A unique approach to education

One of the last schools to be funded by the Building Schools for the Future project has opened its doors for the first time.

The £50m Stanley Park High, in Sutton, south London, was five years in the making and was specially designed to accommodate the school’s unique ‘four schools in one’ approach.

Building relationships

The new school, commissioned by Sutton Council,  was designed by architects Haverstock Associates LLP, project managed by Lend Lease and built by BAM in just 19 months, and stands on the site of the former Queen Mary’s Hospital, in Orchard Hill, Carshalton.  The cost included land acquisition, infrastructure and the build.

The 1,450 pupil school has seven forms of entry, a 350-place sixth form and a specialist unit for autistic pupils.

The building is shaped by two parallel teaching blocks with a central atrium and feature staircases which double-up as seating. Pupils are all assigned to one of the four small schools, which operate with separate head teachers. The aim is to encourage better relationships between students and teachers.

The separate schools – Trade (which teaches vocational subjects such as mechanics, engineering and beauty therapy), Performance (drama, dance and PE), World (languages and humanities) and Horizon (a specialist autism base) are taught in colour-coded separate blocks with their own flexible studio spaces, classrooms and specialist workshops.

Highlights includes areas specially designed for vocational lessons, including a beauty salon, car workshop, professional teaching kitchen, theatre and a 400m running track.

Good design

The design was given the thumbs up by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), whose panel gave it a ‘good’ rating, with ‘outstanding’ features.

It is one of the first schools in the country to be designed to both the DCSF’s Carbon Neutral Standard and to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) sustainability of Very Good.

Head teacher David Taylor said: “The school and local authority worked very closely with the architects and builders to create a custom-made building which is perfectly tailored to the needs of the school. It’s a stunning building that allows the school the flexibility it needs.

“From the huge central atrium, which acts not only as a circulation area, but also a recreation and learning space, to the large studio-style classrooms, it couldn’t be better suited for Stanley Park High’s unique approach to learning.”

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