This new 9-form entry secondary school designed by Nicholas Hare Architects was opened in May 2011 and is organised in three colleges or "schools within a school" with 450 pupils each and there is a post-16 college; again with 450 students.
The design has 9 pavilion buildings linked by external covered walkways. In addition to the colleges (where pupils will spend most of their time learning the core curriculum subjects) the other buildings house the specialist teaching areas such as design/technology, music and sport. The chequer-board arrangement of the buildings on this generous site creates strongly defined courtyards. These make way-finding simple and allow the buildings to have excellent aspects for daylight. The scheme received a Commendation at the 2012 Civic Trust Awards and the jury said "the simple, generous layout has given rise to a calm order yet surprising diversity in the buildings and the spaces within them".
Nicholas Hare Architects won a prestigious RIBA Award for the scheme in June 2012 and it was shortlisted for this year's New London Awards.
Architecture Today's critique investigates how this chequerboard plan can help mitigate problems associated with scale in schools while the BBC in January 2013 reports better exam results in the redesigned school.
'The light, bright white corridors in the nine new buildings make the site feel more like an art gallery than a state comprehensive. The state-of-the-art competitive gym with capacity for 450 people feels like a professional facility'
The Guardian, August 2011