Steel frame for the Sports Centre
It has been rather hectic since half-term when I accompanied some Yr12 students to Russia on a Roundwood Park trip. The students were an absolute credit to themselves and the school and a delight to share time with (I have to say that in case any of them managed to smuggle any photos of me on stage with a traditional Russian folk dancing troupe!).
In the last couple of weeks we have recruited more teaching staff as the new Heads of maths, English and science added to their departments. Our appointees are exceptionally talented and come with many additional skills in geography, history, drama, Mandarin, FA coaching, netball and hockey to name a few.
The Funding Agreement is now signed, ensuring that Katherine Warington School opens in September 2019 and National Offer Day saw all the available places allocated to local Year 6 students. The Continued Interest list will see two further recruitment runs as parents make their final decisions for the September intake. Further information regarding Continued Interest is available under the APPLICATIONS section of the website.
I met Terry Douris on the site of KWS for some promotional photos last week. Terry holds the Education portfolio for Hertfordshire County Council and has been a supporter of the project, recognising the need for local secondary school places. We were taken to the highest point of the 47 acre development in a 4×4. It was the kind of off-roading experience people pay good money for. The steel structure for the sports centre is already up, water attenuation pond dug and the student courtyard cut out in the centre of the school (this is where the outdoor table tennis tables, giant chess set, basketball hoops and picnic benches will be located).
Finally, we held our Taster Lesson morning on Saturday 2nd March when students and their parents met the new staff and got a feel for what we aim to achieve at the Katherine Warington School. It was a great event for me, being able to meet our students and introduce the teaching team – it’s a real milestone. I can’t wait to hold further events with the KWS parents so their voice is fully heard in our development. Click Here for photos.
Over 150 students attended the two sessions, selecting to learn in either a maths/computing, English or science lesson. All the students contributed hand and finger paint prints to build the KWS logo mural which will be displayed on the hoarding surrounding the school build on the Lower Luton Road.
It was a fantastic morning and great to welcome so many enthusiastic students and parents and introduce them to the team of teachers who will be teaching at the school when we open in September.
Below is a selection of photos from the morning.
Following on from our successful Open Morning on Saturday (it was great to see so many of you there!), we wanted to clarify a few questions that have arisen around the admissions process. We apologise for the complications, but because we couldn’t be part of the co-ordinated admissions process, it threw up some anomalies.
1. If I accept KWS, but a place then becomes available at one of my Continuing Interest (CI) schools, will I automatically lose my KWS place?
Yes, if you have schools on your CI list, you will automatically lose your KWS place if a place becomes available at one of those. If you want KWS, you need to accept it and opt-out of the CI list for all other schools.
2. How do I get onto the Continuing Interest list for KWS?
By Friday 8th March, you must make an application through the Herts admissions online application system or complete the paper form on page 9 of the ‘What Can You Do Now’ leaflet to go onto the waiting list for KWS. It is not automatic. If you don’t do this, you will not be on our list for Round 1 of the continuing interest process.
3. I am Out of County, how do I ensure I am on the Continuing Interest list for KWS?
You must go through your own local authority, e.g. Central Beds, or Luton. You need to add it to your list of preferences through your online login, or complete the relevant form to change your preferences. This must be done by Friday 8th March. You don’t need to contact Herts. Central Beds and Luton are adding KWS to their systems today.
These are the slides shown at the Taster Morning on Saturday 2nd March 2019. If you could not make the event then please take time to look through them as they contain important information such as the school calendar from September through to August 2020.
Pictures from the morning will be posted shortly.
I had the most glorious week last week interviewing and appointing 4 leaders of our core subjects. The fields for Head of maths, science, English and SENCo were exceptionally strong. I am very happy to say that the successful candidates were as delighted to accept the position as I was to offer it to them. They are all experienced teachers who have worked and /or lived in the area for several years. They are:
Grace Aikman – Head of English
Zoe Coomber – Head of maths
Sarah Creamer – Head of science
Amy Francis – SENCo
I will post a short profile of each of them on our website shortly. Students and parents have an opportunity to meet them and several members of our governing body at our Taster Lesson Morning on Saturday 2nd March. The Taster Morning runs in two sessions from either 9.30am to 11am or 11.30am to 1pm. Students sign up for their choice of an hour long lesson in English, science or maths and computing. As well as that, we will be asking students to help us draw a giant mural and sign their contribution. This will then take pride of place on the fencing on our new school site, along the Lower Luton Road, for the duration of the build. Parents won’t be left out though. I’m trying to arrange for a 3D walk through of the new build for you (we are all kids, just some of us are bigger than others!). There will also be a presentation from our admissions expert regarding accepting an offer of a place and how the continued interest provision is managed by HCC.
So sign up. More details on the website www.kwschool.co.uk
Kier issued their most recent update on the construction recently. Go to
Now we turn our attention to appointing further teaching staff in our core subjects with the Heads of Department contributing to the appointment panel as they build their teams. This is phase two of our recruitment process. This will take us up to the end of February. Further teaching staff will be recruited in March and then we will be looking for support staff across all fields from pastoral, finance and catering to cover supervisors and student support staff. Watch our website and TeachInHerts for details.
I would like to invite you and your Year 6 child, to attend a learning morning on Saturday 2nd March at Roundwood Park Primary and Secondary School. There will be activities designed to inspire learning and enjoyment and give your year 6 child a feel of what it will be like to be a student at Katherine Warington.
This week has been taken up by two main events. The first has been preparing for our first group of interviews for staff and the second was a two-day conference with New School Network.
We have received a fantastic response to our advertised positions in our first stage of recruitment for Heads of maths, English, science and SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). A team of us have scrutinised the applications and selected a shortlist to go forward to interview. It is quite a task as we are not only selected based on teaching excellence, subject knowledge and the ability to lead and develop a core department but also the fact that these recruits will be joining me to lead the development of the school. In the team where Together Everyone Achieves More, there has to be a shared view on what is to be achieved! So without giving too much away, the interview process and questions are not just aimed at competencies and capabilities but teasing out people’s values and seeing if they align with ours.
Added to this is the practicality of how to stage such interviews. No school, no students, no other staff! A fundamental part is seeing the candidates teach and getting student feedback through a student panel. I am so grateful that we are part of a Trust with three schools who are driven by solid values of co-operation and community. Our candidates will teach at one of the three schools and face a student panel from each, thanks to the kindness of the other schools. I have faced several student panels and there is always at least one question that throws you – like “What is your favourite biscuit and why?”. I have, to date, resisted the temptation as an economist to wax lyrical about Jaffa Cakes (biscuit or cake and the VAT implications of the answer to that!).
New School Network is a charity, set up in 2009 with the aim of supporting new schools as they set up and open. The Department for Education is keen for all new schools to engage with each other to benefit from shared experiences and the New School Network is ideal for that. So the two-day conference had a variety of speakers including Mela Watts, director of the DfE Free Schools Group, Lord Agnew, Under Secretary of State for the Schools System and several Heads from existing and successful new schools who had opened their doors in the last 5 years. It was a great opportunity to learn and network. In a room of about 100 people, I was the only one to raise my hand to the question “who is opening a school in September and is not part of a MAT or Academy chain?”. Splendid isolation though, as much a theme in today’s politics as it was for Lord Salisbury, isn’t quite true. With SJL, St George’s and Roundwood (plus the University of Herts and Rothamsted), Katherine Warington School may be a newborn but we are from excellent stock.
Finally, I’m in the process of working with Kier to set up some time lapse photography from the site as the build develops. Another source of regular site updates is the Kier KWS Project page at
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.