Back to the future?

James Forryan
Thursday 05 Mar 2009

HKS breathes new life into Victorian School

In 2005 HKS was appointed by London Borough of Tower Hamlets to upgrade the facilities for teaching and learning at Chisenhale Primary School, in Bow, East London. At that time the School was in Special Measures and with changes in the education curriculum, the ageing Victorian building has been increasingly unable to adapt to the demands on management and training that this brings.

The desire at the outset was to create a fully accessible environment, raising the profile of the School and strengthening its presence in the local community. At entrance level there are new reception, administrative and child support facilities. An interview room is provided for parents and children, together with a fully accessible sick bay, wc and shower facility. The provision of this new accommodation has enabled the School to re-allocate areas within the existing building. This has given greater freedom for teaching and learning with spaces for variant group sizes of 15 or less, smaller breakout zones and one-to-one teaching areas.

The new accommodation at the upper floor level comprises a general staff room with an adjoining senior leadership room. Both rooms benefit from the very good light that the corner site provides and windows have been carefully placed for specific views of outdoor activity and public areas. The senior leadership room has a large south-facing feature window. This has a commanding presence over the main entrance which places the relationship between school leadership and the local community firmly in view. This is considered by the School to be a positive and concrete symbol of the School’s recovery from Special Measures.

Key Facts:

Education
Architecture
United Kingdom

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