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Any Harpenden locals? Views on new secondary school?

(8 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

MoveConfused Thu 29-Aug-19 11:45:52

We’re looking to move to the area and need to think about secondary schools. DH likes a house in an area where the new school would be our nearest school. I like it too but I think that’s a bit risky from a school point of view. I don’t know enough about the history other than that there’s a need for more school places in the south part of town and villages. Would appreciate any local views. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
Cherrysoup Thu 29-Aug-19 11:59:04

St George’s? You’d be very lucky to get in there.

MoveConfused Thu 29-Aug-19 12:21:54

Was thinking more about trying to move near Roundwood Park school or Sir John Lawes. I know it’s hard though! Just wondering what locals thought of the new Katherine Warrington school that opens this year. Not quite sure what I think about joining a school in the future that will only have been open for a year or two (DC still at primary now) - can see the pros and cons.

OP’s posts: |
JoMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 31-Aug-19 14:16:13

Hi, we're moving this thread over to our Secondary Education topic at the OP's request.

BrownSauceOfCourse Sun 01-Sep-19 15:41:07

For what it's worth, I think they will throw everything at the new school to ensure it will succeed.

The new KWS Head is currently Deputy Head at RPS, the new Head of English is part of the SJL SLT, the new Head of Science is the SJL Assistant Head of Science, the Trustees include the Heads of RPS, SJL and St Georges, and there is partnership with University of Hertfordshire and Rothamsted Research.

My son will be going to KWS as one of the 'founding' pupils and I have mixed feelings about it as someone born and bred in Harpenden - it's quite galling that my children are unable to get places in existing schools in the town in which they live. However, that aside, I know of several people who have had the choice to send their child to RPS or SJL who have actively chosen KWS instead.

You will find many people in Harpenden opposed to the site of the school, and the building work that is currently going on (the school won't be ready for the first Y7 cohort until 30 September, mainly because of the delays due to various legal challenges the opposers had to the location), but I suspect most of those people weren't in the position I and many others were of no other school place being offered.

We shall see what the future brings, but so far the Head is saying and doing all of the right things, and I think my son will benefit from being one of 180 rather than one of 1200 or more.

You could look at buying somewhere close to both SJL and KWS which would give you a better chance of a choice between the two when you need to make the decision, but with the continued development of what seems like every spare scrap of land into more housing, there's no guarantee that in 2 or 3 years you'd get into SJL unless you actually live within a very small radius.

BubblesBuddy Sun 01-Sep-19 16:06:17

The new free school very close to where my mum lives in Bucks still appears unfinished after 2 years. The building is what my DH describes as a “shed” (a warehouse) and it’s desperately uninspiring. The special school nearby that’s run by the County Council is wonderful and well designed. The free school is still approached by a weed infested drive with hardly any decent outside sports space. It’s pretty poor and money certainly hasn’t been thrown at it!

The exam results (first cohort this year) were decent as it’s in a grammar area, but music, drama and sport are very average. If I had to walk up through the grounds every day, I would be very dispirited! I hope your school doesn’t drag its feet like this one has.

Any new small secondary really suffers from not having older DC and seeing what older DC can achieve. Younger DC do benefit from aspiring to what the older DC can do and the music, drama and sport is invariably limited.

MoveConfused Tue 03-Sep-19 08:11:49

Thanks @BrownSauceOfCourse that’s all very helpful and good to know. For what it’s worth, several of my child’s friends are moving (we are in/near a bit of a school black hole ourselves) to be near a school that started 10 years ago that has become extremely sought after, and hopefully this will go the same way!

OP’s posts: |
MoveConfused Tue 03-Sep-19 08:13:54

Thanks too for your points @BubblesBuddy. The latter points are perhaps what I’m concerned about, but the school is being set up by the council in conjunction with other local schools so hoping that is something that can be overcome.

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