Nicholas Breakspear School

Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School
Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School Logo in Gold.png
Colney Heath Lane

, ,

United Kingdom
Coordinates51°44′51″N 0°17′20″W / 51.74747°N 0.28881°W / 51.74747; -0.28881Coordinates: 51°44′51″N 0°17′20″W / 51.74747°N 0.28881°W / 51.74747; -0.28881
MottoPer Tuas Semitas
(English: "In thy ways")
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderFather John Farnsborough
Local authorityHertfordshire County Council
Area trusteeDiocese of Westminster Academy Trust
Department for Education URN137938 Tables
Chair of governorsSue McLellen [1]
Head teacherDeclan Linnane[1]
Age11 to 18
Enrolment574[1] (2016)
HousesTen Houses
Colour(s)Navy blue and yellow
SloganNurture Believe Succeed
PublicationNBS School Magazine

Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School (NBS) is a secondary school with academy status situated on the rural fringe of St Albans, an old Roman city in Hertfordshire, England.

The school takes its name from the 12th-century priest St Albans-born and educated Nicholas Breakspear, who, as Pope Adrian IV, is the only Englishman ever to have occupied the papal chair. The school makes an annual pilgrimage to his tomb in Rome.[2]

Recent history[edit]

After a 2008 renovation of the science classrooms, Chris Reeves made a nativity scene composed of sculptures made from the discarded 1960's desks.[3]

In September 2013 the school celebrated its golden anniversary with a service offered by the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster at SS Alban and Stephen Church in the presence of the mayor of St Albans. The mass was followed by a tree-planting ceremony on the school grounds.[4]

It was recently categorized in 2016 as a 'Good' school but still remains a school with below average teachers.[1]

On 13 January 2016, Prince William ate lunch with Breakspear students at John Henry Newman School as he waited for paramedics. The East Anglian Air Ambulance, of which the Duke of Cambridge is part of, frequently uses the Newman School fields.[5]

The student leaders' take part in a trip to Hoima and Kasambya in Uganda supporting a charity; Kiddies Support Scheme (KiSS) helping families become self-sufficient. To date this team has led a school community to raise over £50000 for this charity.

House system[edit]

Breakspear has six houses, each named after a saint whose life is intended to serve as an example to the community. Students are assigned to one of the houses on entrance to the school in Year 7 where they remain until the end of 6th form; whenever possible younger siblings become a member of the same house.

Each member of staff is also attached to a house.

Each house has two designated Year 11 House Captains, and one Sixth Form House Leader, who aides in coordinating house teams, organise activities and events and represent their house at relevant meetings. Houses compete between themselves for the most point accumulated during both terms of the school year.

List of houses[edit]

School staff[edit]

List of Headteachers
Name Tenure
From To
J C White pre-2000 2005
Phil Jakszta 2005 2013
Declan Linnane 2014 present day

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Jonathan Collings - former teacher, later found out to be and convicted for child pornography offenses (ret. 2010).[6]
  • Norman Sofier - former history and careers teacher (1972-1995).[7]
  • Emma Westbury - Head of Religious Education.[8]
  • Mery John - former teacher, now Head of Stanborough School.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School report: Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School (PDF) (Report). Ofsted. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  2. ^ Welch, Jon (12 March 2013). "Nicholas Breakspear: The only English Pope". BBC News. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Nativity scene carved from classroom desks by school handyman". The Telegraph. 4 December 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  4. ^ Burton, Madeleine (25 September 2013). "Commemorating golden anniversary of St Albans' Nicholas Breakspear school". The Herts Advertiser. Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  5. ^ White, Debbie (14 January 2016). "Prince William "really charming" according to St Albans pupils after surprise lunch". The Herts Adviser. Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Ex-teacher sentenced for child pornography offences". The Independent. 30 September 2010. Archived from the original on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  7. ^ Quinn, Debbie (17 April 2020). "Norman Sofier obituary". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 April 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Over 150 Catholic teachers attend first ATCRE national conference". Independent Catholic News. 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  9. ^ Perring, Rebecca (18 June 2013). "St Albans businessman Martin Brophy awarded MBE for worldwide LGBT choir work". St Albans & Harpenden Review. Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Local band supporting McFly".
  11. ^ Edwards, Michael (4 May 2015). "Isiekwe on England, Saracens and preparing for exams". The Herts Advertiser. Archived from the original on 5 April 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2020.