St Albans High School for Girls
|Motto||Initium sapientiae timor domini
(The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom)
|Type||Independent day school|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Headmistress||Mrs Rosemary Martin|
|Chair of Governors||Mrs Jacqui Boulton|
|Houses||Julian, Mandeville, Paris, Verulam|
Blue and yellow
St Albans High School is an independent day school for girls aged 4 to 18, located in the city of St Albans, Hertfordshire with a primary school in the nearby village of Wheathampstead. It provides girls with good quality educational provision in all sections of the school. The school states that, “We aim to give each girl the stimulus to develop her academic abilities to the full and to engage in a wide range of interests…to encourage the formation of personal values and responsibilities.…
According to the ISI, the school's aims are:
- to provide within the framework of a Christian community, an academic education for girls which will enable each individual to develop her abilities to the full, a wide range of interests and extra curricular activities, and a sense of personal values;
- to make education a challenging and positive experience in which each girl can feel some measure of success and acquire confidence and self-esteem;
- to prepare girls for the challenges of the 21st century and in particular for work in a changing society where the role of women is still being defined.
Overview of the School 
The High School is near the city centre of St Albans and as a result has limited space. Nevertheless, there are many facilities: an indoor swimming pool, numerous halls, fitness suite, drama studio, and a music block. Ten minutes away are the school's large playing fields which include eight tennis courts, two lacrosse pitches and athletics field areas.
For many years the school has joined forces with the nearby St Albans School (the boys' school) to put on an annual joint choral concert in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban St Albans Abbey in the Spring. The school has strong links the Abbey, and the girls join a Eucharist service there once a term. There is also a candle-lit Service of Lessons and Carols at Christmas and a Founders' Day service in May each year.
The headmistress until December 2008 was Ms Jacqualyn Pain who previously worked as headmistress at The Henrietta Barnett School In January 2009, Mrs Bronwen Goulding became Acting Headmistress. In the Trinity (Summer) term 2009, the new Headmistress, Mrs Rosemary Martin, previously the Headmistress of Combe Bank School, Sevenoaks, took over.
Academic Strength 
Pupils attending St Albans High School for Girls perform extremely well in national tests and public examinations. In the 2006 SATs, all girls at Wheathampstead House reached level 5 (the higher expected level) in English and mathematics, and almost all in science, a very high level of achievement. In the 2007 GCSEs, girls achieved an A* or A grade in 83% of all subjects taken. 53% achieved an A or A* grade in all of their subjects. A Level results were just as promising, with 98% of the girls taking places at their first choice university. Over the same three years in GCSE examinations, pupils’ achievements were far above the average for girls in maintained selective schools. Comparison of A-level results for the same period with girls in maintained selective schools shows that their results in most subjects for which comparative figures are available, were well above average.
Independent Preparatory School of the Year 
The Preparatory School was named as the Independent Preparatory School of the Year by The Sunday Times in November 2008. The school finished fourth in terms of exam results, but was awarded the top spot overall due to its rapid improvement, its focus on the three Rs and its continued commitment to sports, drama, and the arts.
Extra Curricular Activities 
According to the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the quality and extent of provision in extra curricular activities is very good throughout the whole school including sport, dramatical, musical, academic, cultural and creative pursuits, organised by teachers and outside personnel.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development 
The school is noted for the importance it places in the development of its pupils unrelated to academia. The Independent Schools Inspectorate gave praise to the school in its most recent inspection, saying: "As a school promoting a caring Christian ethos, St Albans High School for Girls places much importance on the girls’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and is highly successful in achieving this aim. This is an outstanding feature of the school and has improved from the already good standards reported in the inspection of 2000. Parents are highly satisfied with this aspect of the school".
House system 
At St Albans High School there are 4 houses:
- Julian - red. Named after Lady Juliana Berners, a 15th century prioress of Sopwell Nunnery, famous for her learning
- Paris - blue. Named after Matthew Paris, a monk of St Albans Abbey in the 13th century and well known for his Chronicle of local events
- Mandeville - green. Named after Sir John Mandeville, associated with a book of travels in the 14th century
- Verulam - yellow. Named after Sir Francis Bacon, first Earl of Verulam, philosopher and writer
Notable former pupils 
- Stephen Hawking was educated at the school between 1950-1953. Then, unlike today, boys were educated at the school until the age of ten.
- Dame Anna Neagle
- Felicity Jackson was a former candidate on BBC One's, The Apprentice.
- Astronomical artist Alizey Khan attended the school from Year 1 to Year 7.
Structure of the day 
In the main school, lessons begin at 9.10am after assembly and lessons commence at 2.00pm after a lunch-hour. The day ends at 3.50pm Mondays-Thursdays, but ends twenty minutes earlier on Fridays.
Notes and references 
- Verdict of last Independent Schools inspectorate report (2006)
- Independent Preparatory School of the Year
- Stephen Hawking. Greenwood Press. 1995.