St Albans School can trace its history back to 948. It is a day school which, after being for many centuries the town's grammar school, was part of the Direct Grant system for most of the twentieth century, reverting to full independence in 1976. Its atmosphere and ethos derive from long tradition, its community life and its position near the centre of St Albans close to the Abbey above the site of the Roman City of Verulamium. The school aims to foster the development of talent and responsibility and the fulfilment of individual potential. While the emphasis is on academic achievement, we recognise that pupils have diverse abilities and that all are to be valued. A wide range of opportunities is offered for development in many areas, with a strong emphasis on the ideal of service to the community. The range of GCSEs is extensive and flexible, and academic standards are very high. St Albans students have an excellent record of success in gaining admission to top universities and of outstanding achievement in Higher Education. The playing fields are among the finest in the country. The School enjoys a strong record of success in the major team games, and pupils have won national and international honours in these, and in a range of other sports including swimming, cross country, table tennis and orienteering. A new sports hall and swimming pool complex is due to open in 2012. Drama and music flourish to a high standard, and the choir sings regularly in the Abbey. The School has its own Field Studies Centre in the Brecon Beacons. The Sixth Form is co-educational and a great breadth of opportunity, academic and extra-curricular, is open equally to boys and girls. A wide range of subjects is taught for A and AS examinations, with almost all combinations being available in a flexible timetable. There is an extensive programme of careers advice and preparation for Higher Education. The recently refurbished Sixth Form Centre is the base for nearly three hundred sixthformers. Academic Scholarships are awarded on the basis of performance in the Entrance Examination at 11+. At 13+ and 16+ there is a separate scholarship examination. Means-tested assistance with fees may be available in cases of proven need from the School's own bursary fund. Scholarships for Art and Music are offered at 13+ and pupils already at the school may be awarded bursaries to cover instrumental tuition fees. Choral scholarships are awarded only at 11+. Alumni - Former pupils include the eminent physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking; the archaeologist, Lord Renfrew, Master of Jesus College and formerly professor of Archaeology at Cambridge University; and, at the other historical extreme, Nicholas Breakspeare, the first and only English pope. There is a thriving association for old alumni, with its own sports ground and pavilion, and open rugby and cricket clubs.