Trust backing new Harpenden school bid

St George's School

St George's School - Credit: Archant

Harpenden’s three secondary schools, all rated outstanding by Ofsted, will give their full backing and support to a new school in the town.

St George’s, Roundwood Park and Sir John Lawes are among the best schools in the country and are all oversubscribed.

They want to see a new secondary school built in the town that parents can be assured is of the same calibre as the existing ones.

To that end they expect to be involved in the setting-up of the school, through to it reaching full capacity and possibly into the future.

The three schools have been working closely with partners from the University of Herts and Rothamsted Research to form the Harpenden Secondary Schools Trust.

It is developing a carefully researched and detailed proposal for the new free school at the invitation of Herts county council which has conceded that a new secondary will have to be built in Harpenden.

A good response from the local community has greeted recent public information events held at Rothamsted and Philip Waters, chairman of the trust, said this week: “It is crucial at this stage that we are able to demonstrate the support of local parents for this new school.

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“The alternative would be a shortage of places across the town and students having to be educated outside of the area.”

He went on: “We are committed to ensuring that this does not happen and therefore invite parents of local children still at primary school to support this exciting new project to provide a fantastic new school for the town.”

The county council is proposing a new site for a secondary school on the corner of Common Lane off Lower Luton Road in Batford but has come under fire about the location.

Members of the pressure group Right School Right Place are pushing for the school to be built in Wheathampstead or on other Harpenden sites, claiming that is where the demand is.

A spokesman for the Harpenden Secondary Schools Trust said this week that they were not pushing for any particular site and added: “Basically what is happening now is that the county council has asked the trust to look into it and if approval is given by the Department for Education, the trust would manage the development of the school and curriculum and lead on that.”

All three heads have voiced their support for a new school and the role of the trust. Claire Robins, headteacher of Sir John Lawes, said: “The establishment of a fourth school in the town will be a tremendous benefit to the local community now and for years to come.

“The involvement of the three outstanding local schools, partnered by Rothamsted Research and the University of Hertfordshsire, shows the depth of commitment to make the new school a success and a source of pride for Harpenden.”

Raymond McGovern, head of St George’s, added: “This is a once in a generation opportunity that St George’s is delighted to be part of and we believe that this will result in each school benefiting from greater collaboration leading to great opportunity and choice for students.”

The trust is inviting parents to signal their support for the new school by registering their interest on the website