Founding Headteacher of the Katherine Warington School appointed

Harpenden Secondary Education Trust proudly announces the appointment of the founding Headteacher of the Katherine Warington School.  The successful applicant is Tony Smith, currently Deputy Head at Roundwood Park School in Harpenden. Tony was selected from a national field of applicants after a two day interview process. He takes up the position from January 2018.

Tony has taught at Roundwood Park for ten years as an economics specialist and been a member of the senior leadership team for the last eight years. Since 2015 part of his role has been project manager for the Katherine Warington School, liaising with the EFSA, HCC, Harpenden parents and latterly Kier Construction who have won the contract to plan and build the new secondary school.

Tony Smith said ‘I am delighted to be appointed as the founding Headteacher for the first new secondary school in Harpenden for over 50 years. It is such a unique opportunity to set up the Katherine Warington School and work collaboratively with parents, students and the other exceptional secondary schools to open a new school with educational excellence at its centre. My absolute priority is to deliver a curriculum that inspires and engages students, promotes critical thinking and prepares them to succeed in a changing world’.

Philip Waters, Chair of HSET said ‘The Trust is absolutely delighted with the appointment of Tony Smith as our founding Headteacher.  It is the key decision to ensure the success of the new school.  As our Project Manager he has put his heart and soul into ensuring that the needs of our community will be met by the new school.  He will carry this project role to our initial opening in September 2018 and as our founding Headteacher he will recruit, develop, lead and inspire the new staff team to deliver a high quality educational experience for all of the students of Katherine Warington School’.

Claire Robins, principal proposer of the new school and Head of Sir John Lawes School said ‘Tony impressed us all at interview with his exciting ideas for making Katherine Warington School a stimulating and innovative place of learning for the young people of Harpenden.  It is great to know this important project is in such good hands.’

Tony added ‘the name and logo begin to tell the story of the Katherine Warington School – she was a progressive, inspirational scientist who was not scared to be different, combining traditional approaches with innovation. The broad and balanced curriculum will be delivered in a trusted, nurturing environment where students will flourish and staff are highly effective’.

The Katherine Warington School will open with 180 new Year 7 students in September 2018 on a permanent site in Batford. When full the school will have 900 students plus a Sixth Form of 250. Planning will be applied for in September after several public consultation meetings are held in July. The Open Day for prospective parents for September 2018 is Saturday 14th October 2017.

For further information please contact Tel 01582 714033

Founding Headteacher Vacancy

We are now advertising for the Founding Headteacher of Katherine Warington. Please find further information on the vacancies page of the website.

School Name Announced



Harpenden Secondary Education Trust proudly announces the chosen name of the new secondary school to be built in Harpenden. The school will be called the Katherine Warington School after the scientist who lived in Harpenden for 90 years and pioneered research into the beneficial impact of boron and boric acid on plant and bean fertility during her working life at Rothamsted Research.

The name was one of over 700 suggestions from pupils at primary schools in and around Harpenden. These were narrowed down to a list of ten. Further research and investigation led to a final shortlist of three names. The Katherine Warington School emerged as the favourite name at a meeting of the Harpenden Secondary School Trust.

The name was initially suggested by Elizabeth Gilardo, an 8 year old pupil from St Dominic Catholic Primary School. Elizabeth said:

I wanted to suggest a name that had something to do with Harpenden and someone who had made an impact. I searched the internet and liked the name Katherine Warington. I felt it was different from lots of the other schools that are either named after men or trees. I also liked that she was a woman working in science all those years ago. I was surprised that Katherine had not been fully recognised for her achievements so her name becoming the school name would help that.

KW Photo (002)

Philip Waters chair of the Harpenden Secondary School Trust said:

“We are delighted that the new school celebrates a female scientist who was both ground-breaking and steeped in Harpenden history. The Trust look forward to seeing her name above the door of the new secondary school. We wanted the name to reflect not only the town but also the high achievement which is a characteristic of all the secondary schools in Harpenden and is very much what the parents in our community want too. The use of her name sets an aspirational target of achievement for the school and its students.”

Through the course of this selection process, living relatives of Katherine Warington were contacted and asked for their permission to use her name in this manner. The living family were delighted at the prospect of their pioneering relative being remembered and honoured in such a way.  Andrew Warington Wickham, great nephew of Katherine said:

The family all feel deeply honoured and proud that the school will be named after a female scientist.

The Katherine Warington School intends to open to students in September 2018.

For further information about Katherine Warington please click here.

Lead Contractor Appointment

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has approved the appointment of Kier as the Lead Contractor for the new Harpenden Secondary Free School. The appointment of Kier follows a competitive tendering process to select a contractor.

Kier will now lead on the design and planning application to build facilities for the new Harpenden Secondary Free School, located at a site at the corner of Common Lane and Lower Luton Road.

The ESFA will work with the Harpenden Secondary School Trust, Kier and Hertfordshire County Council, as Education Authority, to submit a planning application.

Kier will also be responsible for the construction of the new facilities, with the aim of providing the first facilities on-site for September 2018.

The contractor intends to hold a full pre-application consultation before any plans are submitted. Details of this will follow.

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