Building Futures


St Albans School is one of England’s leading day schools: each year our pupils achieve outstanding examination results at GCSE and A level and gain places at the elite universities. But we are equally proud of our pupils’ successes outside the classroom: our musicians and actors appear regularly in County and National orchestras and the National Youth theatre, and our sports teams continue to uphold the School’s tradition of excellence on the field of play.

The inspection undertaken by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in October 2014 recognised the many excellent features of the School in its current incarnation, the rare distinction of the ‘exceptional’ grading given to the quality of our pupils’ achievements being a particular highlight.

No great school could survive for as long as this one has – 1,068 years – without adapting to change. Across the centuries, St Albans School has thrived thanks to the generosity of men and women whose vision has matched the moment: the giants on whose shoulders we stand, whose names are read each year at the Commemoration of Benefactors at the Founders’ Day service in the Abbey. This tale of success is not, however, a matter for complacency. One of the key considerations in the School’s five year plan is how to update and improve our facilities. We know that to remain among the best we need to make significant investments and ensure that we have the resources to continue to recruit the brightest and best pupils. Mathematics, Science and the Performing Arts continue to attract our students in huge numbers, to such an extent that the Science and Music Departments have outgrown their accommodation.

Both New Hall and the Science Block must now expand in order to transform the facilities offered to our students. With the proposed redevelopment of the Science Faculty, we need to accommodate our young mathematicians, whose numbers continue to grow and to achieve remarkable results within the School.

There is now an urgent need to upgrade to ensure that the aspirations of the next generation of exceptional young people joining us at St Albans School can be met in the manner the twenty-first century demands.

The School’s developing needs cannot be funded from fee surplus alone or from disjointed one-off appeals. To ensure that current and future pupils can benefit from the richness, quality and opportunities of the education that previous generations have enjoyed, we are launching the Building Futures Campaign.

We hope that you – OAs, parents past and present, and friends of the School – will join us in this vital task, thereby providing a firm foundation.


Headmaster 2014 – Present Chairman of the Building Futures Campaign Board


Our aim is to create a modern Centre for the Performing Arts. The project has two Phases.

Phase One: completed in 2018.

We are pleased to report that we have achieved our fundraising target of £600,000. The success of Phase One of our Building Futures fundraising campaign has enabled the start of the refurbishment of New Hall into a Performing Arts Centre. Phase One of this project, which began in 2017, has enabled the creation of a new Music School on the Lower Ground Floor with much-needed rehearsal space and nine soundproofed practice rooms, plus additional dedicated classrooms. The Music Department now occupies a single, dedicated and purpose-built area worthy of its quality.

As part of Phase One, the building has also been re-roofed and replacement windows have been installed. 



Balance to be match funded by St Albans School.




The Music Department

The Music Department prides itself on encouraging participation in an eclectic range of music at all levels. We stretch the highest achievers destined for a professional musical career, whilst also offering every pupil the opportunity to participate in and enjoy music on a regular basis, in events such as the annual House Music competition, culminating in massed House choirs performing together on stage. We are proud that over 300 students participate in music activities on a weekly basis.

To hear the Choir perform a motet at a Friday Assembly in the Abbey, or to attend an oratorio performed by the Choral Society and Orchestra, is to be in the presence of young musicians of the first rank and it is no surprise that a steady stream of leavers wins Choral Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge.


Performing Arts

“Music was a fundamental part of my time at St Albans School and has inspired me to study Music at The University of Oxford. I believe that the creation of new facilities will allow the excellent Music and Drama staff to offer the best possible opportunities at School, and encourage the next generation of future Music and Drama students to be their very best.”

Phase Two – Play your Part

Our fundraising endeavours continue apace to enable Phase Two of this project to proceed.

Play your Part – a continuation of the Building Futures campaign – aims specifically to redevelop the main and balcony floors of New Hall, and provide a 300 seat multi-use auditorium. The development plan focusses on providing current and future students with the best possible opportunities available to unlock their potential.

Fundraising target: £1 Million

To complete this project and to ensure that the Centre for the Performing Arts is further enhanced by its setting, we plan to refurbish Middle Yard with new landscaping.

Play your part and help our students to be their very best

At St Albans School, we believe that the arts are vital to our vibrant community and bring out the best in our students. The Centre for the Performing Arts will engage and inspire on a grand scale, enabling students to thrive in an atmosphere that fosters creative expression and personal growth. Students will be immeasurably enriched by a modern and innovative facility that impacts their academic and student life.

How you can play your part

Our fundraising target for Phase Two is £1 million. As part of the Play your Part initiative, we are seeking gifts from donors to enhance the value the arts bring to our School. Please help play your part by making a gift to support our budding actors and musicians. A one-off donation, or a transformational gift, will enable us to achieve our vision to help each pupil flourish, develop self-knowledge and self-confidence.

Take a leading role and play your part in supporting the future of the arts at St Albans School.


Students at St Albans School have certainly got the government’s message about the vital importance of the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the UK’s (and their own) prosperity, and are opting in unprecedented numbers to study the sciences at GCSE and A level, and beyond.

The creation of new laboratories to cope with this increase in pupil numbers is vital. We need to relocate some Maths classrooms to free space in the Science Block, hence a plan to convert the four Maths classrooms at the top of the Science Block into two new large laboratories.

The first funds raised from the early phase of the Building Futures campaign enabled us to refit two new Physics laboratories and create a new Physics office in 2014, as well as refurbishing a Chemistry laboratory during Summer 2015.

These larger, refurbished labs have made a marked difference to our current Science students. The School also carried out significant refurbishment works to the remaining labs in Summer 2016. The School hopes to create two new science laboratories, which would significantly and tangibly impact how Science is taught at the School and pupils' experience of the subject.




In recent years we have seen a marked increase in the number of pupils choosing Mathematics as an A Level option. As a result, Maths at St Albans School and the existing classroom space have now reached capacity. In order to accommodate our mathematicians adequately, and avoid the unpalatable decision of splitting the teaching of Maths across the School site, the School is delighted to have received full funding from OA, Nick Corfield for its new Maths and CCF building, which, as well as significantly improving the home of our ever-popular CCF unit, will provide our Maths Department with a new building worthy of its outstanding results.

The Corfield Building opened to pupils and staff on 7 January 2020 and houses a brand new CCF shooting range and office space on the lower ground floor, and a bespoke two storey Maths Faculty on the upper ground and first floors. 

Jonathan Gillespie, Headmaster, commented: “The Corfield Building, the School’s new Maths and CCF facility, will provide outstanding teaching facilities for our students and the wider community. The School is hugely grateful to Nick Corfield OA whose extraordinary generosity has made this building possible. It will benefit pupils and our partnership schools both today and in the future.”

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“I was the beneficiary of an education made possible by the generosity of others. I do not know the identities of many of those who, in effect, considered my education to be a good investment. I cannot say “Thank You” to them.

An education is not something that you pay back, it is something you pay forward to future generations. I did that at Cambridge, where I funded new facilities for mathematicians, theoretical physicists, astronomers, astrophysicists, and a new court for student accommodation at St Johns College. I provided matching funds for a program to create endowed student bursaries to facilitate the admission of talented students in financial need. These are all ways of paying forward and investing in future generations.

St Albans School has a long track record of providing a first rate education, and can make the case that it has been a good steward of its past benefactors’ investments, in other words, the school is a great way to pass the gift forward. I use the word investment deliberately.

Fees cover the daily operating expenses of the school, while donations, aka investments, provide the facilities, infrastructure, and endowment which enable the fulfilment of the school’s mission.

I can only speak to my own motivations for passing forward the gift of a great education, but my reasons for philanthropy may resonate with others, and they too will see the school as a way to invest meaningfully in future generations.”



The School is full and we are in a sound financial position overall (although not wealthy or cash-rich). In 2015-2016, the School’s total income was £14.97 million, and total expenditure £14.83 million.

The School is run tightly; we do not wish to increase our fees markedly to generate a surplus sufficient for a major reinvestment programme, which could put a St Albans School education out of reach of more families, at a time when we are aiming to increase the opportunities for pupils whose parents would otherwise not be able to afford the fees. Equally, we do not have the extensive capital reserves or a large endowment fund that some well-known Schools enjoy.


The School has committed to a capital expenditure of almost £20 million over the last 15 years, which has enabled us to develop the site and provide the best possible facilities for our students. The breakdown is as follows:

WOOLLAMS £5 MILLION (part-funded by borrowing)
NEW PLACE (DRAMA) £1 MILLION (funded by borrowing)
SPORTS HALL £7 MILLION (cash, from the sale of King Harry playing fields)
AQUIS COURT £2.9 MILLION (plus fit out cost of £1.2 million, part-funded by borrowing)
REFECTORY £1.9 MILLION (part-funded by borrowing)


Given this level of capital expenditure in recent years, the Board of Governors has decided that it would be prudent to limit further borrowings in the short to medium term. This means that any further capital projects, over and above the refurbishment requirements, need to be funded from philanthropic contributions. We are relying on the generous support of former pupils, parents past and present and other friends of the School to join us and realise the aims of The Building Futures Campaign. Here is an example of how your donation can help:

£69.45 £2,500 £3,125
£138.89 £5,000 £6,250
£277.78 £10,000 £12,500
£694.45 £25,000 £31,250

The Building Futures Campaign is a planned, measured programme, and a key element of the School’s five year strategic plan. It will effect a transformation of our facilities, blending architecture ancient and modern and creating an environment in which current and future pupils can continue to thrive and excel.

We believe that this is a watershed moment in the history of St Albans School. The challenge for us is the same as it was for our predecessors – how do we leave our mark on the School, and how do we ensure that we hand it on to future generations in thriving, vigorous good health?

For further information on the Building Futures Campaign, please contact the St Albans School Development Office.

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