Beam me up, Harlow...

Friday 04 Mar 2011

New home for Passmores by Jestico + Whiles

Passmores Secondary School, for Essex County Council accommodates 1,200 students, in six learning areas. The two-storey radial design, conceived in response to the ethos of the school, has a gathering place at its heart. It provides a flexible learning environment and a number of sustainable features. The naturally-ventilated design uses biomass boilers as part of its heat source. Clad predominantly in timber, it also incorporates a brown roof and night-time cooling. It will achieve at least a BREEAM ‘Very Good'.

The scheme has been classed by the Essex Design Initiative (EDI) as an ‘Exemplar' project. This is the first project produced with Essex County Council funding that has been awarded in this way since the launch of the programme in Summer 2008. The EDI is an initiative in partnership with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Passmores School has been recognised by Ofsted as Outstanding, by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust as one of the top 100 performing specialist schools, and is in the top 1% of all schools nationally for value added. Passmores School is seeking to become an academy in the coalition government's new Academies initiative.

Harlow MP Robert Halfon says of the project: "It really is quite incredible. Although not quite finished (the school should be ready for the September Academic year), it really is state of the art. Two huge floors, a bridge within the school, everything designed for the advancement of pupil attainment. Walking round, it reminded me of the Star Trek Enterprise, it is so futuristic. This school - when completed - represents part of the transformation of Harlow. It also epitomises everything our Town stands for: aspiration, inspiration, achievement and excellence. Passmores is already a strong school. I am sure Governors will be besieged by parents - not just from Harlow, but around the country."

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