Lower School



My name is Danny Swanson and I am the Head of Lower School. I work alongside my deputy, Laura Andrews, who is also responsible for pupils’ pastoral care and academic progress. Lower School is what we call the first two years at St Albans School. Each form has a form tutor who has been carefully selected because of their ability to work with younger pupils. They will see pupils throughout the week and remain their tutor during their two years in Lower School. The tutor groups will have about 24 pupils, although in many subjects the class sizes are half that number. The tutors and form prefects are able to get to know pupils well, helping them to settle in as quickly as possible.

There are many opportunities available for boys to make the most of in Lower School. Our aim is to help each boy to develop as an imaginative, inquisitive and empathetic pupil. There is something for everyone with a wide range of clubs, societies, trips, sports, music and drama to give them a really varied and exciting two years.

Every Tuesday and Thursday and some Wednesdays, pupils will have a tutor session. The tutors share needed information and encourage all pupils to demonstrate the School Values; the qualities that we expect to see in every pupil and an essential part of all we do here. The form prefect is present and mentoring takes place with First and Second Form pupils meeting regularly. The rewards and sanctions procedures are discussed and clearly explained so everybody understands what to expect. Headmaster Commendations and ‘praise postcards’ are used regularly to reward positive behaviour. The sanction system is in place to pick up both low level and then more serious behavioural issues, pupils are always listened to before decisions are reached. A Lower School Liaison Tutor is on hand to work with pupils who are finding the transition difficult or require extra help and a Lower School Homework Club is available every Wednesday for boys who would benefit from a supervised study period to catch up with homework.

Regular Lower School Assemblies tackle important concerns and topics facing pupils. Recent Lower School assemblies include: Anti-bullying; Happiness and Kindness; Healthy Relationships and Internet safety. A structured PSHE programme tackles age relevant issues and each form presents an assembly on their learning.

A residential trip to Pen Arthur in Wales and Activities’ Week help the bonding experience in the First Form and provide challenging activities to build resilience in Lower School Pupils. The Second Form have an Interpersonal Skills Day which helps develop self-knowledge, empathy and respect for others. The Lower School Pupil Council meets regularly to bring up any year wide issues that are affecting pupils and each form will nominate a representative to air their views. At termly Tutor meetings, the Lower School team discuss any issues that have arisen and agree on actions that need to be taken to allow each pupil to fulfill their potential. Contact with parents is encouraged and the School always likes to know of any issues as soon as possible, so that they can work to provide the best outcome for the child.

St Albans School believes in forming positive harmonious relationships and in Lower School, we aim to develop the qualities of self-discipline, independence and resilience that will enable our pupils to flourish during their time throughout the School.

St Albans Private School: Head of Lower School image

An Interview with Lower School Pupil Louie

Lower School Curriculum

St Albans School offers a curriculum broadly based on the National Curriculum, while giving pupils the opportunity to study additional subjects.

Aims of the Lower School Curriculum

  • To develop imaginative, enquiring and informed minds.
  • To promote personal excellence in the pursuit of a wide range of sporting, recreational and cultural activities.
  • To provide opportunities for self-expression and aesthetic appreciation.
  • To develop moral and spiritual values and a respect for other cultures.
  • To foster a continuous and progressive development of the learning of knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes.
  • To provide a rich educational environment which encourages a range of teaching and learning styles.
  • To provide carefully defined schemes of work which are matched to the abilities of the pupils.
  • To be sufficiently broad to enable pupils to develop their talents and interests in a variety of fields.
  • To provide a balance between the various areas of learning.
  • To prepare pupils for academic achievements which will enable them to pursue their proper ambitions in life.
  • To promote the pupils’ intellectual, moral, physical, social and spiritual development and prepare them for future opportunities, responsibilities and experiences.

View and download our Lower School Curriculum Booklet here

pastoral care

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

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

Parents can meet their child’s teachers and tutors at Parents’ Consultation Evenings and at a number of informal social occasions during the year.

11+ Admissions

Registration for 11+ entry in 2019 is now closed. 
For those considering 11+ entry, the Entrance Exam takes place on a Saturday in early January, and boys must be registered by the 30 November of the year preceding entry. For those boys who are unable to attend on the main examination day, a supplementary day will be held during the following week. On the day of the Entrance Exam, the boys will sit 3 papers in English (80 minutes), Maths (60 minutes) and Verbal Reasoning (60 minutes) and also have a short interview with some of our senior members of staff. We feel it is important to talk to our candidates before we know their exam results in order not to bring preconceptions to the interview. Candidates who have shown promise on the day of the Entrance Exam are invited back to the second round at the end of January. During this morning, boys will spend a couple of hours with us in group activities whilst parents are invited to a talk from the Headmaster and a further tour of the School. Offers will be made in mid-February, in conjunction with the dates set out by the North London Consortium.

Normally up to 72 boys are admitted annually at 11+. In order to avoid exceeding our available capacity, in addition to firm offers made, we may also maintain a reserve list for a limited period, to whom offers may be made if places become available. 

Please use the below link to complete the online registration form for 2020 and beyond.

Entrance Examinations Timetable for 11+ entry in 2019

Registration Deadline: Friday 30 November 2018
Bursary Application Deadline: Friday 14 December 2018
11+ Entrance exam: Saturday 12 January 2019
11+ Callback sessions: Thursday 24 or Friday 25 January 2019
11+ Choral Scholarship Auditions: Friday 25 January 2019
11+ Offers posted: Friday 15 February 2019
11+ Acceptance of Offers: Tuesday 5 March 2019 (Scholarship and Bursary Offers by Friday 1 March 2019)


further information

Click on the links below to download the School Prospectus or to read the School’s Good Schools Guide listing

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