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Living in West Hertfordshire

‘Hertfordshire hedgehogs’ are what residents of this home county were once referred to. The term was coined by Londoners, who claimed people from Herts made for prickly neighbours. Thankfully, these days Hertfordshire folk are considered a more affable lot – and who wouldn’t be with all that green space, historic estates and, of course, a glorious cathedral, on their doorsteps? 

One of the home counties in southern England, Herts lets you have your cake and eat it. Great transport links (even the Tube in west Herts) allow for an easy commute into London, but you can also enjoy village life (Little Gaddesden is voted the poshest, apparently) or ancient city living (St Albans, for example). 



Education scene in West Hertfordshire

Local Education Authorities in West Herts
Hertfordshire County Council

With the exception of grammar schools, west Hertfordshire has it all – from coveted state schools to eminent private day and boarding schools. Some of the state options are so popular that catchments have shrunk to a few streets where the houses have ever more eye-watering price tags.

But no grammars, we hear you cry? Fear not, for while fully selective grammar schools are long gone, there are plenty of excellent semi-selective state secondary schools that allow you to apply from well out of town. Some of these have joined together to operate admissions tests eg SW Herts Admissions Consortium. And you may be able to apply to some of the nearest Buckinghamshire high-flying grammars. Chesham Grammar School takes a sizeable minority from the neighbouring local authority, although Dr Challoner’s Grammar and Dr Challoner’s High School take only tiny numbers of pupils (sometimes none) from beyond the Bucks borders (see school websites for catchment areas and further details).

With the Metropolitan line running into west Herts (Rickmansworth and Chorleywood stations), there’s also the option of schools (both state and private) located nearer to London eg Northwood College for Girls, St Helen’s School and The John Lyon School.

Single sex options are plentiful in west Herts, and this side of the county also has a large number of all-through schools, mainly in the private sector.

Mix and matching state and private is popular – mainly state for primary, then private for senior, but sometimes the other way round, especially for families after one of the more selective state schools out of catchment.

For the other half of the country, check out what we've written on East Hertfordshire. But in west Herts we’ve focused our attentions on four areas of that are popular with families and home to a range of good schools – St Albans, Harpenden, Radlett and Rickmansworth.

Looking for the best schools in West Hertfordshire? Our Education Consultants can help.

The Good Schools Guide education consultants help parents from all over the world find the best schools for their children. We have experts all over the United Kingdom, each one with their own specialist areas of knowledge. If you would like to know more about your family’s education options in West Hertfordshire and how we are able to help, please get in touch - [email protected] - or read about our education consultancy services.

Your thoughts on education in West Hertfordshire

Do you have experience of education in West Herts – or indeed elsewhere – that you would like to share with us? We depend on our network of parents and teachers to make sure the advice and information we publish is accurate, complete, relevant and up to date. Please write to us [email protected].

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