2019/20 Annual Report

The initial opening of Katherine Warington School in September was welcomed as, for the first time in many years, there should be no need for children from Harpenden having to travel outside the town for their secondary education.


Our excellent primary as well as secondary schools today provide second-to-none education preparing our young people for a fulfilling place in the world.


Students from all age ranges in Harpenden have joined together to make their voices heard – peacefully – on the crucial issue of climate change, sending a message to MP Bim Afolami, via school delegations to Downing Street and Westminster, and to the wider community . Their message is that action must be taken, to which end they are organising talks to schools by environmental experts. A ‘Green Leaders' programme has been established for sixth form students, drawn from our four secondary schools, with the aim of getting climate change and related environmental issues across to younger children, including those attending the town's primary schools.


Chris Armitage

Katherine Warington School

The Harpenden Society Welcomes the Plan for a New Secondary School

Formal rejection on the 25th September 2018, of the appeal against the judicial review which had been sought by ‘Right School, Right Place' objectors, has cleared the way for building to begin on the new Katherine Warington secondary ‘free' school, on the Green Belt site at Common Lane, Batford. The Department for Education and the appointed contractors Kier are said to be working towards a construction start-up in late November.


The initial objective is for a 180-place school ‘for six forms of entry at year 7' to be ready in September 2019 - albeit twelve months later than originally projected. Its classrooms will be accommodated in the first school building to be completed, which will become the school sports hall when the whole development is ready for occupation - by the target date of August 2020.


At a massively well-attended open day for prospective parents and pupils held in Rothamsted's Fowden Hall in early October, the school's aims and aspirations, spelled out in the Autumn 2017 Harpenden Society newsletter, were reaffirmed by head teacher designate Tony Smith.


Particular emphasis was placed on the matter of access to the school, sited at the busy junction of Lower Luton Road and Common Lane, where the potential for serious traffic congestion at school morning arrival and afternoon departure times, has had to be addressed.


Accordingly, the school authorities have come forward  with detailed proposals aimed at making it easier and  safer for as many pupils as possible to get to and from the new school without their having to be ‘chauffeured' by car, typically by their parents.


At no less than 22 locations in Harpenden, on routes likely to be taken by pupils and/or parents, walking or cycling, modifications to existing road and footpath infrastructure are proposed, necessarily requiring budget allocation from Herts County Council.


Notable examples include: a suggested lowering of current speed limits, from 40 to 30mph and 30 to 20mph on Lower Luton Road and Crabtree Lane; additional bus-stops near the school; zebra, toucan or puffin pedestrian crossings at strategic points on busier roads near the school; ‘pedestrian dropped kerbs and tactile paving' (benefiting parents with push chairs, and minimising trip risks); enlargement of the mini-roundabout at Station Road/Lower Luton Road junction ‘to increase its capacity'; footbridge improvement over River Lea from Crabtree lane, with better street lighting.