Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Pinewood Infant School, Farnborough, Hampshire , UK-England

Exemplary design categories: community use and involvement, green school, safety

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The school design project adopted an inclusive 'people-based' approach that aimed to provide beautiful but practical, stimulating but calm, energy and cost effective sustainable places for childcentred learning.

The old school was destoyed by an arson attack in March 2003, and the school had to operate from mobile accommodation for nearly five years. The part that remains forms one of the elements around the central courtyard. The new build has pitched roof forms, united by a generous passage right around the courtyard.

The school was designed in a series of layers. The community, parents and pupils are invited into the heart of the school, from the entrance through to the courtyard. Passive supervision of the site without high fences and barriers enables the building to face onto and be owned by the community. To date there have been positive engagement with the community and no cases of vandalism have been reported. Spaces are connected thorough simple good quality and considered materials and junctions. Location and planning of these spaces allows over 50% of the building to be used by the wider community, thereby extending the school buildings usage.

The building's construction was designed to allow flexibility. A steel frame provides the principal structural components with dry construction partitions throughout enabling reconfiguration of the internal layout, thereby assisting to future-proof the building.

Although the school is a mainstream facility it has a resource provision for language impairment with enlarged spaces throughout the school that enable its users, including students with special needs, to integrate. Classrooms are light and airy and use the volume of the pitched roofs. Storage within the classrooms and throughout the school is generous and enables the spaces to remain uncluttered.

The design of the school maximises the amount of day light across the depth of the classrooms achieving 8% compared with the DCSF's requirement of 4%. Rainwater is harvested and provides the water to flush the sanitary appliances. The incoming services have pulsed meters to detect any leaks.

There is a private pre-school that operates within the school serving the local commiunity. A dedicated community room, partially funded by the Local Borough Council, can be hired by local community groups such as parent and toddlers. The schools has been designed to allow extended use of the main hall, music, drama and external areas by the wider community.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The school's users and wider community were consulted throughout the design stages of the school through various meetings / forum. Predominately meetings took place between the architect and the head teacher/senior teachers but there were also assemblies, presentations and discussions with pupils, staff, parents, police and local boroughs and the community at this critical stage.

Activity Areas: 3 classrooms (Years R, 1 & 2); library, music drama space, main hall, kitchen and server, small group/flexible teaching spaces, sanitary accommodation, staff and admin accommodation, 24 place pre-school, courtyard, protected year R and preschool play areas, external play and teaching spaces

Project costs: GBP 3,220,103.00

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User perspectives (1)

"I've worked in and visited a number of schools in my career and the current Pinewood Infant School encompasses the best of all thoses teaching and learning environments - and more! The classroom areas are light airy spaces which lend themselves to a variety of teaching approaches - so necessary for the particular needs of our school population. The common areas of the school allow for flexibility of use and look different from day to day and week to week. Visitors always comment on the look of the school interior, as the colour schemes and creative use of glass make it bright even on the dullest of days. They also comment on the calm and orderly feel of the school which I believe is in part due to the layout of the different areas of the building. Teaching and learning often spills out into the outdoor areas and the children have taken pride in developing and caring for these areas on a monthly basis - there were limited opportunities for this aspect of the curriculum in our original school. I am particularly satisfied with the way the school can welcome in its community at the beginning and end of each day but can also provide a safe and secure environment for the children during the school working day. The arrangement has allowed parents and career to build social networks as well as enabling children to develop their self confidence in moving around the building independently".
Sue Harris, Head Teacher - Pinewood Infant School

Images (5)

Drawings (5)

Floor plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Hampshire County Council
Furniture floor plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Hampshire County Council
Site location plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Hampshire County Council
Site location elevations and sections (Registration required)
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Credit: Hampshire County Council
Site location elevations and sections (Registration required)
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Credit: Hampshire County Council