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Gascoigne Primary School in Barking is one of the largest primary schools in the UK. The school has a good reputation for supporting children from many different backgrounds: a large proportion of pupils arrive with English as a second language, and Ofsted has praised the way it deals with new and vulnerable pupils.

In 2014, the five-form-entry (5FE) school had more than 1,100 pupils and, as numbers continued to increase, mobile classrooms took up valuable outdoor space. Walters & Cohen and Neilcott Construction won the competition to design a new annexe for the school on a nearby council-owned plot. To make the most of the tight site, we explored three- and five-storey options, both of which used the roof for sports and social spaces.

The three-storey option was taken forward. Early years, administration and community facilities are at ground floor level; years 1, 2 and 3 are on the first floor; staffroom facilities and years 4, 5 and 6 are on the second floor. Each level also has an outdoor learning deck adjacent to the class bases. Careful landscaping around the building provides parking, spill-out dining, and outdoor spaces for the youngest pupils.

The new building, known as The Shaftesburys, caters for 39 full-time equivalent nursery pupils and is a 3FE primary school for 630 pupils. This has allowed the existing Gascoigne Primary School site to reduce to 4FE, thus creating a 7FE school over two sites. The Shaftesburys opened in September 2016.

Client London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
Total value £11m
Completion Summer 2016
Area 4,100 m2
QS Neilcott Construction
Structure MLM
Building Services Pick Everard
Landscape Wynne Williams
Contractor Neilcott Construction
Acoustics PACE Consulting
Lighting Pick Everard




Site plan

Concept sketch


East elevation

South elevation

Ground floor plan

Second floor plan

First floor plan

Rooftop sports and play area plan