Update on Legal Challenge #3 – June 2018

The proceeding will now cover two days

Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th July 2018 have now been confirmed as the date for the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, London. Although hearings are open to the public, there is likely to be very limited seating within the court room, particularly as priority will need to be given to representatives of all the interested parties.
One Judge will consider the case. It is anticipated that a judgement will not be handed down on the day but shortly afterwards. We will continue to update the website accordingly during this time.

Update on Legal Challenge 2 – May 2018

The ESFA’s application for an expedited High Court hearing has been approved by the Courts. It is anticipated that the hearing will take place by the end of June or soon afterwards. A formal Court date is awaited and a further update provided once this is received.

Update on Legal Challenge – May 2018

Update on the current status of the legal challenge against the granting of planning permission for Katherine Warington School, and some information on the procedural steps that Hertfordshire County Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency will be following.

An application for permission to judicially review the County Council’s Planning Decision dated 15th March 2018 was made on Thursday 26th April 2018. HCC acting as the Defendant local planning authority has filed summary grounds to the court. HCC as the local education authority has also separately filed summary grounds exercising its rights as an Interested Party in proceedings. The ESFA has a deadline of 1st June 2018 to do the same as an Interested Party.

In order to resolve the situation as soon as possible, the ESFA has also filed an application for an expedited hearing (supported by the County Council acting as an Interested Party), to be heard no later than 29 June 2018. Following any judgement made by the High Court, there are options for parties to appeal the decision.

The ESFA legal team is currently preparing summary grounds, to be filed by the deadline above. We are also waiting for confirmation of whether the application for an expedited hearing will be granted and a likely date.

We will provide further updates as we receive them.

KWS Update – May 2018

We have been informed by HCC that they have received Court papers from Downs Solicitors, representing Right School Right Place, confirming that they have applied for permission to judicially review the County Councils Planning Decision dated 15 March 2018. The application for permission was made on Thursday 26 April 2018, being the last day of the 6 week judicial review period.

We will keep you updated on any developments as we are informed by HCC.

Katherine Warington deferred opening until September 2019

Statement from Department for Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency

‘Department officials have been working closely with Harpenden Secondary Education Trust to ensure Katherine Warington School will offer high quality provision upon opening. Following notice of the planning decision on 15 March 2018, we have re-evaluated whether it is possible to still open in September 2018. We have determined that delivery of a temporary school within the sports hall on the permanent site is no longer possible within the timescales available, and the opening date will be rescheduled.

Alternative options have been assessed, but the constraints of the planning conditions and the requirement to level the site would compromise the programme of works for completion of the main school buildings for the 2019/20 academic year. We will continue to work closely with both the trust and Hertfordshire County Council towards a September 2019 opening and are confident the school will make an important contribution in meeting the demand for secondary school places in Hertfordshire from 2019 and beyond.’

Harpenden Secondary Education Trust commented

It is extremely disappointing for the students and their families, and also for ourselves that the decision has had to be taken to defer the opening of Katherine Warington School. Harpenden Secondary Education Trust has always stated that it would not open on a site that provided a sub-optimal experience for the students and therefore that we would only consider opening on the permanent site. We had already agreed to compromise our vision by being prepared to open in temporary accommodation on that site, firstly when it was suggested we used the adapted permanent sports hall and subsequently by offering to open in temporary classrooms. However, due to delays in obtaining planning permission, the ability to open in the built and repurposed sports hall then in other temporary accommodation on the designated site is no longer possible.

We have considered other possible solutions to achieve a September 2018 opening, specifically temporary classrooms on one of the existing secondary school sites or other school sites and finally any repurposed building to house students for up to a whole academic year. As experienced school leaders we do not currently feel that any of the proposed compromises are acceptable. Firstly, to requisition a non-educational site anywhere within the Harpenden area is clearly unfeasible, inappropriate and absolutely contrary to the original aims of the trust to provide an excellent education experience for the students. Opening at another school outside of Harpenden does not answer our parents wish to attend schools in the locality. Finally it was not possible to accommodate enough temporary classrooms on one of the existing school sites and the additional pressures on communal spaces such as the canteen and hall, specialist classrooms and increased transport volumes would result in a second rate educational experience for Katherine Warington students and students at the host school.

We have become increasingly concerned that the experience of the first Katherine Warington School intake under these circumstances would not be comparable to that of students at the other Harpenden schools. The Trust continues to be committed to establishing a school which provides an outstanding educational experience in a learning environment that meets the needs of all the students in our care within the community we serve. We want Katherine Warington School to be a school of choice for parents and children in our community and we believe a positive experience for its first cohort will be crucial in helping us achieve that aim.

It is our intention, working with ESFA, Department for Education and HCC, to have a completed, newly built school ready for September 2019.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said:

“We note the commitment of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust and the DfE to continue to work towards a successful opening in September 2019 and look forward to this much needed new school serving the local community. In the meantime we will work with existing schools to see whether additional places can be made available for September 2018. We expect to have this work completed by 5th April but in the meantime we would urge parents to remain on the Continuing Interest List which will be run again between 21st – 27th April ”

Secretary of State decides not to call in planning application

Secretary of State decides not to call in planning application

ESFA commented

“We are pleased to confirm that the Secretary of State has decided not to call in the planning application for review. We are expecting confirmation of the decision notice from Hertfordshire County Council imminently.

As soon as the decision notice has been received we will move to the next stage of the process and begin to discharge planning conditions so that works on site can begin as soon as possible.

The project team will continue to work hard to ensure that the school can open for 2018/19 as planned.

Founding Head Teacher Tony Smith said:

“The Trust are delighted that the planning decision has not been called in. Any other decision would have prevented opening in September 2018. Now we are awaiting clarification from the appointed contractor Kier and the ESFA as to their ability to discharge the pre-commencement conditions placed on the planning decision by the planning authority in time to open in a newly constructed Sports Centre, repurposed for teaching from September 2018.

“We thank the ESFA, the County Council and the officers and politicians who have worked hard to bring us to this point. We now need everyone to focus and deliver a school for September 2018 as we focus on the educational aspects of recruiting staff, signing the funding agreement and welcoming our initial cohort of Year 7 students.”

Current Position – March 2018

Current position

Hertfordshire County Council’s Development Control Committee resolved to grant planning permission for the Katherine Warington School at its meeting of 19 February 2018. The decision is subject to call in by the Secretary of State (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government).

Following HCC Development Control Committee’s (DCC) resolution, local parents and residents may notice some work taking place on site. Some ground investigations have begun, which relate to the ‘pre-commencement’ conditions that the Development Control Committee (DCC) agreed should apply to the application. These conditions will need to be discharged by the ESFAs contractor, Kier, following the granting of any planning permission and before construction works can begin, following the Secretary of State’s decision on the application.

What happens next?

The Secretary of State has 21 days to decide whether to ‘call in’ the application for review. This is because the school site is currently in the Green Belt. The planning application was referred to the Secretary of State on 20 February. A response is anticipated by 13 March 2018.

In addition to formal planning permission being granted, the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust need to enter into a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for Education to allow the school to open.

Everyone involved in the project is working hard to ensure that the school can open for 2018/19 as planned.

KWS Taster Lessons – 25th February 2018

Please Click Here to read an article about our Taster Lessons held on Sunday 25th February 2018 at Roundwood Park and Roundwood Primary School.

Admissions Process

On Sunday 4th March from 10am-1pm at Roundwood Park I will be available to answer any further questions you may have regarding the admissions process for Katherine Warington School for September 2018. Please email info@kwschool.co.uk to book an appointment.

Tony Smith
Founding Headteacher

Decision of Hertfordshire CC committee members

We’re delighted with the decision of committee members to unanimously resolve to grant detailed planning consent for a new secondary school on the Lower Luton Road in Harpenden at the meeting this morning (19th Feb)

Katherine Warington School will not only deliver an academic education of the highest standard but an environment in which children can acquire the skills ready for a happy and productive life.

When we have the decision in writing with details of the conditions, Kier the appointed constructors will advise us and the ESFA regarding opening timelines.

Tony Smith
Founding Headteacher