An Innovation for Education

Guy Hollaway Architects £4.6 million Primary Academy School in Folkestone was opened on Tuesday 8th October by Parliamentary under Secretary for Education and Childcare Elizabeth Truss. The state 2FE primary academy is the first in the country to feature classrooms with a maximum occupancy of 20 pupils, as opposed to the standard of 30 pupils. The philosophy behind this is based on a vision for the new school for effective primary education, formulated by the head teacher Helen Tait and her staff. It takes an innovative step towards the belief that smaller class groups will lead to a better learning environment.

The commission was won at a competition sponsored by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust with the concept formed of a series of external drums focused on the emphasis of play and external teaching, representing stepping stones from kindergarten, to junior school and through to the senior academy. A self-learning street runs through the heart of the school providing all years with shared access to library, ICT, art and food technology facilities. Feature ‘quiet zones’ run through the middle of each drum and provide each classroom with accessible focused learning environments for group learning and one-to-one tuition.

The three steps replace the traditional two key stages, with the middle step looking to ease the transition between play based and classroom based learning. In line with the ‘all age’ aspiration of the academy, the new primary school and secondary academy have been sited close to one another and linked together with a canopy to enable a sharing of resource to further aid the transition between primary and secondary school as a pupil progresses through their academic career.

>“Improving access to and quality of education for all of Folkestone’s young people is central to our vision to make the town a better place in which to live and work and bring up a family. Already we have seen a dramatic change for the better in academic results and there is evidence demonstrating that these improvements are being mirrored in non-selective schools across the District. Our mission is to raise aspirations of Folkestone’s young people and prepare them for a more successful future.”
>Roger De Haan.

The design which extends from Norman Foster's secondary school academy was delivered on time and within its budget. We are delighted with the recent feedback from the finished school and look forward to working on future educational projects that have a similar ethos of evolving and bettering learning environments.

For more information about Folkestone Primary Academy School, Please Click Here.

Published on 14 October 2013