Croxley Green School "could be open in September 2016"

Watford Observer: Educational consultant Norman Hoare, St Clement Danes School headteacher Josephine Valentine and development director Sarah Kitt Educational consultant Norman Hoare, St Clement Danes School headteacher Josephine Valentine and development director Sarah Kitt

A new school proposed for Croxley Green will help tackle the "enormity of the need" for student places in Three Rivers and Watford, according to the headteacher spearheading the campaign.

St Clement Danes School, in Chenies Road, in Chorleywood, is leading the bid to build a free school in Baldwins Lane.

Josephine Valentine, headteacher of St Clement Danes, said she was approached by Hertfordshire County Council during the autumn term to be a sponsor for the proposed secondary school, which will look to open in September 2016.

The school, which is planned to be built on a horses field in Baldwins Lane, will be six form entry, with an intake of 180 pupils.

Dr Valentine has been headteacher of St Clement Danes School, which has been judged by Ofsted to be "outstanding", since 1998.

She said: "We were thrilled that Hertfordshire County Council came to us.

"It was a surprise and it was not something I saw on the horizon. I did think about it and I thought that this is something we could do to make a difference."

Dr Valentine said that the proposed Croxley Green School intends to work with The Reach Free School, in Tolpits Lane, to tackle the "significant shortfall" of school places.

She added: "We looked at the statistics and we were quite frightened by the enormity of the need in the area.

"What is absolutely top of our priority is demographic need. We don’t want to set up competition with any other schools."

Dr Valentine said representatives from St Clement Danes School visited 55 primary schools across Watford and Three Rivers to see if there is a need for another secondary school in the area.

She said that she was "pleasantly overwhelmed by the support" that the project has received from primary school headteachers.

Norman Hoare, an educational consultant who has been working with Dr Valentine, said the school will have to submit a bid to the Department for Education by September.

Mr Hoare added: "We are aware of the enormity of our task but we would not be doing this if we weren’t confident that we could do this. I know the energy that is here and that is what the project requires.

He explained: "The general consensus amongst the primary school headteachers was relief. They know the pressure and they were relieved because it will reduce that pressure."

He added: "There is an urgency and 2016 is not far away in terms of educational planning and I think it’s a very worrying time for parents who have got children in primary schools."

Dr Valentine said that prospective Croxley Green School pupils will not be subjected to academic tests in order to gain entry.

Rather, the school will be looking at where children live and whether there is a sibling link.

Proposals are that the school will be built on the Baldwins Lane site, which recently had its Green Belt status stripped.

Watford Observer:

Dr Valentine said: "Everything to do with the land in Baldwins Lane has been to do with Hertfordshire County Council. We have no control over that.

"Our area is the educational improvement and sponsorship of the school and the success of the secondary school. We will stay with it as long as possible to make it successful by training teachers and providing leadership."

Dr Valentine said that the site is "ideal" for the school, due to its location near the Three Rives and Watford border.

The next step for the team spearheading the bid is to gauge how much parental support there is for the scheme.

St Clement Danes School will be distributing parental support surveys over the coming months across Three Rivers and Watford as they need at least 90 year three and 90 year four parents to state that the Croxley Green School would be their first choice for providing education to their children.

Dr Valentine said: "If the parents don’t want it then I really don’t want to do it."

She added: "I’m really excited about it because it’s going to be a really good school and I think it’s going to be a school that parents will want to send their children to."

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Comments (8)

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5:44pm Fri 14 Feb 14

crazyfrog says...

Should there not be a public investigation as to why the powers that be decided to close down and sell off the land of at least three secondary schools in the area in the past few decades?, unless you can learn from past mistakes made then there is no point in building new schools to only have some bean counting government try and sell them again in a couple of years! Somebody needs to be held to account for the downright shortsighted penny pinching attitude that we have seen in them school closures.
Should there not be a public investigation as to why the powers that be decided to close down and sell off the land of at least three secondary schools in the area in the past few decades?, unless you can learn from past mistakes made then there is no point in building new schools to only have some bean counting government try and sell them again in a couple of years! Somebody needs to be held to account for the downright shortsighted penny pinching attitude that we have seen in them school closures. crazyfrog

11:20pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Green Gal says...

So the fact that there are already 10 secondary schools within a 2 mile radius of the WD3 postcode means nothing.... How about these schools take in 'local' pupils instead of ones from Harrow, amersham, Bushey etc and in the process, protect this immensely important parcel of land which is the only thing preventing urban sprawl from Watford in to Croxley Green.
So the fact that there are already 10 secondary schools within a 2 mile radius of the WD3 postcode means nothing.... How about these schools take in 'local' pupils instead of ones from Harrow, amersham, Bushey etc and in the process, protect this immensely important parcel of land which is the only thing preventing urban sprawl from Watford in to Croxley Green. Green Gal

12:16am Sat 15 Feb 14

clinker123 says...

Dr Valentine is totally focused on the need of the sprawl of the demands of Watford and Three Rivers. What about the local residents of Croxley Green who will have to live with the extension of Watford into Croxley Green, which is an easy option. The obvious choice is to plan ahead and build a school in Maple Cross. The alternative is a continuation of the negative erosion by building in an already overcrowded area. As usual, I doubt if Dr Valentine will have to live with the Crossrail extension and the development of a school which will provide places for those mainly outside Croxley Green.
Dr Valentine is totally focused on the need of the sprawl of the demands of Watford and Three Rivers. What about the local residents of Croxley Green who will have to live with the extension of Watford into Croxley Green, which is an easy option. The obvious choice is to plan ahead and build a school in Maple Cross. The alternative is a continuation of the negative erosion by building in an already overcrowded area. As usual, I doubt if Dr Valentine will have to live with the Crossrail extension and the development of a school which will provide places for those mainly outside Croxley Green. clinker123

6:55am Sat 15 Feb 14

Animall98 says...

How many children will not be English born or outside immigrants,
Once again we bend over to help those who are taking advantage if our system,non English born should pay for our education system,
Would you be happy if your child lost out to a eastern european child
How many children will not be English born or outside immigrants, Once again we bend over to help those who are taking advantage if our system,non English born should pay for our education system, Would you be happy if your child lost out to a eastern european child Animall98

7:12am Sat 15 Feb 14

cgpc Rob says...

Mrs Valentine was surprised, not as much as residents or myself as a CGPCllr that this land has been touted around by HCC.

Were our Herts County Cllr S Drury and TRDCllrs of which two are on CGPC aware of this situation!
Mrs Valentine was surprised, not as much as residents or myself as a CGPCllr that this land has been touted around by HCC. Were our Herts County Cllr S Drury and TRDCllrs of which two are on CGPC aware of this situation! cgpc Rob

9:06pm Mon 17 Feb 14

martin grant says...

Regarding this proposed `new` school. The amazing thing is the farmer, whose family have rented this land fron London Transport now Transport for London for over 70years has never once been contacted as to what is going on.
Where is our Parish Councillors? They should be getting involved in this fiasco. H.C.C according to Dr. Valentine offered her the site last Autumn yet the Government Inspector only erased `the green belt` status on the land just over three weeks ago. Also why was there no consultion with the local residents? It would seem our local Parish Councillors are more concerned with putting beer soaked bread on trees then singing to them.
Regarding this proposed `new` school. The amazing thing is the farmer, whose family have rented this land fron London Transport now Transport for London for over 70years has never once been contacted as to what is going on. Where is our Parish Councillors? They should be getting involved in this fiasco. H.C.C according to Dr. Valentine offered her the site last Autumn yet the Government Inspector only erased `the green belt` status on the land just over three weeks ago. Also why was there no consultion with the local residents? It would seem our local Parish Councillors are more concerned with putting beer soaked bread on trees then singing to them. martin grant

9:38pm Mon 17 Feb 14

cgpc Rob says...

CGPC can only get involved once they are informed and it is on an agenda, what they could have done and failed is to have an agenda item under the heading Current Update of proposed school within Croxley Green, this could have been on evey monthly meeting but wasn't,as CGPC generally fail, look at the Local Producers Market and Queens Jubilee Tree, which is now classified as dead as CGPC failed to ensure after care and that the rangers watered it with their bowser which can be filled up with rainwater at the offices.

The Local Producers Market, meant to have one, set the date, paid £140 for a full page ad in My Croxley I attended the meeting the Thurs before the LPM should have been held, it was being run by two Cllrs, the chair being one, he failed to inform us that the LPM had been cancelled as he was expecting 25 stall holders but only 3, yes three showed interest, still went ahead and spent residents monies.

Contact your parish cllr and ask them.
CGPC can only get involved once they are informed and it is on an agenda, what they could have done and failed is to have an agenda item under the heading Current Update of proposed school within Croxley Green, this could have been on evey monthly meeting but wasn't,as CGPC generally fail, look at the Local Producers Market and Queens Jubilee Tree, which is now classified as dead as CGPC failed to ensure after care and that the rangers watered it with their bowser which can be filled up with rainwater at the offices. The Local Producers Market, meant to have one, set the date, paid £140 for a full page ad in My Croxley I attended the meeting the Thurs before the LPM should have been held, it was being run by two Cllrs, the chair being one, he failed to inform us that the LPM had been cancelled as he was expecting 25 stall holders but only 3, yes three showed interest, still went ahead and spent residents monies. Contact your parish cllr and ask them. cgpc Rob

7:02pm Tue 4 Mar 14

retiredhack says...

clinker123 has it spot-on. The pretence that any democratic process has been involved in consultations has been blown out of the water with the revelation that Dr Valentine was approached several months ago to head the planning team and requisite funds made available. Her expertise is thrown open to question when she describes the Baldwins Lane site as "ideal", since the County Council described it as "the least unfavourable site". Maple Cross was always a better site, while South Oxhey has been crying out for a new secondary school. We are entitled to suspect a conspiracy between TFL and the County Council, while the silence of the South West Herts MP, David Gauke, unable to disprove David Cameron's lie over the integrrity of Green Belt land, has simply confirmed the death knell of local democracy.
clinker123 has it spot-on. The pretence that any democratic process has been involved in consultations has been blown out of the water with the revelation that Dr Valentine was approached several months ago to head the planning team and requisite funds made available. Her expertise is thrown open to question when she describes the Baldwins Lane site as "ideal", since the County Council described it as "the least unfavourable site". Maple Cross was always a better site, while South Oxhey has been crying out for a new secondary school. We are entitled to suspect a conspiracy between TFL and the County Council, while the silence of the South West Herts MP, David Gauke, unable to disprove David Cameron's lie over the integrrity of Green Belt land, has simply confirmed the death knell of local democracy. retiredhack

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