Future Academies Watford

Coordinates: 51°41′52″N 0°23′32″W / 51.6977°N 0.3922°W / 51.6977; -0.3922

Future Academies Watford
Horseshoe Lane

, ,
WD25 7HW

Coordinates51°41′52″N 0°23′32″W / 51.6977°N 0.3922°W / 51.6977; -0.3922
Established1954 (1954)
Local authorityHertfordshire County Council
TrustFuture Academies
Department for Education URN135876 Tables
PrincipalDeborah Warwick[1]
Age range11–18
Enrolment1,090 (2019)[2]

Future Academies Watford is a co-educational secondary school and sixth form located in Garston, Watford, Hertfordshire, England.[3]


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.[4][5]

It became the first comprehensive in Watford in 1966.[6] Previously a community school administered by Hertfordshire County Council, in February 2008, the school was given permission to explore becoming an academy, sponsored by West Herts College and the University of Hertfordshire (later the Meller Educational Trust). The school reopened in September 2009 as Francis Combe Academy, specialising in English, art and media.[7][8]

In 2020, the name was changed to Future Academies Watford when the school became part of the Future Academies multi-academy trust.[9]


All of the school's buildings were rebuilt in 2012 except for the English and Maths block, which was built in 2001 (currently the Communications and Maths building).[10] The £25 million rebuild, which connects to the older building, features three storeys 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 sports and games area) and the Agora. A new entrance foyer and a new art department focuses on open plan and collaborative working with no fixed walls between classrooms.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Francis Combe School and Community College

  • Bradley Walsh, comedian, television presenter, actor, singer, and former professional footballer
  • Kelly Smith, professional footballer
  • Mark Ilott, professional cricketer
  • [Peter Urie]], television producer / director


  1. ^ "Principal's Message". Francis Combe Academy. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Francis Combe Academy". Get information about schools. GOV.UK. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Francis Combe School and Community College Moto motto". Hertfordshire County Council. Archived from the original on 11 September 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
  4. ^ Samuel Lewis, ed. (1848). "Watford (St. Mary)". A Topographical Dictionary of England (7th ed.). p. 486. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
  5. ^ William Page, ed. (1908). "Hemel Hempstead". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 215–230. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  6. ^ "About the School". Francis Combe School and Community College. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  7. ^ "Francis Combe succeeds in their bid to become an academy". Francis Combe School and Community College. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  8. ^ "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. 29 February 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Future Academies - Our Academies". www.futureacademies.org. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020.
  10. ^ "The Rebuild". Francis Combe Academy. Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2011.

External links[edit]