Full steam ahead for Harpenden's proposed new secondary school
PUBLISHED: 17:30 23 October 2014
Hundreds of local parents have signalled their backing for a proposed new secondary school in Harpenden, enabling its promoters to submit an application to the Department for Education (DfE).
The recent lodging of the application marks a major step forward for Harpenden Secondary Education Trust (HSET) in its bid to ease the pressure on secondary school places in the town.
Trust chairman Philip Waters said that the department was given a detailed document outlining the plans of Harpenden’s three secondary schools – Sir John Lawes, St George’s and Roundwood Park – working in partnership with Rothamsted Research and the University of Hertfordshire to create a much-needed new school.
The application outlines the rising and acute local need for school places, while highlighting the support being given to the project by families.
Figures show that the number of expressions of interest for places at the proposed Harpenden Secondary Free School was 219 for 2017, 188 for 2018 and over 560 for 2019 and beyond.
Philip said the application was the “culmination of a year’s hard work by our dedicated team”.
Parents had been approached at local primary schools to signal their support for the proposed new school.
Philip added: “We believe we have put together an excellent case for a new school which has a modern approach to learning but keeps traditional values at its core.”
The DfE will now consider the application and, if it is recommended for the next stage of assessment, members of the trust will be invited to discuss plans in more detail – possibly before the New Year.
Meanwhile, consultants engaged by Herts county council are still re-examining possible sites mooted for the new school, with their research expected to be completed in January.