This Week 17th December 2018

Just wanted to sign off the year with a construction update.

Site works are now confirmed to start the week commencing 7th January 2019. All archaeological work is now complete with no new findings revealed.
Minor enabling works will be taking place on site from w/c 17th December 2018 in the guise of the following activities:

1. Tree surgeons will remove the shrubbery from in front of the new Common Lane access road.
2. All on-site fencing will be completed.
3. Bonding facilities for the ground-worker will be prepared. There will be a dumper and a digger on site to facilitate this operation.
4. Heavy equipment deliveries in preparation for start on 7th January.

There will be no site activity during the Christmas period 21st December to 2nd January.

This is a copy of the newsletter distributed by Kier to local residents impacted by the construction phase of the school. Click Here. 

We will be advertising four key positions from January 2nd- Head of maths, English, science and a Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator who will also be a qualified teacher. We will interview and appoint by the end of January.

So that leaves me with one last important task – to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and to thank everyone for their support and encouragement as we enter a very exciting, ground-breaking 2019.

Tony Smith

This Week 10th December 2018

The structure of the Trust has been in place for several years as we steer the proposal for the new school along the labyrinthine road from need to reality. As we now look forward to opening in September 2019, we have been reviewing the Trust structure as it becomes the governing body of the school. Represented on the Governing Body will be Roundwood Park, St Georges, Sir John Lawes, University of Hertfordshire and Rothamsted Research. We currently have vacancies for two Community Governors. The opportunity for parents of students to become governors will follow in the new year.

We are looking for Governors with a variety of skills, including the following areas:

• Legal
• Property and estates management

It is desirable but not essential for any applicant to have recent secondary school governance experience.

This is an exciting opportunity to join us before the school opens, helping to shape the school as it grows. There is a significant time commitment required of school governors and possibly even more for a new school. It’s approximately 2-3 hours a week. There will be some evening meetings plus meeting preparation time and regular training. There will also be a need to carry out school visits (1-2 per term) during school time.

All governors will adhere to the 7Nolan Principles of Public Life. For further information on being a school volunteer governor, please see:

If you would like to be considered for the role, please complete the application form electronically which is available from the Governor Vacancies page and send to:

The closing date for applications is Monday 7th January. Applicants will be reviewed by the Trust, and may be invited to interview.

This Week 22nd November 2018

We are reaching the final stages of our technical acquisition for the school – that’s everything from computers to flat screens to phones. I’m glad to say that with a little bit of bargaining and arm twisting, it looks like we’ve managed to get pretty much everything on our shopping list including a school radio station and some drones!

I observed a Year 7 geography lesson this week. One of the key points I picked up was literacy and vocabulary challenge that can face new Year 7 students. It’s not ‘next to’ or ‘below’, it’s to the west of or to the south of. The specialised vocabulary and associated understanding can be daunting for new Year 7 students, especially when you multiply that across 10 subjects. There is a recent article in Schools Week from the Florence Pope School in Macclesfield all about the transition challenge. Most schools focus on and get the pastoral transition right but the literacy transition can also prevent a smooth crossing from Year 6 to Year 7. For example you need background knowledge to fully understand: ‘As the desert sun climbs overhead, the kangaroo rat burrows deep in the sand’ (Willingham/Lemov).

I did the Six Word Story challenge with my Year 7 creative writing class this week. It focuses on the power of words. Hemmingway famously responded to the challenge with ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’. My class voted our winner to be ‘Coffin lid closes, she’s still alive!’. We will assess the level of literacy of our new students at Katherine Warington very early in Year 7 so we can offer extra support and stretch where needed.

I went to the Reach Free School in Rickmansworth this week. They have just moved in to their newly built school now they have full year groups and opened a Sixth Form. It was fascinating listening to some of the staff who had been there through the entire journey. I took a lot away from the visit. Reach have had a successful Ofsted and a strong first set of GCSE results and I thank the senior team for their time.

Tony Smith

This Week 12th November 2018

There has been a tremendous reaction to the school and a fantastic volume of applications to join us as our first students in Year 7 in September 2019. The main window for applications is now closed and HCC will organise notifying families on National Offer Day on March 1st 2019. We still welcome applications, but they will be treated as late by HCC and not included in the first round of offers. We will arrange an event around that time to welcome students who have been offered a place and inform others about the arrangements for the continued interest process.

I’m told that survey work on site is edging slightly ahead of schedule as the weather has been kind so far. I will have a timeline shortly for the first phase of the build and the full school build which I will publish on the website highlighting significant milestones as we progress.

This week I chaired a fantastic meeting with our curriculum group as we discussed the details of our curriculum at Keystage 3 and 4. The focus was our additional learning opportunity at the end of each day from 3.30pm to 4pm. A very strong feeling emerged that our extra learning opportunity (period 7) should focus on developing the skills which emerge from and feedback into the knowledge taught in subject periods in the school day. We won’t be able to confirm the range of our period 7 offer until recruitment is finalised but I’ve already had some approaches from people to offer their time on a voluntary basis and our intention is to offer a wide range of opportunities such as critical thinking, young engineer, book club etc. We also have some great suggestions from students and parents who attended our open day. I’ll develop an option process so that students can select their period 7 on a termly basis then rotate. Orchestra and team sports will sit outside the options process so they can be pursued all year where applicable.

Finally, I attended a very interesting talk from Paul Hannaford on Drug Awareness at Rothamsted this week. It was arranged by the Harpenden secondary schools (with some financial support from the local council). It was a graphic, no holds barred insight into the reality of drug use and abuse and its devastating impact on individuals, families and friends of addicts. Paul is a former addict who now spends his time delivering talks and programmes to young people and parents. You can find out more about Paul’s work on his website

This Week 29th October 2018

It’s been a really energising week. We can finally get our teeth into developing a curriculum in detail. Whilst we have the parameters of a timetable and subjects, what we will teach, in what sequence and why will we do it this way, is at the heart of any school. The curriculum gives the school its purpose. Sometimes schools can fall into the trap of narrowing their curriculum and then teachers are encouraged to teach to ‘the test’. There is a lively debate amongst educators as to the ideal curriculum – knowledge based or skills based, or are these intrinsically linked with no real value added by false categorisation? Also what is the thinking behind some schools moving disadvantaged students on to a stripped back curriculum, perpetuating their disadvantage? A strong curriculum in depth, breadth and reach is the starting point. A rich curriculum can deliver exam success provided it is implemented through well taught and appropriately sequenced content, thoughtfully designed assessment practice and an appropriate model of progression. So perhaps after the endless months of wrangling over the school being built, you can understand my delight at being able to move forward to discuss what we teach and when, how much depth at what stage and which subject ideas we will link together. Then we move on to what resources to allocate, which way to teach and how to make sure all students are able to access each new concept, construct or fact. We are designing a curriculum with clear intent, to be implemented consistently and which will continually evaluate the knowledge and skills students have gained against expectations.

I have also been developing the teacher recruitment arrangements for the new school. I find this far more energising than discussions about battery versus radio controlled clocks for classrooms! We have a list of potential teaching staff who have expressed their interest over the past months and we are beginning the process of contacting them as well as finalising the job specifications and personal specifications. Vacancy adverts will run just after Christmas for key teaching staff then I’ll begin support staff recruitment in the Spring. The logistics involved with observing candidates teaching Year 7 students could be a stretch but I intend to reach out to our partner secondary schools and see if I can run that aspect of the recruitment programme at their schools.

Finally DON’T MISS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE. It’s tomorrow, the 31st October. Make sure you aren’t haunted by the spectre of lost opportunity!

This week 20th October 2018

It has been an interesting week full of diverse issues.  We are at the stage of finalising the furniture, fixtures and equipment for the finished school (FF&E), so lots of conversations about the type of folding tables in the dining area, vinyl versus carpet in various parts of the school, radio controlled clocks versus battery clocks and whether the radio signal would actually work through the walls!

To continue reading please see the full article below:

New MP backs The Katherine Warington School

Bim Afolami, new MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, is delighted that Harpenden will soon have its first new secondary school for fifty years, and welcomes the appointment of its Founding Headteacher.

Bim said: “I completely support the opening of the Katherine Warington School in Harpenden as we clearly need it. I am particularly pleased that the new school is being sponsored by the other secondary schools in Harpenden as I believe that this will help ensure the success of the new school. I am delighted at the appointment of Tony Smith – currently Deputy Head at Roundwood Park – to be the Founding Headteacher, especially in light of his dedication to getting the school set up as its Project Manager. I look forward to meeting Tony in due course and to working with him over the coming years.”

The Katherine Warington School is set to take on year seven pupils from September 2018.

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

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.