Harperbury Free School
Radlett, Herts

Frequently Asked Questions

28 March 2014

What are the timescales for staff recruitment?

We have appointed a Head and Deputy. The Head is currently in post and the Deputy will start in the summer of 2015. See staff.

We have also recruited a subject leader in humanities.

We will be recruiting subject leaders in maths, science and languages during the autumn term of 2014, and part-time teachers of PE, music, art and drama/dance in the spring term 2015.

We will recruit a Bursar in the spring term 2015, and learning mentors, administrators, site and kitchen staff in the summer term 2015.

If you feel you would like to work for us, take a look at the job vacancies page, bearing in mind that we will be recruiting every year for the next six years.


28 March 2014

In what way will Harperbury be different?

Starting from scratch allows a school to create the ideal curriculum, staff structure and building to suit needs, unencumbered by past practice.

Harperbury will meet the learning needs of every single child, no matter what their starting point. This will involve very flexible use of pupil groupings and will include individual learning at times. Technology will be used throughout our learning and every teacher and pupil will use a tablet computer regularly.

Our ground-breaking curriculum will build the skills of all pupils, to ensure that they are independent and resilient learners as well as effective workers. All pupils will undertake real world tasks: these are project based and use the skills and knowledge acquired in subject lessons to find a creative solution to a real world problem. These tasks will be set by our external partners (businesses, charities, etc), and the tasks will culminate in a project exhibition seen by parents, local residents as well as the external partners.

Our longer school day allows a full programme of enrichment activities as well as prep to be done at school.

Our staff are all new, energetic and creative with a full commitment to our holistic approach to learning.

The education your child will receive at Harperbury will be exciting, rigorous and second to none.

See curriculum.


28 March 2014

Why did the school not open in 2014?

The purchase of the site is a complex process and is handled by the Education Funding Agency. Our chosen site, the former Harperbury Hospital had a range of complex issues and so the negotiations were delayed.

Another site, the Parkbury Industrial Estate, was offered instead, but the governors felt that this was unsuitable and dangerous and could not agree to it.

In previous years free schools were permitted to open in temporary accommodation before the permanent site was secured, but a policy was introduced in 2014 which stopped this from happening. The Schools Minister, Lord Nash, therefore made the decision to defer the opening of the School until 2015. A vigorous campaign was launched by parents and local MPs and governors approached the ministers personally, but this decision was upheld. There was, however, a firm commitment to opening the School in 2015.


17 September 2013

Will the school hours / days differ from other schools?

The school holidays will be the same as other state schools in Hertfordshire, in line with feedback from parents who said that it would be too disruptive to have different term dates with siblings at more than one school. INSET days may be different.

The school day will be longer than most schools – 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, although the later start will be phased in over two terms for Year 7. School will finish at 3:00 on Fridays. See the working day.


17 September 2013

What will the curriculum consist of?

Students will study all the traditional academic, arts and sports you would expect to find in a secondary school and there will be high expectations of academic rigour and success at every stage. Our pupils will take GCSEs and A-levels in line with other schools. See the section on curriculum.

Additionally on their timetable will be real world tasks. These lessons will be project based, allowing them to use the skills and knowledge they have acquired that term to complete a large-scale real world project. We will work with local area partners (businesses, charities, wildlife trusts, etc) who will come into school and set tasks or will host our students in the workplace to find out how to resolve real-life problems. At the end of each term will be a project exhibition so that our local area partners can assess their work. Parents and local residents can also come to celebrate their success. High stakes means high engagement!

See curriculum.


17 September 2013

What transport provisions will there be?

Clearly the answer to this question will depend on the final location of both temporary sites.

However, assuming that we will be in or near the Harperbury site, there are already good local bus services from Shenley, London Colney, Borehamwood etc. We will liaise with bus companies to ensure good drop-off and pick up points for the school.

For areas such as Park Street and Bricket Wood we will look at the demand and if it is viable we may be able to set up a dedicated school bus service, possibly subsidised through sponsorship.

See location, facilities and transport.


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