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.