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.
Photos will be taken in spring 2017.