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Author and economist Ann Pettifor visits school in St Albans

Wednesday 25 February 2015

authorAuthor and economist Ann Pettifor visited a school in St Albans to raise awareness of the role of international debt and creditor institutions. The veteran campaigner visited Year 12 and 13 pupils at St Albans Girls School last week. She explained that after having a successful and illustrious career as a finance advisor in London during the 1980’s & 90’s, she became bored with making money and decided to seek out a more fulfilling role.

In 1998 incensed by the unjust global imbalances between rich and poor Ann Pettifor decided to set up ‘Jubilee 2000’, a worldwide campaign to pressurize the rich into writing off mountains of third world debt. Together with the help of high profile supporters such as Pope John Paul II, Mohamed Ali, Bono, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, she successfully persuaded the G8 to write off $100 Billion of debt owed by the 35 poorest nations. Year 13 Sociology student George Crysanthou said: “Her talk was refreshing, she was very open minded, gave a good broad overview of the economy and told you things they definitely don’t tell you in the text books.” Ann’s career advice to students was to try to immerse themselves in a subject for which they had a passion and to pursue a job that energizes them, and makes them use all their capacities. Ann is now executive director of a finance consultancy and continues to write books on the subject of world economics.



Children’s author Sally Prue inspires St Albans Girls School pupils


Sally Prue with pupils from St Albans Girl School


Children’s author, Sally Prue, inspired year nine pupils at St Albans Girls School, whilst visiting on Wednesday, February 11. Ms Prue showed the girls how to use the art of storytelling by inviting them to contribute details to a wild, imaginary tale with their own characters in class. Student, Rebecca Norton, said: “She was fun and very interesting. She made us laugh by helping us to make up a new story together.”

The award-winning author first wrote stories to escape her miserable childhood – It allowed her to indulge in exciting adventures in another world.

Her first book, Cold Tom, won the Branford Boase Award in 2002, and also received the Smarties silver prize that same year. Since the Ms Prue has had a successful career, writing another 16 book titles.

First published Monday 23 February 2015 in News by Jyoti Rambhai

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ziggyFirst published Tuesday 17 February 2015

News by Jyoti Rambhai

A Holocaust survivor told a gripping story when he visited a St Albans secondary school. Zigi Shipper was introduced to an audience of more than 200 people at St Albans Girls School, by his granddaughter, Holly Simons, a year 13 student at the school.

Mr Shipper was born in January 1930 in Lodz, Poland and as a boy, he lived with his grandma in the cramped conditions of the ghettos.

The 85-year-old spoke particularly about how he was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp when he was just 13-years-old. He managed to stay alive with the help and support he received from the boys he worked alongside, which he regarded as his only family.

At the time, Mr Shipper said he thought he had no real family left, however, after liberation in May 1945, he was miraculously re-united with his mother in Hamburg.

The pair then lived in Hambury together until Mr Shipper married his French wife in 1954.

Following his talk, Mr Shipper lead a special candle lighting ceremony made up of seven candles: six for the six million Jewish people who lost their lives during the Holocaust, and the seventh candle for the subsequent genocides that have happened, such as Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia.

Debbie Smith, spokesperson for the school, said: “The demand to see him was so great, we honestly could have had twice the number of people in the audience.

“It was a very memorable experience to be there.”

Esme Collins, a year nine student, said: “I though his story was both moving and inspirational – I have really learnt a lot.”

Mr Shipper, who has been married for 61 years, has two daughters, six grandchildren and even a great grandson.

He has now dedicated the rest of his life to educating young people about the Holocaust to ensure history does not repeat itself and believes he is the luckiest man in the world to have survived against all the odds.

Mr Shipper’s final word of advice to his audience was do not hate, never give up and simply be nice to each other.


Boy band raises roof of St Albans school

Boy band raises roof of St Albans school

First published Monday 9 February 2015 in News

Boy band ‘In Hindsight’ raised the roof for the second year running when they appeared at St Albans Girls’ School.

The event, which was held during lunchtime last Wednesday, January 28, was arranged by the charity Life Skills Education C.I.C. and the PSHE department to raise awareness of cyber bullying.

In Hindsight is made up of three brothers, Michael Newcombe, 18, lead singer and guitarist, Daniel Newcombe, 17, drums, and Isaac Newcombe, 19, vocal and guitarist.

Debbie Johnson Smith, from at St Albans Girls’ School, said: “They presented a polished energized set that both entertained and educated the girls with a powerful, hard-hitting message.

“As part of the act the boys cleverly interwove lots of clear comprehensive guidance on how to keep safe online and how to cope with cyber bullying.”



Pensions Minister Steve Webb visits St Albans Girls’ School


Pensions Minister Steve Webb visited a school in St Albans last week.

The politician sat in two classes at St Albans Girls’ School in Sandridgebury Lane on Thursday. With pensions on the national curriculum in England for the first time ever, students aged 14 to 17 had the chance to quiz the minister about why they should save and what impact on their life it will have.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with pupils from Year 9 up to Sixth Form and was very impressed with how they engaged with the issue – even if retirement is long way off for them.

“It was a fascinating insight for me into how young people think about these matters, as well as an opportunity for me to answer their questions and explain action the Government is taking to help everyone secure a more comfortable old age.”

The department for work and pensions polled the class of students at this school including what they think they will need to live on, if they’ll spend more on cars or houses or pensions, or how likely they think they will live to 100 or if they’ve ever discussed pensions with their parents.

Year 13 Government and Politics A-level student Jess Culnane, impressed the Minister with her knowledge of the cabinet and how the parliamentary systems work in the UK.

following the visit she said “It was a very informative visit, and I was very interested to meet a member of Parliament. The information he gave us made me realize that I need to start thinking about pensions early on in my life.”

Tuesday 25 November 2014 in News by Charlotte Ikone

St Albans’ Lucy Day wins British judo gold medal


St Albans Girls School’s Lucy Day was crowned British Cadet champion on Sunday in Sheffield. The Year 11 student won the gold medal in her under-57kg category. Day swept through her early fights, winning with ten-point scores with uchi mata throws, hold downs and an arm lock. She battled to a tough, tactical victory over fellow Redbridge Judo Club member Chloe Alvis in the bronze medal match.

Another ten-point win followed in the final as she clinched the gold medal.Day said: “I was happy to win but it was tough. The pressure was really on because I am ranked as number one in the UK so everyone expected me to win. Before the competition I had to blank everything out, focus hard and just concentrate on winning.”

Day returns to action this weekend when she competes in the junior championships.

herts advertiserDavid Clarke inspires GCSE students to succeed


Wednesday 26th November Stags were very proud to welcome Paralympic  blind footballer David Clark as their guest speaker at the STAGS GCSE certificate presentation evening.  David’s speech was perfect for the students, a story full of hope, looking to the future, having the will to succeed and of course, scoring goals! He spoke of his personal career journey into football  and how a very special school teacher changed his life by creating a football that he could hear. First they began by experimenting with putting rice inside the football, but it eventually went soft so could no longer be heard. The next step was to place bells inside the ball which worked  well and this eventually lead David on to enjoy  a distinguished career in competitive football.  Head Girl  & year 12 student  Sam Springle said ‘ I thought  his speech was  really inspirational , he is truly a remarkable man who just never gave up and he made his dreams come true which is wonderful’. In fact David has achieved 144 caps for the England blind football  five aside team and scored an impressive  128 goals which he pointed out, whilst smiling, was more than Wayne Rooney!  David holds a place in the National football museums hall of fame in Manchester and has recently helped launch the UKs first Sports Academy for people with visual impairment at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford on Friday 7th November.

Many sincere thanks to David for coming to STAGS to inspire our students and to all members of teaching and support staff who made the evening  very special  and memorable in so very many ways.

Further information on the Sports Academy can be found on the RNC website and information on the Euros 2015 can be found at and

28th December 2014 - By Madeleine Burton


STAGS duo pair win Sainsbury’s gold


STAGS students Lucy Day and Amy Platten returned from the Sainsbury’s School Games with gold medals draped around their necks .Talented year 11 STAGS pupil Lucy Day and Amy Platten in year 9 proudly represented England and each won a gold medal at the Sainsbury’s Games Judo championship Under 57kg and under 44kg categories held in Manchester at the commonwealth games facilities 5th – 7th September.

Amy, in Year 9, displayed some exceptional judo techniques, beating all her opponents in the under-44kg category by an ippon. In the final contest, she won with an arm lock.“It was my first competition against under 18s so to win all my fights with ippon and one with an armlock was amazing,” she said.

In previous tournaments Amy was not permitted to use an arm lock, so it was thrilling for her to be able to apply the use of that technical skill in order to beat her opponent! Year 11 student Lucy progressed safely through her contests as the top placed competitor, beating some highly capable players with a mix of ippon throws and powerful hold-downs. Her gold medal was finally secured when her opponent submitted after Lucy applied a strangle.

Lucy said: “I was so pleased with my gold medal after returning from injury, and I’m very grateful to all the coaches, physios and supporters who have helped me back to top level judo.”Both train hard at Redbridge Judo Club every week and Lucy has also been lucky to benefit from additional support on the Hertfordshire Talented Athlete Programme at the University of Hertfordshire.

Judo gold for STAG’s Amy



St Albans Girls’ School pupil Amy Platten made her 13th birthday a memorable one as she won gold in the Flanders Judo Cup in Belgium.

Platten was travelling with the British Judo Team having previously won bronze at prestigious Venray Judo competition in Holland.

Fighting in the U15 category, she won all her contests with ippon throws against German, Belgium and Dutch opponents.

Platten now has her sights on the British National Title in December

Michael Edwards