Pen Arthur has been a part of the School’s history for years, sitting amongst forests and mountains and has always has been a very special place. Widely talked about, and provider of many fond memories for Old Albanians, current pupils and Staff alike. Pen Arthur is a traditional farmhouse in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park and offers pupils a unique environment for greater learning.
In 1967, a lease on the old farmhouse was agreed with the Forestry Commission, following years of suffering and a lack of shelter on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. For the next two years, there was a period of frantic activity, as the property underwent a thorough period of renovation and rejuvenation. It was only after 1970 that the house became an established addition to the curriculum, with all new boys at 11+ and 13+ able to visit during term time. The process of integrating Pen Arthur was finally complete when the governors decided to buy the house.
The Music Department has a wealth of co-curricular activities for pupils to take part in:
Singing twice a week in St Albans Cathedral for school services and special services. Our School Carol Service fills the Abbey twice over!
Singing complex pieces ranging from Thomas Tallis to Eric Whitacre.
Singing popular pieces in concerts and services.
Performing in concerts throughout the year, recent repertoire includes the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, Finlandia and excerpts from The Firebird.
A large group of players performing classical and popular works.
An excellent ensemble playing traditional standards and new works and taking the leading-role in our annual Jazz Evening.
The elite senior singers performing at a wide variety of functions.
The Drama Department is rich with a range of opportunities for students of all ages to get involved in drama outside of lessons:
A large-scale production rehearsed and performed in the Autumn Term. Students in the Fifth Form and above can audition and there are opportunities for students interested in the technical side of theatre to become involved as well. Productions include: Wendy and Peter Pan; Into the Woods; Much Ado About Nothing and Les Misérables.
A weekly club every Wednesday 4-6pm open to all students in First and Second Form, with a number of performance opportunities during the year, including A Lower School Christmas at the end of the Autumn and the Lower School Summer Show at the end of the year. Recent productions have included: Ho Ho Ho! The Santa Claus Chronicle, Johnny and the Dead and Journey’s End.
A devising competition run by the Lower School Drama Club in the Spring Term; also open to interested Third Form students.
run in the format of ‘A Play in a Day’, students from Lower Sixth, work in their Houses over the course of a day to devise a play based on a range of stimuli. The four performances are judged by an external theatre professional in an a er school showcase open to parents and pupils.
There are also other exciting theatrical events that take place throughout the year. For example, “An Evening with…”. is is a Q&A evening which hosts a range of theatre professionals and is attended by parents and pupils.
Recent guest speakers include: National theatre director Simon Godwin (OA), the writer and star (comedian Nick Helm) of the BBC3 comedy ‘Uncle’, and poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell. All of our GCSE and A level pieces are shown in evening performances open to parents. We also run regular trips to the theatre and each year group can expect to see a live performance during the school year.
The goal of the Sports Department is to ensure that all our pupils enjoy sport and physical activity and develop an appreciation of its vital role in ensuring good health, fitness and physical, emotional and social well-being. Sports: We offer a very wide range of sporting activities, including rugby, football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, cricket, swimming, tennis, athletics, cross country, badminton and table tennis. Older pupils have access to an additional range of activities: squash, zumba, golf, ultimate frisbee, yoga, shooting, netball, rounders, lacrosse and climbing.
Opened in September 2012 by Duncan Goodhew MBE, St. Albans School’s Sports Centre is a multi-sport centre with state of the art facilities including:
DofE strives to achieve its mission through personal development programmes and the assessment and presentation of Awards. All DofE’s programmes are driven by the following ten guiding principles, which are at the heart of everything done.
The Officer Training Corps at St Albans School was founded in 1902. This evolved into the Combined Cadet Force in the 1940s and is currently a Friday afternoon optional activity for all Sixth Formers and an after-school activity for Third, Fourth and Fifth Years. The CCF is made up of an army section (dating back to 1902) and an RAF section (dating back to the 1930s). There are over 200 cadets in the Corps. In 2009, the army section rebadged from the Royal Engineers to the Coldstream Guards.
The aim of the CCF is to develop leadership and teamwork through a range of military and adventurous training. The CCF is led and overseen by 10 staff, but training is organised and run on a weekly basis by the senior cadets led by the Cadet Under Officer, the Regimental Sergeant Major, the Company Sergeant Major and the Flight Sergeant.
The Partnership scheme run by St Albans School along with local Infant and Primary Schools started around fifteen years ago and since then, the scheme has expanded in many ways: Fourteen local state schools and Cathedral Education now participate, thirteen St Albans School staff members are involved and over seventy Lower Sixth pupils assist with Partnership activities on Friday afternoons.
Every Friday afternoon, enthusiastic Primary school pupils come and get involved in a variety of practical activities at the School. They enjoy the opportunity to use facilities not normally available to them in their school and benefit from the guidance of St Albans School staff, who have expertise across a variety of areas.
Monday and Friday afternoons see pupils from four local Primary Schools using our swimming pool for their lessons. The Head of Partnership organises the employment of local qualified coaches to run these sessions, and Sixth Form students and a member of staff act as lifeguards. Masterclasses in ICT, D&T and Science are run at St Albans School and our specialist staff are able to cover topics in the Primary School curriculum, such as programming in ICT, and in the process, provide training for the accompanying teachers.
Every week, staff in the Drama, Music, Art, Maths and French departments also travel to local schools where they run classes and share their specialist skills with the children and staff.
Lower Sixth students are vital to the running of these masterclasses; they assist the teachers offering extra pairs of hands, run sessions themselves and share their passion for the subject with the younger children who look up to them as adults. A large number of Sixth Formers also travel to local schools, where they assist with a variety of tasks in the classroom and on the sports field. Their help is highly valued by the staff in the schools that they visit and it enables students to develop some of the soft-skills highlighted as vital by future employers.
In addition to the Partnership Scheme, St Albans School makes other contributions to the community. Our Head of Sixth Form works with several State Schools, sharing knowledge and good practice, as well as practical support to students with the UCAS application process, particularly to Russell Group universities, including Oxbridge.
Furthermore, St Albans School is pleased to be a partner school of the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, a new, academically selective 16-19 free school, opened as part of the redevelopment of White Hart Lane in September 2017.
Our CCF has a Partnership with Marlborough Science Academy, training both Cadets and Officers, with a view to them setting up their own Core in the future. As part of our Community Link programme, a number of Lower Sixth students also work in schools for children with special educational needs.
You can learn more about our Partnerships programme by visiting our page at the Independent School Council's Schools Together website.
This is an initiative supported and maintained by the ISC in collaboration with the Department for Education and the Independent/State Schools Partnership, which highlights the projects and partnerships between independent schools and maintained schools or community groups.
The Publications Department is responsible for the creation and publishing of the School magazine, The Albanian, which is published each December as a record and review of the preceding academic year. Highlighting School news, as well as featuring a selection of students’ creative writing and artwork, The Albanian is a substantial publication, published in full colour.
The Publications Department employs a small team of Sixth Formers who are interested in journalism, editing, design, and graphics. The Publications centre is situated in School House, equipped with a network of iMac computers, the design and print industry standard. The team members become adept at graphics manipulation and page layout, using primarily Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign.