Francis Combe Academy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Francis Combe Academy
Francis Combe Academy Logo.jpg
Motto "Transforming Lives Through Learning"
Established 2009
Type academy
Principal Debbie Warwick
Location Horseshoe Lane
WD25 7HW
England England Coordinates: 51°41′52″N 0°23′32″W / 51.6977°N 0.3922°W / 51.6977; -0.3922
Local authority Hertfordshire
DfE URN 135876 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1050
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Rowling, Brunel, Curie and Turing
Colours Orange      Black     

West Herts College

University of Hertfordshire

Francis Combe Academy is an academy in Garston, on the northern outskirts of Watford, Hertfordshire, UK.[1] The academy opened on 1 September 2009, replacing Francis Combe School and Community College. It is co-sponsored by West Herts College and the University of Hertfordshire.

In June 2012 Ofsted visited the academy and judged the academy as satisfactory. Inspectors said "The Academy has improved significantly in the last 12 months and attainment is rising." Inspectors also commented on how "Overall achievement has improved significantly since the academy opened." As well as that Inspectors said attendance has risen, how the academy has secured an effective curriculum and how current Sixth form provision is good. Ofsted believe that academy's capacity to improve is good.

GCSE results for the academy have risen year-on-year since the academy's establishment in 2009. In August 2012 53% of students gained 5 A*-C GCSEs in their GCSEs.

In September 2012 the academy moved into their £25 million new building.


The school opened in 1954 as Francis Combe School a secondary modern school. It was named after Francis Combe (or Combes), a Hemel Hempstead landowner who founded a charity school in Watford in 1651, with a bequest of £10 per annum.[2][3] It became the first comprehensive in Watford in 1966.[4] Its intake is well below national averages in attainment and parental income, and it has had some of the lowest results in the county for several years. However results and attendance have improved significantly since the arrival of a new headteacher in April 2006. [5]

In February 2008, the school was given permission to explore becoming an academy, sponsored by West Herts College and the University of Hertfordshire. The academy opened in September 2009, specialising in English, art and media.[6][7] In 2011 the four old houses, Esher, Matisse, Kandinsky, and Picasso where replaced by Brunel, Turing, Curie, and Rowling.

When the Academy launched in 2009 following the transformation from Francis Combe School to academy leadership was provided by the previous head teacher Nicky Williams. After two years leading the academy Nicky left to teach in Africa leaving deputy Principal Debbie Warwick as Acting Principal between September 2010 until January 2011. Leo Gilbert, a Vice Principal from The Harris Academy Merton, took permanent office at the academy from January 2011. Under Leo's leadership the academy achieved its best ever GCSE results and faced a complete restructuring of procedures and staffing. Leo Gilbert left the academy in June 2013 and Debbie Warwick took over as Acting Principal thereafter.


One of the many benefits of becoming an Academy was the substantial amount of money that was invested in new and refurbished buildings and facilities. The Francis Combe Academy rebuild began in June 2010, and was completed in August 2012. The rebuild cost just under £25 million. All of the academy's buildings were rebuilt except for the English and Humanities block which was built in 2001. However, it was completely refurbished as a part of the rebuild programme. The Academy also benefits from a multi-use games area which was built. [8]


  1. ^ "Francis Combe School and Community College". Hertfordshire County Council. Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-08-20. 
  2. ^ Samuel Lewis (ed.) (1848). "Watford (St. Mary)". A Topographical Dictionary of England (7th edition ed.). p. 486. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  3. ^ William Page (ed.) (1908). "Hemel Hempstead". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 215–230. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  4. ^ "About the School". Francis Combe School and Community College. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  5. ^ "Francis Combe School and Community College". Office for Standards in Education. February 2007. 
  6. ^ "Francis Combe succeeds in their bid to become an academy". Francis Combe School and Community College. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  7. ^ "Academy programme to be further accelerated with lower set up costs as part of a new 'National Challenge' programme" (Press release). Department for Children, Schools and Families. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  8. ^ "The Rebuild". Francis Combe Academy. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 

External links[edit]