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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