St Albans High School for Girls

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St Albans High School for Girls
Motto Initium sapientiae timor domini
(The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom)
Established 1889
Type Independent day school
Religion Affiliated to the Church of England
Headmistress Mrs Jenny Brown
Chair of Governors Ms Dorothy Henderson
Location Townsend Avenue
St Albans
Local authority Hertfordshire
DfE number 919/6038
Students 950~
Gender Girls
Ages 4–18
Houses Julian, Mandeville, Paris, Verulam

Blue and yellow


St Albans High School for Girls is a selective, independent day school for girls aged 4 – 18 years, which is affiliated to the Church of England and welcomes girls of all faiths or none. There are approximately 310 pupils in the Preparatory School with 480 in the Senior School and 160 Sixth Formers.

School's vision[edit]

The School aims to provide an exciting and challenging education that fosters independence, creativity and risk-taking within a caring community by offering high standards of education and care, a wide curriculum and by developing pupils’ social awareness and sense of responsibility.


Founded in 1889, the High School has close links with the Diocese of St Albans through the Bishop, who is Visitor to the School, and the Dean, who is honorary Vice-Chair of the Governing Body. The High School moved from its original site on Holywell Hill to its current location on Townsend Avenue in 1908. The Preparatory School took up residence at Wheathampstead House in 2003.

Founders' Day is the School's annual celebration of its beginnings. Old Girls, Governors and other members of the school community are invited to a dedicated service in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban to commemorate the Founders with current students and staff.

Preparatory School[edit]

The Preparatory School, Wheathampstead House, is situated in 18 acres of parkland in the idyllic village location of Wheathampstead which has close links to the A1 and North London. The extensive site includes play areas, an adventure playground, woods and an outdoor learning classroom. The School has excellent modern facilities and the curriculum is broad and balanced with a welcoming family atmosphere, offering outstanding pastoral care. It provides a supportive, challenging and creative environment where girls work hard, are very successful academically and enjoy learning. There is an extensive range of extra-curricular activities.

Independent Preparatory School of the Year[edit]

The Preparatory School was named as the Independent Preparatory School of the Year by The Sunday Times in November 2008.

Senior School[edit]

The Senior School and Sixth Form is located just a short walk from the city centre of St Albans and facilities include an indoor swimming pool and fitness suite, a dedicated music school, Ringwood and a new Performing Arts Centre and Design & Technology block. The school’s large playing fields include tennis courts, lacrosse pitches and a new sports pavilion. Sixth Formers also have exclusive access to the onsite Starbucks style cafe. Pupils are prepared for GCSE and IGCSE examinations at the age of 16, for Advanced Level examinations, for Oxford and Cambridge entrance and for the examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music along with Trinity Guildhall. Girls throughout the School have the opportunity to take Speech and Drama lessons in small groups in preparation for a variety of LAMDA examinations.

ISI Report[edit]

The Independent Schools Inspectorate gave a glowing report in January 2011, rating all aspects of the High School as excellent. Particular praise was given to the pupils' excellent attitudes to learning; the excellent teaching across all ages; the outstanding quality of the pupils' personal and social development, and the excellent pastoral arrangements."Results at GCSE and A Level have been far above the national average for girls in maintained schools, and above the national average for girls in maintained selective schools. Pupils of all ages make excellent progress in relation to their already high abilities. High achievement in areas of creativity and aesthetic learning can be seen through their success in local and national competitions. Outstanding results are seen in all extra-curricular activities, especially in the music and drama performances and examination results".

House system[edit]

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[edit]

  • Stephen Hawking was educated at the school between 1950-1953. Then, unlike today, boys were educated at the school until the age of ten.[1]
  • Dame Anna Neagle
  • Harriet Kelsall - leading English Jewelry Designer

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Stephen Hawking. Greenwood Press. 1995. 

Coordinates: 51°45′26″N 0°19′57″W / 51.75722°N 0.33250°W / 51.75722; -0.33250