Latest News

We will be announcing some important news for prospective parents shortly. The project remains on track and is following the existing timeline.

Helen Barton, Head Mistress Designate St George’s

As we begin to say goodbye to Ray McGovern, Head Master of St George’s, a driving force within the Trust to push forward the goal of opening the new secondary school in Harpenden, we look forward to welcoming his successor Helen Barton, Head Mistress Designate.

I am very much looking forward to being part of this important phase in the development of the educational provision within the town. As a school, and an individual, my desire is to see St George’s continue to play a prominent role in this important project. I am aware of the level of effort, negotiation and cooperative working that has taken place to enable us to be in this strong position. I am looking forward to September when I will become part of the team.

Helen Barton, Head Mistress Designate St George’s.
April 2017

Admissions Process

Please find information regarding our Admissions Policy and Process on the following page –

Client Engagement Meetings – March 17

We have now completed the 6 client engagement meetings between the Trust, the EFA and the two companies, Kier and Bam, taken through to the final stages of the tender.  Following lengthy consultation with the Trust regarding all the educational aspects of the build, such as subject classroom adjacencies, office locations, sports centre provision, toilet design etc., both companies have now presented their initial plans of how they see the school.

The next stage is for Kier and Bam to submit their tender proposal within the next two weeks.  These will be reviewed and a decision made regarding the most preferred tender.

Our existing timeline is therefore accurate – there will be two rounds of public consultations regarding the further development of the design within the coming months, with planning submission still scheduled for the autumn.

The Trust will also publish the agreed admissions policy with the EFA and explain the application method for prospective students to join the school in Sept 2018.  This will be on the website by the end of this month.

Visits continue by members of the Trust education sub-committee to other new schools that have opened in the last five years, to identify good practice (in other words pinch any good ideas we can see as being proven to work).

The marketing sub-committee is in discussion with uniform suppliers regarding the style, design and pricing of the new school uniform and plans regarding the naming of the ‘fourth school’ continue apace.

Tony Smith

15th March 2017

Client Engagement Meetings

Today we had the first of a series of Client Engagement Meetings with the two tender finalists who will both go forward to complete a final and full build tender proposal. The two companies are BAM and KIER . Posted 1.02.17

Bidders Day News

On 13th December, we welcomed potential bidders for the construction of the new school for a pre-tender briefing. The EFA sent their team and we briefed construction companies, all from the EFA framework.
The brief and tender requirements, site aspect and design outline were explained. The Trust opened the meeting with an overview of the educational aims and requirements of the building delivered by Alan Henshall (RPS Headteacher) and Tony (RPS Deputy Headteacher). It was energising to be able to focus on the educational aspects of this project, the need, the support of the existing secondary schools, the added expertise from the University and Rothamstead, the potential community use of some of the new schools facilities, the sports and PE provision.
Philip Waters, Chair of the Trust asked the constructors to also focus on the traffic flow into and out of the school, minimising both disruption to the neighbourhood and the environmental impact.
From the positive reaction, questions and comments, it looks very much like this is as exciting a project for the constructors as it is for us and the community. In January we will receive the tenders and select two companies to go forward to develop their bid.
We were overwhelmed with the fantastic response from pupils at our local junior schools to our request to suggest potential names for our new school and suggest designs for the school uniform. Please take a look at the Uniform Design section of this website. New pictures will go up in the gallery every week.
Tony Smith
December 2016

Updated Timeline now available

An updated timeline is now available by clicking here.

Uniform Design

Please see our new Uniform Design page to suggest your ideas for the Uniform and also a name for the new Harpenden Secondary School.

Key milestone reached for new secondary school in Harpenden

The Harpenden Secondary Free School Trust can announce that full funding for a fourth secondary school and the confirmation that the opening date deferral request to move the proposed opening to September 2018 have been agreed. The Department for Education approved both aspects after reviewing the costs and timescale for the new school.  This is a significant milestone in the delivery of a new secondary free school in Harpenden.

The Trust has been working with the Education Funding Agency on the delivery programme, with a view to opening the school as soon as possible. As part of that work, it became clear that it was not going to be possible to secure planning and commence building for a September 2017 opening and therefore, on the advice of the EFA, a request was made to the DfE by the Trust to defer the opening by one year.

Philip Waters Chair of the Harpenden Secondary Education Trust said;

“We are delighted that these decisions have now finally been taken and we can move on to the practical stages of the programme for opening the new school given the delays to the decision on funding and deferral encountered. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank both the Harpenden Parents Group and the Harpenden community for their patience and continued support.”

All parties are committed to working towards providing a high quality school to open in September 2018. Updates will be posted regularly on the Trust website at

David Williams, Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Education and Skills, said: “This much-needed new school is really important to people in the local area, so I’m delighted that we’re another step closer to the new school opening. I know some parents may be disappointed the opening is going to be a year later than originally hoped but there are a lot of things that all need to come together to make this happen.”

In the meantime, Hertfordshire County Council is continuing to ensure that there are enough school places to meet demand from the local area. This will be achieved by expanding existing schools in St Albans.  Progress reports on this will be available at

Notes to editors:

For further comment from the Trust, please contact Tony Smith:  Email Tel 01582 714033

The Harpenden Secondary Free School Trust was established by a partnership of local education providers and specialists to meet the growing need for new secondary school places in the area.

We are supported by local residents and parents keen to ensure there are high quality school places for local children.

The Department for Education is responsible for approving the creation of new free schools, which includes agreeing capital funding by to deliver the necessary funds to acquire a site, construct new schools and operate them.

The Education Funding Agency is a body that is responsible for managing and distributing funding for state education for schools.

May 2016 Update

The Trust held one of its regular meetings last week. The bulk of discussion focused on the awaited outcome of our request to defer opening till 2018 and the approval of the funding agreement. We are beginning to map out the design of the new school or at least the rationale behind clustering subject classrooms in certain areas, the position of the hall, library, canteen and 6th form etc. Once the outline design is agreed, the EFA will approach building companies on its tender framework. The EFA and the appointed contractor will then manage the process of the build. Several members of the Trust have begun visiting existing new build schools to see how they have resolved similar questions.

We will soon be approaching local infant and junior schools to see if their students can offer us some thoughts on the design and colour of the new school uniform. This will likely be after half term as we thought they’d rather get the SATs out of the way first!

Shortly after the last HPG meeting in March, the 3 Head teachers on the Trust extended an invitation to local MP Peter Lilley to visit them to discuss the fourth school as he could not attend that meeting. It has been difficult finding a date to get 4 such busy people together but they are looking forward to seeing him on the 8th July.

The website is developing and more content will be added as we move closer to opening.


Tony Smith

May 2016