curricular potential will only happen if a pupil is settled and happy in school, so we direct significant resources and attention towards pastoral care. Accordingly, the School’s vision statement is focused on each and every pupil. It reads: to help each pupil flourish intellectually and personally, developing self-knowledge and self-confidence in order to find meaning and purpose in life.

Inspirational teaching across the range of academic subjects ensures strong intellectual development, whilst outstanding provision and achievements in the wider curriculum enrich each pupil’s experience. St Albans School is no one-dimensional academic hothouse, but rather a multi-dimensional institution, where academic excellence and strong pastoral care lie at the core of an exceptional holistic education. In this historic school, located in a quiet tree-lined area at the heart of this vibrant city, our pupils develop important values and skills, as well as learning an awareness and understanding of the wider world in which they will soon be playing a leading role.

There has been a school on the Abbey Gateway site for more than 1000 years. Today, St Albans School is one of the leading day schools in the country, a centre of educational excellence, occupying a campus that has been transformed in recent years, with the building of the Sports Centre and the acquisition of adjoining premises to house the Sixth Form Centre and additional teaching accommodation. Other exciting developments are underway, to enhance further our excellent academic and co-curricular facilities.

It is a great privilege to lead this outstanding School. We look forward to welcoming you to the School on one of our Open Mornings or for an individual tour and enabling you to gain a sense of the diversity of the School, of its culture of achievement, of the enthusiasm for learning and of the relish of challenge, all of which are characteristic of life at St Albans School.

JONATHAN GILLESPIE

About Us

OUR

HISTORY

The beauty of the School’s historic buildings and its proximity to and association with the Abbey give an immediate indication of its long history. It is believed that the year 948 was the likeliest date of the School’s first foundation, by Abbot Wulsin. The School has experienced growth and evolution into its current status as a world-class private school, but we are proud of our unique and important history.

By 1100, the School had built such a high educational reputation, that the renowned Norman scholar, Geoffrey de Gorham, applied for the post of Master. In fact, he was later to become Abbot of St Albans and the School then remained under the control of the Abbot until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539.

In 1549, by a private Act of Parliament, the last Abbot was granted the right to establish a Grammar School, subsequently maintained by the Mayor and burgesses of the city. In 1570, Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal and then living at Gorhambury, put the financing of the School on a firmer footing through a Wine Charter. At this time, the School was located in the Lady Chapel of the Abbey and was to remain there for the next 300 years, until 1871 when it was relocated to the Abbey Gateway. Over the next century, a steady period of expansion was to follow, initially under the Headmastership of E. Montague-Jones, then W.T. Marsh and Frank Kilvington.

History

Ethos, Aims & Values

St Albans School is renowned for its long and distinguished history. Whilst we celebrate our heritage with pride, we continue to focus on our current and future provision. To this end our ethos, vision and aims – all under our familiar motto – have been refreshed and updated to underpin the School’s commitment to educational excellence, both today and in the future.

Pastoral Care

PASTORAL CARE

Pastoral care is a significant strength of the School and every teacher in the School has a pastoral role. The 2014 ISI Inspection Report cited the School’s pastoral care as ‘excellent’ and noted that each pupil was ‘well-known and valued as an individual’ as the staff knew 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 PSHE programme and in ensuring 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 and sixth formers, chosen by a very careful selection process to assist the tutors.

Furthermore, the School Nurses and Chaplain make an important contribution to our pastoral provision, while the School Counsellor, who is not a member of staff, is available to all pupils each week for confidential consultation.

Parents are encouraged and welcomed to come and meet with their child’s teachers and tutors at Parents’ Consultation Evenings as well as at a number of informal social occasions during the year.

CURRICULUM

SUBJECTS IN FORMS 1-3

In the First to third Forms, as well as the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, pupils all study the humanities, technology and the expressive arts and can select from a range of modern and classical languages.

SUBJECTS AT IGCSE

All pupils take Mathematics, English, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry and Physics and a Modern Language as their core IGCSE subjects. Pupils choose three further option subjects from a further Modern Language (French, German, Spanish), Art, Computing, Design and Technology, Drama, Economics, Electronics, Geography, Greek, History, Latin, Music, Physical Education and Religious Studies. Mathematics is taken early, in January of the Fifth Form.

SUBJECTS AT A LEVEL

Pupils can choose freely from a wide range of subjects in the Sixth Form, including Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Civilisations, Design and Technology, Drama, Economics, Electronics, English Literature, French, Geography, German, Greek, History, Latin, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Religious Studies and Spanish. All students embark on an Extended Project, which develops their planning and research skills and enables them to work on an area of personal interest.

LEARNING SUPPORT

All pupils on entry to Forms 1 and 3 are tested for signs of dyslexia and similar conditions. The Learning Support Co-ordinator advises parents when further investigation seems appropriate and some extra support is available within School.

HOMEWORK

Homework is set and marked regularly to a published timetable in all years. The School Library is open and supervised until 6pm most evenings to provide an opportunity for pupils to work in a quiet environment with reference books and the internet on hand for research.

DEPARTMENTS

ART

The Art studios are located in the Aquis Court building, giving opportunities for the creation of artwork in two and three dimensions. We offer GCSE and AS and A2 courses. One scholarship is available for pupils entering the school in Year 9. We explore a wide area of study in our curriculum: Painting and Drawing, Printmaking (including Screen printing, Linoprints, Etching and Collographs), Sculpture, Graphics and Critical/Historical Studies. We arrange visits to Galleries for all examination classes. These are usually to London, e.g. the Tate and the National Gallery. Foreign visits for Sixth Formers have included Paris and Amsterdam. We offer a Junior Art Club for Years 7 to 9 on one evening after school, a Senior Club for Years 10 & 11 and Sixth Form on another evening.

Classics

Classics at St Albans School has much to offer all our pupils.

The study of the Latin and Greek languages expands their vocabularies and gives them a deeper understanding of how English works. The study of the Romans and the Greeks, fascinating in itself, enables pupils to understand their own world much better: our buildings, politics, art, literature and law, among much else.

Latin is studied by all boys in Year 7. Boys choose two from French, Latin and German to take as a second language through Years 8 and 9. Those entering the School at Year 9 may choose Latin as an option and all students who do so will have a brief introduction to Ancient Greek. It is also possible for a boy entering the school in Year 9 who has not studied Latin before to start from scratch provided that they do some preparatory work over the summer holidays. For GCSE, Latin pupils take the language exam and the Verse and Prose Literature options at the end of Year 11. A few pupils also take GCSE Greek. AS and A2 courses are offered in Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation.

There are Classics trips in the October Half Term to Italy and Greece and closer to home to various museums and theatre productions.

Computing

Computing is the study of how computers and computer systems work, how they are designed and programmed, how to apply computational thinking and how to make best use of information technology. Our curriculum takes a rigorous and academic approach which aims to give all pupils a strong foundation from which they can progress to an IGCSE and A Level in Computing, should they choose

Lower School

Our curriculum has been designed to be accessible to all pupils, regardless of their previous experience of Computer Science. We set optional challenges to allow pupils to develop and deepen their knowledge. As a new department to the school, we currently offer two periods a week to First Form and one period a week to Second Form. The Third Form curriculum for 2017 is currently under review.

Study units include:

  • Algorithms
  • Programming
  • Computer architecture
  • Cybersecurity
  • Robotics
  • Web design and development
  • Computer networks
  • Digital literacy skills

Middle School & Sixth Form

Computing is being introduced to pupils higher up the school through clubs and extra-curricular activities.

Cross-Curricular Clubs

  • Code Club is supporting the National Cipher Challenge through programming (Mathematics Department).
  • Python Programming for Third and Fourth Form (Computing Department).
  • Robot Revolution (Design and Technology Department).

Design & Technology

‘The teaching of design and technology in our schools is a vital requirement for the country’s future in the 21st century.’ – James Dyson, inventor and manufacturer of the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner.

Design and Technology helps enable students to be ready for tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies. The subject calls for students to become autonomous and creative problem solvers, as individuals and members of teams, who respond to design opportunities or problems, producing a range of ideas and making quality prototypes or systems.

The combination of practical skills and an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, function and industrial practices allow them to evaluate past and present design and technology, its use and effects. Through design and technology, all students can become innovators as well as discriminating and informed users of products. They acquire transferable skills which are valuable in all aspects of future life.

Design and technology enables students to:

  • Understand how design and technology affects our lives;
  • Contribute to the use and development of technology in our society through informed participation;
  • Relate their personal experience to the work of commerce and industry;
  • Be effective in the future changing world of work.

Our Design and Technology department, staffed by five specialist teachers with the support of a technician, is well equipped for the study of both the traditional and modern aspects of the subject. Lessons are taught in a suite of interconnecting rooms over two floors, which include two large multipurpose workshops with access to ICT facilities and CAD/CAM equipment, a systems and control/electronics lab and a graphics studio with model making workshop. Our well-resourced equipment ranges from traditional hand tools to modern computer aided design and manufacturing facilities (CAD/CAM) such as laser cutters, 3D printers and CNC routers. However, we still make much use of our hot metal treatment area along with our wood and metal machining equipment.

Design and Technology is studied by all students in the first three years, through a KS3 foundation course, giving them a broad range of experiences in all elements of the subject. The students can then opt to study either D&T or Electronics at GCSE which then leads to advanced level courses in D&T – Product Design or Electronics. At this level, the students’ are expected to take a much more professional approach to their work, linking themselves to a client and taking the target market group into consideration.

As you would expect, much goes on beyond the classroom and students pursue their interests through involvement in various D&T clubs and activities. We also compete in a number of engineering and technological competitions and challenges throughout the year. We are an Arkwright affiliated school and are keen to encourage students to explore the career opportunities within all fields of Design and Engineering.

Drama

“Drama is life with the dull parts left out.” – Alfred Hitchcock

The Drama Department is based in New Place, a building 50 metres from the main school buildings, named after Shakespeare’s final place of residence in Stratford-upon-Avon. The whole building is dedicated to Drama with purpose-designed classrooms, a costume and props store, theatre library, and a black box studio which is a professional and flexible performance space. The studio is well equipped with a full lighting rig and sound capabilities and we have a full-time Drama Technician who oversees all shows and works with technical students. The Drama Department also has the use of an outdoor Amphitheatre and the Dance Studio in the Sports Centre. Looking to the future, we will utilise the planned Performing Arts Centre when completed.

Members of the Drama Department are all active practitioners and have personal experience regarding professional acting, drama school and theatre at university. We aim to encourage and promote students’ communication and performance skills, confidence and talent, as well as nurture their ability to evaluate and reflect. At KS3, we facilitate a safe and relaxed environment for students to experience the 5 Cs of Drama: confidence, creativity, communication, concentration and co-operation. Students also learn about different styles and genres of theatre, from Commedia dell’Arte to performing extracts from Journey’s End, as well as gaining a wealth of important, transferable skills such as public speaking and presentation skills.

The AQA GCSE Drama course includes devised and scripted work which is publicly performed and the study of live theatre. This is mirrored at A-level, but in addition, students get the opportunity to study theatre practitioners and direct classical and contemporary plays as well. Students who show an interest in the technical side of the subject can study lighting, sound or design at KS4 and 5. A residential trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the work of the RSC and visit Shakespeare landmarks is offered at A-level and there are regular trips to the theatre to see live performances for both KS4 and 5. There is also a regular programme of workshops within school, where students are able to work alongside visiting professionals. Most recently we have welcomed Complicite and Splendid.

The co-curricular side of the subject is rich with many opportunities for students of all ages to get involved in drama outside of lessons. Junior and Senior House Drama take place annually. The Lower School Drama Club for First and Second Form meets weekly after school, working towards two main productions a year. The Main School Show takes place in the Autumn Term and can range from Shakespeare to musicals. Recent productions include Wendy and Peter Pan, Into the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing and Les Misérables.

Economics

The work of the Economics Department, taught by five subject specialists, takes place in a suite of three well-equipped rooms, situated in Aquis Court. We offer Economics at both IGCSE and A Level, following Edexcel specifications. A high proportion of the IGCSE students opt for Economics in the Sixth Form, but the department also caters for an increasing number of students, particularly from outside the School, who have had no previous exposure to these subjects in; there are ‘New Economics’ sets for such pupils in the Lower Sixth.

Classroom-based learning is complemented by a number of co-curricular activities, which help to provide an enriching economics education programme for our pupils. The Economics Society invites prominent speakers from the world of economics, politics and finance to address the School on relevant and topical issues. Pupil-led seminars have become an increasingly important part of the Society in recent years.



The School enters the annual Bank of England Target 2.0 Interest Rate Competition; all of our Lower Sixth economists compete for a place on the School team. Teams of students from the Fourth Form upwards enter the LIBF’s Student Investor challenge, where they take control of an investment portfolio with £100,000 of virtual money to invest in the stock market. The Department also runs an internal business competition, where pupils have the opportunity to set up and run their own company with the proceeds being donated to charity.



A large number of our pupils go on to read Economics and related subjects at high demand universities.

English

The Department was one of the first UK schools to teach IGCSE English Literature (Cambridge Syllabus) and we are now one of the first to enter students for the new 9-1 qualification. All students are also entered for the AQA GCSE in English Language, also a 9-1 qualification.

Typically, 30-40 students study English Literature in the Sixth Form; we follow the Edexcel specification in linear form. The Department benefits from the input of experienced senior examiners and we have consistently enjoyed superb results for students at various levels of ability, including successful Oxbridge candidates each year. Our A level Coursework has formed a model of good practice for other academic schools.

The Department has three purposely designed rooms. One of these is a small seminar room, used mainly for Sixth Form teaching, while the other two are equipped with studio lighting. The English Centre has a stage and balcony, which can also be used for small-scale dramatic production. We benefit too from a suite of adjoining classrooms in the 1928 block, all of which were refurbished in 2016, and feature state-of-the-art teaching walls and interactive white boards. There are many opportunities for Creative Writing, with an annual competition, as well as a Creative Writing Workshop for Year 7 pupils, who spend a whole day working with professional writers. Members of the Department are involved in drama, publications, debating, taking students to the theatre, and encouraging wider reading.

Government & Politics

The Dutch historian Peter Geyl described history as “argument without end,” but such a description fits the study of Politics just as well. Students of this discipline will argue about conceptual matters (such as the nature of democracy), about political issues (such as electoral reform), about political ideologies (such as conservatism) and about the comparative merits of the political systems of the UK and the United States.

Tony Benn famously suggested five questions to ask of those holding political power:

  • What power have you got?
  • Where did you get it from?
  • In whose interests do you exercise it?
  • To whom are you accountable?
  • How do we get rid of you?

Many years later, Shami Chakrabarti wrote that “I do not trust the powerful.” Nor do we, but those studying Politics with us will be able to answer those questions about the powerful in today’s world.

There are annual trips for pupils, and pupils attend lectures given by distinguished speakers, who have in recent years included Lord Hennessy and Dr Madsen Pirie.

A number of the School’s students go on to study the subject at undergraduate level.

Geography

Through exploring the relationship between human beings and their physical environment, Geography helps pupils to understand today’s world. As our society becomes increasingly globalised, it is even more critical that young people have an understanding of its interconnected and interdependent nature.

The Geography Department aims to encourage an understanding of natural landscapes; the processes that form them; the people that inhabit them and the interactions between the physical and human environments. We aim to achieve this by considering a wide range of topics across a number of contrasting places. We encourage pupils to examine critically a wide range of social, political, economic and environmental issues and develop the ability to make justified and well-reasoned decisions. With specialist staff located in specified teaching rooms, we are well placed to try to make sense of our increasingly complex society. Geography is a subject that complements the study of both Art and Science subjects, incorporating analytical, numerical, literacy and ICT skills, and helping to develop a wide range of employable attributes.

Key Stage 3 sees pupils consider a range of exciting topics, including ocean ecosystems and development, as well as traditional areas of study such as map skills. Our GCSE course continues with this investigative approach and involves a series of forward thinking topics, based around the considerable challenges faced by Earth’s inhabitants. This is considered in greater depth at A Level, where an enquiry-based learning system is used to examine interrelationships between people and their environments, resource management issues and the moral, cultural and political dimensions to problem solving and decision making. A residential field study period at the School’s own centre, Pen Arthur, in the Brecon Beacons is an integral part of study at both GCSE and A Level.

History

Located in special rooms of considerable historical interest in the School’s 14th century Abbey Gateway, we give pupils the opportunity to develop an awareness of how the world we live in today was created and the influence of the past on the present. We want our pupils to think for themselves and so we expose them to a wide range of documents, historical sources and opinions. We are keen to emphasise that historical conclusions are liable to reassessment in the light of new or re-interpreted evidence.

In the First and Second Forms, we explore medieval history and early-modern history, situating England alongside wider European and world events. Content covered in the classroom is underpinned by visits to the Tower of London and the National Civil War Centre. In the Third Form we undertake a thematic study of revolutions and a depth study of World War Two. To compliment pupils’ study of the Holocaust, we run a cross-curricular study day in conjunction with the RS and PSHE departments.

At Key Stage Four, a significant number of Fourth Form pupils opt to continue the study of History. We follow the Cambridge IGCSE History syllabus and the pathway we have chosen through this course enables students to embark on a comprehensive study of the twentieth century, starting with the origins of the Great War and concluding with the end of the Cold War. The topics studied address the impact of the Peace Treaties 1919-23, the success of the League of Nations to 1936, the reasons for the outbreak of World War Two, responsibility for the Cold War, and the effectiveness of Containment. With the centenary of the Great War in mind, our depth study option is the First World War and the final part of the assessment is a coursework assignment which focuses on the role of America in the War. Our Fourth Form pupils have the opportunity to explore the First World War Battlefields in Belgium and Northern France.

At A Level, pupils embark on a study of nineteenth-century European history, focusing on British social and political history for Paper 1, alongside the Italian Risorgimento for Paper 2. Thereafter pupils are offered a choice for Paper 3, with some choosing to continue their exploration of modern history through the study of German history between 1871 and 1990, and others opting to delve into the medieval world through the study of the Wars of the Roses. Pupils also complete a coursework assignment which is drawn from their Paper 3 choice. The department aims to encourage independent learning and critical thinking, and pupils are encouraged to read widely around the course.

The History and Politics Society welcomes a number of eminent speakers each year to the School, to consider a variety of historical themes and issues. Recent speakers have included Sir Hew Strachan, and Professors William Whyte and Anne Curry. The department also has its own magazine, the Gateway Chronicle; published annually, it is researched, written and edited by a dedicated team of pupils.

Learning Support

St Albans School recognises that pupils who have been selected on academic criteria can sometimes experience a range of challenges. The School has a Learning Support Department, staffed by qualified Specialist and Learning Support teachers. Whilst some pupils will enter the school with previously diagnosed specific learning difficulties (SpLDs), every effort is made to identify others whose difficulties may only appear as the requirements of academic work mount. To this end, all pupils are screened on entry, and teachers refer any pupil who is presenting concerns to the Department for further screening and assessment for access arrangements, if necessary.

The Department provides classroom teachers with advice on supporting individual pupils within their lessons. If further support is required, pupils may attend additional classes or ‘clinics’ at lunch time or after school. For those pupils who require one-to-one support in the short term, the Department provides specialist teaching for core English and study skills of between 3 to 12 sessions, depending on need. A ‘drop in’ service for other pupils seeking additional support is also available.

Maths

We are committed to ensuring that all our students reach their maximum potential in this vital subject. Members of the department have a variety of specialities in Mathematics, but we have a common desire to teach good mathematics well and to communicate our enjoyment of the subject to our pupils.

Mathematics is taught in sets throughout the school, allowing teaching at a pace and to a level of sophistication appropriate to the group of pupils concerned. The IGCSE course begins in Year 9, with all sets sitting the exams in January of Year 11. We expect pupils from all sets to attain at least a Grade B at IGCSE, and the vast majority achieve A or A*. The four main areas of study at IGCSE are: Number; Shape, Space & Measures; Algebra and Handling Data. In Year 11 most pupils study Additional Maths, which is an excellent introduction to AS material.

In the Sixth Form, Mathematics and Further Mathematics are offered, as two separate A levels. We teach the MEI Mathematics course, and all A-levels include Pure Mathematics, Mechanics and Statistics.

We regularly enter pupils for national mathematics contests, winning many awards at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels.

Modern Languages

The Languages Faculty comprises the Departments of Classics, French, German and Spanish. There are eight modern language teachers as well as French, German and Spanish language assistants. Modern languages are taught in a recently renovated block of eight classrooms, all of which are equipped with interactive whiteboards. The Department also benefits from two Sanako digital language laboratories and designated teaching rooms for all three language assistants. At St Albans School we believe that languages are an essential skill and that they can enrich our lives in many ways, as well as being great fun to learn.

The languages offered as part of the curriculum are French, German and Spanish and these subjects are offered at IGCSE and AS/A2 level. All pupils must take at least one modern language (French, German or Spanish) up to IGCSE. French, German and Spanish follow the Edexcel IGCSE course. There are two accelerated French sets of the most able linguists who sit the IGCSE in French one year early. Pupils in the accelerated sets then have the opportunity of taking the CIE O-level at the end of the Fifth Form and the Cambridge Pre-U examination in the Sixth Form.

Our commitment to developing oral skills is reinforced by our programme of visits and exchanges which take place each year. We have an exchange trip Usingen in Germany and Chambéry in France each year as well as a study tour to Granada. We also offer trips to the Christmas markets in Germany and to Normandy for Lower School pupils.

Languages are a popular option at St Albans School and as part of the Sixth Form courses pupils could expect to study cultural topics, ranging from geographical regions and European cinema to the classic playwrights.

Music

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words…” – Victor Hugo

Music is a prestigious and highly valued aspect of School life and is taught to all pupils in the Lower School (years 7 – 9). The work closely follows the National Curriculum guidelines but is very much tailored to the wide-ranging musical abilities of the pupils.

Class sizes for music lessons in the Lower School are no more than thirteen pupils, and these classes are set according to musical experience, enabling the pupils to maximise their musical ability in classroom time. Many students choose to study music at IGCSE level, and we also have good numbers studying A level and follow the Edexcel syllabus.
 

There are presently 22 visiting instrumental tutors teaching a wide range of instruments and voice. Many of the visiting tutors are involved in the Department’s busy programme of co-curricular activities which actively supports the academic progress of the pupils. There are 23 ensembles of various kinds operating each week within the Department. The details of these activities, organised by the Music Department can be found within the Co-Curricular section of this website.

PE & Games

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming” – John Wooden

The role of the P.E. Department is to nurture the physical and mental development of each pupil. We encourage pupils to reflect the School’s PE aims, so that they can both enjoy physical activity and benefit from the valuable skills it gives them, to help them reach their full potential.

The School’s PE aims are as follows:

  • The development in every pupil of an interest in, an enjoyment of, and an enthusiasm for, physical activity, education and sport together with an awareness of its role in promoting physical and mental well-being and its importance for recreation and leisure.
  • The development, in every pupil, of an appreciation of physical activity’s importance in their state of and fitness, health and well-being socially, emotionally, physical and mentally.
  • The provision of opportunities for every pupil, both to maximise his or her potential, and to develop acceptable social and sporting attitudes.
  • Enhancement and development of the physical literacy of all students at the School through a focused and varied PE and Games curriculum.
  • The provision of GCSE and AS/A2 Level Physical Education courses.
  • To offer a wide range of sporting and learning opportunities and to provide support and encouragement for pupils to develop these interest to their full potential.
  • The development of an approach with students and staff that measures success and progress by performance outcome, not solely by results, that rewards endeavour and commitment and that allows failing safely in an environment where every situation is understood to be an opportunity to grow and learn. This supports the ethos of pursuing excellence and promotion of team success.
  • The enhancement of the sporting reputation of the school at all levels.
  • The development of wide-based cultural, social and educational experiences through the promotion of sporting trips, tours and exchanges.

PSHE

One of the School’s goals is to fully develop all aspects of an individual’s character and talents. The school’s PSHEE department provides time and resources for the personal and social development of each pupil. Our lessons are delivered by form tutors, who know each child well and who provide opportunities for the examination and discussion of a wide range of issues, from health, sex education and personal relationships to the exploration of moral dilemmas, the development of good study skills and British values.

We also arrange termly talks from external speakers to whole year groups, to address specific issues. The topics we explore are also covered within individual subject areas, in particular, Religious Studies, English, Geography, Biology and through the Sixth Form General Studies programme.

As a result, almost every member of our staff is actively engaged in PSHEE teaching in some way. We have a well-stocked PSHEE resource area, accessible to both pupils and staff and our school counsellor is closely involved with much of the work.

RS & Philosophy

The twenty-first century is an exciting and challenging time in which to live. A greater awareness of different cultures, together with advances in science and technology, raises questions of identity (who we are), theology (what we can believe) and ethics (how we should behave). Religious Studies provides the opportunity to explore these questions from a range of perspectives and encourages students to learn skills of academic rigour: listening attentively to the opinions of others, assessing those arguments critically, and expressing their own ideas confidently.

In the Lower School, students examine six major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism) one faith at a time, and have the opportunity to visit a variety of places of worship. Students in the Third Form are introduced to the study of Philosophy through religion and morality. We cover topics such as arguments for and against God’s existence and seek to answer questions such as: ‘what makes an action right?’ or ‘is killing ever justified?’.

At GCSE, students follow the Edexcel specification B course, which combines both philosophical and theological study (from a Christian and Muslim perspective). The first year consists of studying the ‘Christianity and Ethics’ unit, and the second year, the ‘Islam, Peace and Justice’.

At A Level, students engage with the philosophers and theologians who have shaped our world, from Plato to Dawkins and Augustine to Kant. The issues examined range from ‘What does it mean to say something is good?’ to ‘Is freedom just an illusion?’ Students enjoy the subject immensely, as do those who have the privilege of teaching them. We follow the Edexcel specification, which involves a critical study of Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ethics and textual analysis.

Science

Key Stage 3 Science (First & Second Form) The Key Stage 3 Science course is taught in two years in the First and Second Form. In both years Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics are taught as a single subject where the emphasis is on practical work and fostering a love of science, building a firm foundation of practical skills and knowledge for the years ahead.

By the end of the second form students will have covered the KS3 curriculum and be at a level at least equivalent to those joining the school through the Common Entrance examination.

GCSE Science (Third to Fifth Form)

Pupils study the three sciences as separate subjects, completing three separate IGCSEs over the course of three years. Practical work is an important part of science and students can expect to spend a large proportion of their time carrying out experiments, making measurements and observing as well as covering theory and solving problems.

The IGCSE is universally recognised as equivalent to GCSE by universities and employers and provides the appropriate level of challenge and stimulation to our students, many of whom continue to study sciences into the 6th form. There are two examination papers for each subject which are sat at the end of the 5th form and there is no coursework element.

Transferable Skills

Throughout the science course, emphasis is placed on transferable skills such as problem solving and data analysis. The pupils may collect data quickly using a data-logger, copy the data in Microsoft Excel and look for patterns and trends in the data – really beginning to work the way professionals do.

A-level Sciences

Biology, Chemistry and Physics are all popular A levels; St Albans School bucks the national trend with between 40 and 70 students per year studying each science. Many students then move on to university to study a science-related discipline.

Extra-curricular Science

Students’ lessons are supplemented by a variety of opportunities to explore science beyond the classroom.

Every year, the Stephen Hawking Society organises lectures from eminent speakers from universities, industry and the media, giving a wide perspective on science and its applications. Olympiads and other competitions give students an opportunity to extend their learning and test themselves against the best in the country. Science and STEM clubs are aimed at lower and middle school students who want to investigate further and a range of trips and visits, both in the UK and abroad, provide other opportunities to see science at the cutting edge.

Co-Curricular Life

I am delighted to share more information with you about the School’s co-curricular activities. At St Albans School, we believe that the provision of a broad, varied co-curricular programme should be an integral part of every pupil's schooling experience. It, together with striving to achieve academic excellence, comprises what we believe to be an outstanding all-round, holistic education which promotes the intellectual, physical and emotional development of all our pupils.

Participation at all levels is strongly encouraged, with talented and committed staff ensuring that all pupils are given every opportunity to thrive in this aspect of their schooling, regardless of their level of ability.

To get a genuine feel for the impressive range of activities on offer, please take a look at the School’s many activities highlighted in this section.

Gareth Burger

Assistant Head, Co-curricular & Head of Third Form

Staff, Governors & Advisory Council

Download our Staff and Governors list or click ‘Discover More’ for more information.

ADMISSIONS

ENTRY

The main points of entry into the School are at 11+, 13+ and Sixth Form. Entry into other year groups is dependent on availability. If you would like to discuss applications, registrations, examinations or entrance procedures please contact the Admissions Team:

St Albans School
Abbey Gateway
St Albans
AL3 4HB

01727 515182

admissions@st-albans.herts.sch.uk

To view the school prospectus please click here.

The Additional Information Booklet which gives further information about Admissions policies and procedures is available here:

Details of policies available to parents and prospective parents can be found here:

SCHOOL OPEN MORNINGS

We encourage you to visit the School on one our Open Mornings, of which there are 5 per year (one of which is Sixth Form specific). You will have a chance to hear the Headmaster speak, visit different departments and talk to members of staff and view our facilities.

We have one Open Morning now remaining this term, on 18 November; this Open Morning is now full but you can request to be added to the waiting list - please click on the link below if you wish to be added. There will be one further Open Morning in April 2018, for which bookings will be taken from early December 2017. Please check back later this term to book your place in April.

Please contact the Registrar's Office if you have any general questions regarding our private School Open Days.

Fees, Bursaries & Scholarships

The current School Fee is £5,976 per term, a total of £17,928 per annum. Fees are payable termly, in advance. They are reviewed each year in July/August.

The School offers a sibling discount on school fees of 5%.

The School’s Bursaries broaden access by offering means-tested financial support with the payment of school fees to eligible families. Bursaries provide a discount of up to 100% on tuition fees. Parents who believe they might qualify for financial assistance are advised to firstly read our Bursary Policy.

Most school scholarships awarded are in the region of 10%, to a maximum value of 50% of the fees. The School offers Choral, Academic, Art, Music and Sport scholarships.

ADMISSION BY YEAR

Entry 11+ Entry 13+ Entry 16+

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