Shared facilities for maximum efficiency
Sponsored by the Church of England Diocese of Oxford and Buckinghamshire County Council, we also had to ensure the new schools made the most of the plot, while meeting the Education Framework Agency budget. To achieve this, we carefully thought out what facilities could be shared, and which were specific to each school.
We designed a swale at the front of the school to aid drainage of the site, avoiding other expensive solutions, and also providing one of several outdoor learning environments. Both schools have access to outdoor teaching spaces under covered canopies, with flexible seating. Berryfields has an outdoor playing pirate ship, which we commissioned, and the academy is home to a 240-seat outdoor amphitheatre for performances, teaching and informal social gatherings.
With sustainability and efficiency in mind, we challenged the first design of the sports pitches to make best use of the site. We levelled the site, laid down earth tubes to produce natural heat for the buildings, and then built and seeded the sports pitches in May 2012 to ensure the school could use them for opening in September 2013. Now both the primary and academy boast their own outdoor sports facilities for formal sports lessons, and can also be hired out for community use.