The Hertfordshire and Essex High School

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The Hertfordshire & Essex High School
File:Herts+Essex logo resize.png
Motto SIC ITUR AD ASTRA ("Thus you shall go to the Stars")
Established 1909
Type Academy
Headteacher Mrs. Cathy Tooze
Location Warwick Road
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 5NJ
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Local authority Hertfordshire
DfE number 919/5420
DfE URN 140786 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy 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 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 converted to academy status in April 2014.


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


The uniform for girls in years 7 to 10 is a knee length brown skirt, a yellow blouse and a brown blazer. Year 11 are to wear a cream and brown stripped blouse and a pleated knee length skirt also to wear a brown blazer. (This year group is the final year group to wear this uniform.) All Sixth Form students are required to adhere to a dress code of business wear.


"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

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


  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