A new head has been appointed to oversee two new free schools due to open in central and west Watford in September.

Helen Lockham has been unveiled as the executive principal of Ascot Road Community Free School and Watford Town Community Free School.

She is currently the head of St Andrew’s Cof E Voluntary Aided Primary School in Barnet, which received a "good" Ofsted rating after its last inspection.

Following the appointment, Ms Lockham said: "Starting two new free schools in Watford is an exciting challenge, and a new step in my career in primary education. My time in the teaching profession has taken me to many wonderful schools where I know that I have made a difference for children and local communities.

"I have been privileged to work in villages, towns and cities in different parts of England and Wales. I have worked in seven different schools to date: from a small, three class village primary school to a large, three form entry city primary school.

"I have always had a passion to provide the best possible education for all children."

The news comes as the organisation behind the two schools, the West Herts Community Free School Trust, announced construction on the Ascot Road school would start next month.

Watford Borough Council gave permission for the new school, which will be built next to Morrisons, earlier this month.

It had been originally hoped that the school would be open for this September. However, the 60 new pupils will start at the Lanchester building, on the West Herts College site.

The building is being used for the trust’s other school, the Watford Town Community Free School, which will also have an intake of 60 pupils in September.

The trust said transport will be provided for Ascot Road pupils who live outside of the statutory walking distance.

John Harris, the chairman of the West Herts Trust, said: "We are delighted to have received planning permission from Watford Borough Council and look forward with excitement to seeing it built over the next 12 months."

The trust said the refurbishment of the Lanchester Building is on track for completion in August and it would be ready for the combined 120 pupils starting in September.