St Albans Catholic school St Columba’s College welcomes girls into Year 7 (11+) from September 2022, continuing its successful move to become a co-ed independent school for children of all faith traditions and none

St Columba’s College, St Albans will welcome its first cohort of girls into the Senior school from September 2022, following that by welcoming girls into Year 9 (13+) in 2024. This continues the successful switch to co-education that began in 2021, when it welcomed girls into the Lower Prep and Lower Sixth.

The school is composed of some 800 pupils across the Prep and Senior Schools, drawn from across North London, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Many families live locally in St Albans, but for those further afield, an extensive coach network ensures that travel to and from St Columba’s is safe and reliable for busy working parents.

Soon St Columba’s will be the only co-educational independent school in St Albans for ages four to eighteen and it says that giving parents the opportunity to have all their children at one school brings many benefits in terms of time, logistics and quality of life. “Throughout each phase of education, Prep, Senior and Sixth, we create a nurturing environment where each pupil is challenged to achieve their own best academic standard, while becoming confident, resilient and compassionate individuals,” adds Headmaster David Buxton.

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St Columba’s welcomed girls into Lower Prep and Lower Sixth in September 2021

Founded in 1939, St Columba’s has since 1955 been under the care of The Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a religious congregation based in Rhode Island, USA. It is the only UK school in The Brothers’ global community of schools. Music and sport are integral parts of school life and pupils are encouraged to get involved in a wide range of activities that cater for all abilities and tastes. The extra-curricular programme offers a diverse range of opportunities. “We have always taken a holistic approach that puts our core Columban values of Courage, Courtesy and Compassion at the centre of education, and which turns out well-rounded, socially intelligent young people with a strong moral compass,” says Head of Prep Richard McCann.

To support the move to co-education St Columba’s created new music, sports and IT facilities. In September 2021 the school opened a completely refurbished Sixth Form Centre to enable pupils to experience university-style learning and working. Investment in drama opportunities continued with the opening of a purpose-built studio theatre. This supports a new A-level course in Drama & Theatre, as well as lunchtime LAMDA sessions and the annual inter-House Eisteddfod competition.

Entry to St Columba’s College is by application and assessment. Families are invited to visit for a private tour or to attend one of the regular Open events. These include Whole School Open Day, Prep Stay and Play, 11+ and 13+ Taster Sessions, and Sixth Form ‘Friday Lates’.

St Columba’s College

Further reading: Oakham celebrates 50 years of co-education