A Brief History

A brief History


We are now Hertfordshire's only all-through special educational needs school for children with Learning Disabilities and complex needs including ASD, MLD and SLCN. Prior to 2011, we were known as a Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) school, having been built as a special school in 1964. At a time when major hospitals in the area had children with complex needs in residential care, The Collett School was set up to work with children who did not present with such overt medical and mental health needs, though couldn't access the Secondary Modern schools of the day.

With the closing of Leavesden, Hill End, Harperbury, Shendish and Napsbury hospitals in the 1990s, many stayed in the vacinity as part of the Care in the Community programme, ensuring the Dacorum area has one of, if not the highest per capita of people with mental health and learning disabilities in Europe.

In 1999, all the other MLD schools were split into primary and secondary schools, whereas The Collett School fought to remain an all-through school, which makes us unique in Hertfordshire. There are however, other all-through schools including Severe Learning Disabilities (SLD) schools, private schools and recently opened mainstream schools in Hertfordshire.

Like many special needs schools, The Collett sought to protect the children from the harshness of the mainstream world, remaining a quiet shelter for children with learning disabilities. Times have changed and we are now fully immersed in our mainstream culture, promoting our pupils' place in our society and engaging positively with our communities to ensure longer term successes for our children.

We love being an all-through school, being able to work with children and their families through the possible 13 years of our provision. Parents and carers tell us they like the ways our staff support their children through the many transitions of childhood into adulthood. Parents feel trusted as the experts on their child and safe in the care of our professional guidance.

Our clear and core focus is the pupils' learning. In addition, we enrich their schooling and future generations of professionals working in SEND by hosting training and work placements. These include pupils at other mainstream and SEND schools, trainee teachers and post-graduate students. We actively host volunteer placements and regularly bring in business partnerships. We are now flourishing as progressive school with sound principles based on 'common sense' and a passion for making a difference.

Oral History Project

Follow the link below to learn more about the school's Oral History Project with the researchers from Creative Data http://www.creativedataprojects.com/portfolio/the-history-project/ and the National Heritage Lottery Fund:https://www.hlf.org.uk

Have you been a pupil, teacher or TA at The Collett?

We would love to hear from you!

Please contact us through the Contact page or speak to the office to book a time to speak to the Head about your experiences of The Collett School.

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We would love to capture:


  • Your stories of time at Collett
  • Any pictures of your time here
  • Any work you did here at The Collett School