Funding approved for Hertfordshire’s first carbon zero primary school

The funding will also be used to expand a school in Hemel Hempstead

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 1:25 pm

Councillors have given the green light to a £10.69million package of funding to increase the number of school places in Hertfordshire – opening the way for the county’s first purpose-built carbon zero primary school.

As part of the package, funding will be made available to expand Adeyfield School, in Hemel Hempstead – so that it can take an extra 30 pupils a year.

And it will also be used to create a new purpose-built primary school in Buntingford – designed to be a pilot for future school building in the county.

School stock image

The new two-form entry ‘first’ school is needed to meet the growing demand for school places in the area, where existing schools are full and demand is expected to increase.

And there are hopes that it could prove to be a blueprint for future school building in the county.

“This school will provide a pilot for Hertfordshire County Council as a net zero carbon school,” executive member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris told a meeting of the cabinet on Monday (June 15).

“And that will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness and potential outcomes of this approach, which recognises our commitment to climate change initiatives.”

Cllr Douris says that while the school may look like other schools in the county from the outside, elements within it would be ‘greener’.

That could, for example, he said, include elements such as ground heat pumps and solar panels – although no specifics have yet been decided.

And, he said, it would probably recognise that pupils needed to make their own way there, by walking, cycling and not using necessarily four-wheel transport.

The county council has already purchased the land for the 300-pupil school, which – subject to planning permission – could be open by September 2022.

And after that the project will be evaluated to inform the building – and funding – of future schools.

“It’s an opportunity for us,” said Cllr Douris told the cabinet.

“I stress it is pilot. We are able to do this and will be able to assess the outcome of it as we develop the schools across the piece.

“And of course looking 20 years hence we have got many many schools that we are going to have to build in Hertfordshire to educate out young people in this growing population.”

In part, funding for the new school will also come from developers, with £580,555 of Section 106 contributions earmarked for the project.

Meanwhile part of the agreed £10.69m funding will also be used to increase the number of pupils at Adeyfield School, in Hemel Hempstead.

Currently Adeyfield has five forms of entry – that’s 150 children in each year group. But this would increase that to six forms of entry, or 180 pupils.

Adeyfield School – which is an academy – will deliver the expansion project. And the county council would enter into a funding agreement with the academy.

Council leader Cllr David Williams said this would be “transformational” for the school.

Cllr Douris said the expansion of Adeyfield was an appropriate place to meet the growing demand for places in the area.

And he said it would bring it to the same size of surrounding schools – which already have six forms of entry.

At the meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Monday (June 15) the £10.69m funding for the expansion of Adeyfield School and the building of a new primary school in Buntingford was agreed.

The competition to find a sponsor to run the new first school, in Buntingford, will begin in September 2020.