Francis Combe Academy

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Francis Combe Academy
Francis Combe Academy Logo.jpg
Motto "Transforming Lives Through Learning"
Established 2009
Type academy
Principal Deborah 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 1200
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Rowling, Brunel, Curie and Turing
Colours Orange      Red     Grey    

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.


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] Results and attendance have improved significantly since 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 were replaced by Brunel, Turing, Curie, and Rowling.


All of the academy's buildings were rebuilt in 2012 except for the English and Humanities block, which was built in 2001 (currently the Communications and Maths building).[8]

The £25 million rebuild, which connects to the older building, features three stories and houses Science, ICT & Business and Humanities (originally Maths). The Sports Department includes a large sports hall, a dance studio and changing rooms.

Two new outdoor spaces, the MUGA (multi use games area) and the Agora.

A new entrance foyer.

The new Art Department focuses on open plan and collaborative working with no fixed walls between classrooms.

A new Restaurant allows students to eat.


  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 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. 

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