The Hertfordshire and Essex High School

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The Hertfordshire & Essex High School
Herts+Essex logo resize.png
Motto SIC ITUR AD ASTRA (Reach for the Stars)
Established 1909
Type Foundation Comprehensive
Headteacher Mrs. Cathy Tooze
Location Warwick Road
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 5NJ
England Coordinates: 51°52′04″N 0°10′16″E / 51.8677°N 0.1711°E / 51.8677; 0.1711
Local authority Hertfordshire
DfE URN 117592 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1150
Gender Girls (Sixth Form is Coeducational)
Ages 11–18
Houses Astra (new 2014), Ford (historical now ceased), Castle, Forest, Lea, Seaxe, Hart

The Hertfordshire and Essex High School and since 2004 named as The Hertfordshire & Essex High School and Science College, commonly referred as Herts and Essex is a secondary level comprehensive single-sex school and a mixed-sex sixth form on Warwick Road in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England.[1]


It was opened as The Bishop's Stortford Secondary School for Girls in 1910, the school was built to have an intake of around 120 fee-paying students, at the time of opening it was run by both the counties of Hertfordshire and Essex and therefore it later changed its name to the Hertfordshire and Essex Girls' High School. It then became a comprehensive in the 1970s when the school was renamed again to its current name The Hertfordshire and Essex High School.

When the outbreak of the The Second World War in 1939, thousands of London children were evacuated to the relative safety of the countryside, many finding themselves in Bishop’s Stortford. Pupils from Clapton County Secondary School for Girls in Hackney, East London, were specifically sent here to be educated at this school. But with few teachers and little space, local children were taught in the mornings and London children in the afternoons.[2]

During its 100 year history the school has changed significantly with many new buildings being added to the original Edwardian School House to allow for just under 10 times the amount of students it had in 1910. Between 2000 and 2004 the school received a large redevelopment which included new IT suites, refectory, sports facilities, dance studio and Sixth Form Common Room. The project involved the refurbishment of the Edwardian schoolhouse, plus a new build teaching block and sports facilities.[3]


The school does a lot of fund raising, for many different charities. Its partner school is Eden High School in Uganda.


The uniform is a knee length brown skirt and a brown pin-striped blouse. From September 2013 all students starting in year seven have to wear the new uniform, the same skirt before but now unpleated. A cream button-up blouse and blazer, now with no outside pockets, instead there are loads of pockets inside. From September 2015 all students then in years 7,8 and 9 will have to adhere, year eleven will not have to change. From September 2010 all Sixth Form students were required to adhere to a new dress code of business wear, before this there was no uniform for the Sixth Form.

The school is very high in test results and most girls who come out of the school have a very good education.

The girls are also very into music and art, and the teachers work very hard to make sure the pupils are involved in their fair share of activities and competitions.

The school is very popular and has a very high level of achievement.

The Ofsted January 2009 report had a lot to say about the school's extra-curricular activities, for instance that "there are wide and varied opportunities for enrichment activities, particularly in music, drama, art and sport", and that "the personal development and well being of the students are outstanding." The school was awarded an 'Outstanding' grade overall.

On 8 October 2008, The Hertfordshire & Essex High School in Bishops Stortford received the prestigious International School Award. (Renewed in 2011) The school was awarded for its outstanding work in bringing the wider world into the classroom though its range of international projects, including its partnership work with a high achieving school in China and exciting forthcoming student exchange, as well as its continuing extensive work with partner schools in Germany and Uganda.


"The Hertfordshire & Essex High School is an outstanding school with an outstanding sixth form"- Ofsted report 2009.

The school is for girls only between the ages of 11 and 16 and has a co-educational sixth form for boys and girls. From 2004, the school has had Science College Status. From 2008, the school has had 'Leadership partner school status'. The school was successful in its bid to become one of the first hundred Teaching Schools in the UK. It has since been involved in system wide support with a local secondary comprehensive.

The school has a good reputation for education and sports are competitive, especially for the sixth form. The school boasts strong teams in a variety of sports. It also boasts very high musical talents in all years.

In 2011 95% of students achieved 5 A* - C passes inc. English and Mathematics which was the fourth highest for any comprehensive school in the country (Daily Telegraph).

The headteacher is Ms Cathy Tooze who has been in post since 2009 and has seen a steady increase in results. She is assisted by a dynamic senior leadership team including Mrs Emma Kirkham, Mr David Grant, Mr Richard Vaughan, Mrs Melanie Seward, Mrs Sally House, Mrs Jane Bennett, Mrs Ann Macrae and Mrs Nichola Christopher. Cathy Tooze is a national leader of education and is an experienced Headteacher having led a very successful school in Suffolk previously. David Grant has been in post since 2007 and has presented at national conferences for the National College for School Leadership. He is an SLE and is responsible for the curriculum. He has overseen the development of the faculty review structure in place since 2010. Emma Kirkham joined in 2010 from Fortismere School, Haringey and is an Ex-Herts & Essex student, she is now in charge of teaching and learning having been the pastoral deputy. She will oversee the development of lesson study in the school throughout 2014-15. It has been announced recently that the senior leadership team will expand with faculty leaders joining as assistant headteachers from September 2014.

Sixth Form[edit]

Unlike the rest of the school, boys are permitted to study within the Sixth Form, this similar to the The Bishop's Stortford High School which is a single sex school for boys around a mile away from Herts and Essex which admits Girls within the Sixth Form.

The busy Sixth Form Common at Herts & Essex
The Sixth Form Common Room.

In 2009 Ofsted stated that "The Hertfordshire and Essex High School is an outstanding school with an outstanding Sixth Form".[4]

All students within the Sixth Form are required to take 4 Advanced Subsidiary levels and continue with 3 of these to the full Advanced Level, to continue to Year 13 for the full Advanced Level qualifications, students must achieve 3 AS levels at grades A* - E.[5]

There are also enrichment activities within the Sixth Form where students are off timetable to further their studies or participate within group activities and sports, it wasn't until recently when the school had its own Rugby Union club, which was set up by students.

Until September 2010 there was no dress code for students within the Sixth Form, Sixth Formers were allowed to dress in what they believed was appropriate for school, however this was changed shortly after Cathy Tooze, the new Head teacher, joined the school to a dress code of business wear (Suits)[6]

Sixth Form facilities include a large common room and 5 computer and study rooms for student's to use in their study periods and during lunch and break.[7]

A large majority of students progress to Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge universities, which are the UK's top 20 researched focused universities.[8]

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ [1], Bishop's Stortford Town Council - Schools, Accessed 9 April 2011
  2. ^ [2], Bishop's Stortford History Guide, Accessed 9 April 2011
  3. ^ [3], Herts and Essex 2000-2004 Redevelopment, Accessed 9 April 2011
  4. ^ [4], Ofsted Inspection Report 2009 Accessed 9 April 2011
  5. ^ [5], Admissions Accessed 9 April 2011
  6. ^ [6], Dress Code Accessed 9 April 2011
  7. ^ [7], Dress Code Accessed 9 April 2011
  8. ^ [8], Leavers Accessed 9 April 2011