New School to Go Ahead
Not without its controversy, Katherine Warington School (KWS) is set to be the first new school in the area for 50 years. There have been concerns raised and issues discussed regarding roads, transport and getting to school as well as the impact on the discovery of Anglo Saxon burial grounds.
Campaign Group Right School Right Place made up of over 2000 concerned residents and supporters in Batford, Harpenden and Wheathampstead requested a Judicial Review and brought the action against Herts County Council (HCC). A Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. However, the Court of Appeal denied permission for Right School Right Place to appeal against the High Court Judgment made on August 2nd in relation to the planning permission for the new secondary school in Harpenden.
This judgement (made on 25 September 2018) concludes the ability for any party to legally challenge the planning decision reached by Hertfordshire County Council.
But whatever the negatives, surely a new secondary school for the area must be a good thing and overall it seems that there has been a good reaction as the volume of applications to join as the first students in Year 7 in September 2019 has been significant.
Tony Smith, Founding Head teacher said, ‘It is a great step forward to be able to focus on the educational aspects of setting up the new school now the planning aspects have been met. Meeting parents and students at our open day and hearing their enthusiasm and hopes for the Katherine Warington School was invigorating. I start the recruitment process for staff in early January and I can't wait. The calibre of potential staff who have contacted me to date far exceeds my expectations. Recruitment into secondary education presents a challenge locally and nationally but the proposition of being in the first phase of this brand new school will be inspiring to quality professionals.’
According to the KWS web site the main window for applications is now closed and HCC will organise notifying families on National Offer Day on March 1st 2019. The School still welcomes applications, but they will be treated as late by HCC and not included in the first round of offers. An event around that time will be arranged to welcome students who have been offered a place and inform others about the arrangements for the continued interest process.
In terms of the schools construction, the intended development is scheduled to begin around late November with a plan to deliver a 180 place school for 6 forms which will be available from September 2019. The main school building is scheduled for completion in 2020.