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Issue 36 Autumn 2009







Our Headmaster, Andrew Grant, has now taken up his position as Chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference of Independent Schools for the academic year 2009-10. He is confident that the leading independent schools which make up HMC are more than equal to the challenges that face them. He has stated: “I am honoured to have been elected to chair what is unquestionably the world’s leading association of independent schools. We have challenges – curricular, political and economic – to face in the year ahead, but HMC is a brand with an international reputation and there will always be a demand for the excellence it represents. “Some of our schools, my own included, have proved resilient and adaptable enough to sur vive the Andrew Grant speaks at the Prizegiving Ceremony Nor man Conquest, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Civil War, two World Wars and incessant curricular change, so I’m confident we shall be equal to the present task.” Prior to his election, Andrew Grant had already taken a leading role in many initiatives. He co-chaired the HMC/GSA Education/Academic Policy Committee from 2002-05 and was a member of other curriculum related groups including the assessment sub-group of the Tomlinson 14-19 Review and the HMC/GSA Universities sub-committee. He has been Headmaster of St Albans School since 1993.

DUKES CHALLENGES 23 Sixth Formers spent a weekend in Snowdonia honing their navigation skills, before hiking across the mountains with some steep ascents in low visibility. This provided good preparation for the two summer Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, where students successfully completed their gold qualifying venture in the Pyrenees. The demanding route offered tough climbing and spectacular scenery, with the additional bonus of snow in July!

SAS WAR SAGA New for this year has been the publication of a fascinating book, St Albans School at War 1939-45, which traces and sheds light on the history of the School during the Second World War. Amidst the stories of dedication and sacrifice, a real snapshot of the School at these critical times is related, together with some amusing anecdotes.

SCIENCE SKILLS A short film made by U6 physicists was shortlisted as Best Film in a SE regional heat organised by the Institute of Physics SciCast competition, while others received national nominations for soundtrack, Best Commentary and Best Engineering. At the Biology Olympiad, Alex Agrotis and Cheng Zhang won Silver medals, Adam Morfakis, Lewis Mills and Richard Leather received Bronze medals.


THE CLASSROOM All students had the opportunity to attend talks on a variety of subjects thanks to the proliferation of societies within the School. The well-established Stephen Hawking Lecture Society explored the part science and technology play in the fight against crime. Dr Colin Wilson, a Home Office forensic scientist, revealed developments in fingerprinting techniques, surveillance equipment Lt Col Eagan and firearms in the police force, hands out the including a demonstration of a new Coldstream taser in action. The final lecture in Guards berets at the series was given by Jonathan the AGI Hare, best known for his role in the Channel 4 series ‘Rough Science’ and as co-presenter of the BBC’s ‘Hollywood Science.’ Exciting excerpts from the series explored action sequences including a James Bond sequence from ‘A View to Kill’. The inaugural lecture for the Maths department’s Harry Schofield Society was given by Professor Chris Budd OA, the Royal Institute Chair of Mathematics and lecturer at Bath University. He spoke entertainingly of his own career experiences and indicated the wide number of career openings for mathematicians in not only accountancy, but also cryptography, film, genetics, zoos, weather, mining, oil, finance and crowd and crisis management. The Economics Society was addressed by Phil Rattle OA and John Gilligan, two private equity ‘dragons’ from the City, who provided an engaging defence of the role of private equity companies in the economy and their importance in creating jobs and wealth. In a further Tanvi Gokhale lecture Tanvi Gokhale, Head of spoke to the Strategy for Lloyds Banking Group, Economics Society gave an informative careers talk on city banking, outlining the tough entry requirements. The Bang & Olufsen lecture gave a fascinating insight into the high tech, high quality and very expensive world of the company to our designers and technologists.

COLDSTREAM GUARDS The 106th AGI marked a very special occasion: the reaffiliation of the contingent to the Coldstream Guards. This rebadging acknowledges that most of the cadets’ training is infantry based. The arrival of WO1 Bill Wilson as SSI has made this possible, after his distinguished career in the Coldstream Guards. This year’s Inspecting Officer, Lt Colonel HWR Eagan, congratulated the contingent and handed out new berets at the parade. Cadets carried out a variety of activities and later visiting members of the Coldstream Guards demonstrated the latest infantry weapons. Cadets left the final parade with Lt Colonel Eagan’s praise for them as one of the very best contingents in the country ringing in their ears. A personal success was recorded for Charlie Baker, who was awarded one of the very small number of flying scholarships by the RAF. He enjoyed two weeks at a flying school in Scotland: the aim was to learn to fly solo. This he achieved under exhilarating and, to some degree, nerve-wracking circumstances. Over the summer 70 cadets were deployed to

Wathgill, near Catterick, to take part in this year’s summer camp. Highlights included the Adventure Training Package (raft building, kayaking, climbing and archery), the Overnight Exercise (enemy forces were successfully defeated and swore allegiance to the Coldstream Guards) and the very wet range day. In the Drill competition, CUO Matthew Gledhill led his troops to victory, taking the shield ahead of 36 other contingents.18 cadets then went on to take part in the annual Adventure Training Expedition at Tulloch, near Fort William in Scotland. This included climbing Ben Nevis, ice climbing and whitewater rafting. The RAF section were guests of RAF Leeming, home to the school for fast jet pilots, a mountain rescue team and a signals unit. Cadets enjoyed gliding, shooting on the range and various command task exercises. Nine of our Sixth Formers attended the prestigious, top class Cadet Leadership Course at Frimley Park’s National Cadet training Centre. Gareth Gibson was named best cadet in his group.

MUSIC The Summer Concert was an evening rich with talent. The Chamber orchestra played Handel and Purcell, Sixth Form flautists played Telemann and Fauré and a Fifth form band played two soulful acoustic numbers of their own composition. The audience was also entertained by two saxophone groups, clarinets and trumpets, the charming vocals of the Barbershop Group and the swinging rhythms of Mainstream, our jazz band. There were two concerts in the Schools Young Musicians series. The first featured pianist Timothy End, who has won many awards. The concert featured music by Mozart, Bach, Fauré, Shostakovich, Schubert and a real feast of music from Debussy. The second concert in the series was from OA Joe Davis, playing Stravinsky’s exquisite Suite Italienne on the cello

accompanied by Neil Buick. Joe displayed to the full his technical mastery of his instrument. The annual Leavers Concert was, as ever, a most enjoyable occasion,full of variety and changes of mood. Highlights of the evening included a sensitive piano performance of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G Minor from Nick Rawlins, Rustle of Spring by Sinding from David McLeod, Beethoven’s First Movement Pathetique from Chris Larkin and Bach’s Sonata in C for flute from Jonathan Harrison. Countertenor Tom Blackie delighted us with a performance of Purcell’s Music for Awhile as did tenor Edward Rimmer with Mozart’s Abendempfindung an Laura. On a lighter note, Nat Samson and Ed Francis gave an entertaining rendition of Humans are Dead by Flight of the Conchords.

Kris Henley at the Summer Concert

INTO BUSINESS One of our Lower Sixth Young Enterprise teams, Puregold, won the Young Enterprise Award regional final by successfully marketing their convenient hygiene product. This was a hypoallergenic bracelet, designed to store a hand sanitiser. The group was awarded the title of ‘Best Trade Stall’ and then went on to the county final,where they displayed excellent presentation and marketing skills. The Puregold team included The team man George Margereson, Alex Gold, the Best Trade Jonathan Gold, Elliot Dagul, Stall Amul Patel, Zach Rich, Kiran Giblin and Gerard Flahive. Third formers learned a lot about how businesses function by interacting with businessmen on their Business Enterprise Day. Boys were involved in running their own businesses in teams, facing marketing and public relations challenges – all pupils enjoyed the day and learnt a lot from it.

FUNDRAISING Over the year, pupils’efforts were focused on raising money for the Banana Tree Project, which has benefited children at orphanages in Mwanza, Tanzania. Funds raised

have paid for school materials and school uniforms, as well as providing sponsorship for some children through their secondary schooling. Sponsored runs and the Lower School Christmas celebration have helped pay for these. These efforts culminated in a whole school walk by over 500 pupils in warm summer sunshine. Over the summer, James Horne completed a four-day 250 mile bike ride from Inverness to Glasgow, In the process, he raised over £1,000 for the NSPCC – a great achievement.

SPORT: DISTRICT WINNERS Cricket: This was an excellent season with outstanding results for all our teams. In the District Cup competitions there were triumphant wins for the U12, U13, U14 and U15 teams, with the U13s adding the County Cup to the trophy cabinet. For the School there was an overall win rate of 77%. The 1st XI finished the season at the top of the School Sport Web Site league, having won 82% of their matches. Captained by Jack Reynolds, they won the Bedford Modern Twenty/20 tournament in great style. Here Chris Dobson set a new school record with the fastest 50 against Highgate off just 18 balls, which earned him Batsman of the Tournament. Victor Stairmand won Bowler of the Tournament. The 2nd XI won 63% of their games. Against Aylesbury the team enjoyed a fine victory by 8 wickets, with Bradley Hudson scoring an excellent 89. District Cup The U15As won 71% of their final action at matches, beating Verulam in the Woollams District final by 76 runs. Abhishek Kulkarni put in two notable batting performances, scoring 104 against Bancroft’s and 80 against Aylesbury. In the same match Alex Goldstone took a stunning 7 wickets, leaving the opposition 145 all out. For the U15Bs with a strike rate of 80%, Edward Callender scored 100 (retired) in their win against Bishops Stortford. Both U14 sides maintained a win rate of over 80% over the season. The stalwart U13As, ably captained by Robbie Goldstone, won both the District and County Cup finals, beating St Columba’s by 7 wickets in the former and Heath Mount School by 31 runs in the latter. The plucky U12As won 94% of their games, winning the District Cup final against Sir John Lawes by 7 wickets. In the match against Bishop’s Stortford, batsman Richard Thrale scored a fine 106. The U14s also enjoyed some fine weather for their cricket tour of Dorset. Matches against Weymouth, Bryanston

and Milton Abbey saw spirited performances by both teams. The Winton matches were forced indoors, thanks to the one bout of unseasonable weather. The A squad won all their 4 matches, whilst the Bs won one and narrowly lost 3. Other activities, which included visits to Clouds Hill, the Bovingdon Tank Museum, Lulworth Cove and a mackerel fishing trip, were also enjoyed by all.

Athletics: Our U15 athletes performed consistently at every meet, winning their half of the County league and the District Championships. Particularly fine performances were recorded by Chris Springthorpe, Vasudev Zaver, Bryn Edwards and Marcus Katsantonis. The two outstanding athletes of this season were Albert Koomson and Tom Brooks. Two U14 athetes deserve special mention: Mark Pearce and Ben Rose. Tennis: Success in the County Schools Championships beckoned when our first pair Jamie Dillon and Ben Carey won the U18 Mens for the third consecutive year. Overall victories over Berkhamstead, Merchant Taylors’, Haileybury and Mill Hill were also a highlight of the season. Fine play from Ross Hannah, Gordon Tveito-Duncan, Tom Russell, Chris Pollitt and Josh Steer contributed to these. Our U14s played an all-St Albans School final in the County Championships with the final victory going to Harry Hamer and Alex Terry.

Rugby: Our 50 rugby tourists enjoyed their far flung trip to New Zealand, Fiji and the Cook Islands and returned triumphant and undefeated with seven wins and a draw from their eight matches. Off the field students enjoyed the Triple Challenge in New Zealand: whitewater rafting, jetboating and a helicopter ride. On the islands, beach rugby 7s and volleyball and snorkelling near the reefs provided more challenges. The team clearly profited from their overseas experience in their recent season opening St Albans School/Saracens Tournament at Woollams. On their way to the final they thrust aside the very strong Tonbridge side, only to lose narrowly to an excellent Bedford side. Ultimate Frisbee: St Albans began the season with the challenge of maintaining their unbeaten record for the fourth year. Mill Hill were beaten 11-7 with strong performances from Calvin Abrahams, Will Berrington, Jack Carroll, Richard Cook and Elliott Fellowes. Haberdashers’ were convincingly beaten 10-3. Captained by James Clegg, there were spirited and athletic performances from the whole team. Zach Rich scored 8 times, benefiting from some excellent passes from Oliver Madgwick. This was another successful season. Swimming: James Duke-Smith was selected to represent Herts at the Inter Counties Gala. He took 3rd place in the 50m individual free style and swam in the freestyle relay team, which took first place. Sailing: Daniel Bigsby has been selected to attend the Sail for Gold Olympic Regatta at Weymouth Portland National Sailing Academy. At 16, he is the youngest member of a squad which will consist of the best ten Under-19 sailors in the UK.

St Albans School is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 4400125 Charity No. 1092932 Registered Office: Abbey Gateway, St Albans, Herts. AL3 4HB

Highlights Autumn 09  

The termly newsletter from St Albans School

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