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Guy Hollaway wins contest to extend Foster's Folkestone Academy

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Guy Hollaway Architects has won an invited competition to add a new primary school to Foster + Partners’ award-winning Folkestone Academy in Kent

The London and Hythe-basd practice saw off competition from five other practices, including Pringle Richards Sharratt and Robin Partington Architects, to land the prize project which it has just submitted form planning.

Sponsored by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, the scheme will see the relocation of an existing primary school on to the same site as the Fosters’ landmark to create an ‘all through academy’.

The new building, designed as a series of drums to mirror those within the ‘senior’ school, will be able to house 420 pupils.


The architect’s view

Within the heart existing senior academy are located eight internal drums, providing house groups for the pupils.  This concept is reflected in the new building which has been formed from a series of external drums focused on the importance of play and external teaching. 

These drums represent stepping stones from kindergarten, to junior school and through to the senior academy which is a direct response to the competition brief which called for the year groups to be divided into 3 Steps.  The building is proposed to be low lying, more intimate in scale than the senior academy and to gently step up in form as it approaches the existing building. 

Through the drums runs a ‘self-learning’ street, providing all years shared access to library, ICT, art and food technology facilities.  Breakout quiet zones are located at the core of each drum and provide each classroom with direct access to focused learning environments for group learning and one to one tuition.

We understand this is the first time a new state primary school has proposed smaller class sizes for young learners. Traditionally a two form entry primary school would provide two classes of 30 pupils. In this instance the year groups have been divided into three classes of 20 pupils. However the building will be designed so the year groups can be returned to two classes should future circumstances such require.

The head teacher has identified two significant drops in pupil performance as they progress through their academic career which the new proposals attempt to address.  The first is when the pupil moves from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 and the method of teaching changes from being play based to classroom based.  In response to this the Headteacher proposes 3 Steps to replace the 2 Key Stages, with Step 2 being a transition period from the play based learning to the classroom based.  The second drop occurs when a pupil moves from the primary to the secondary school.  The all-through nature of new proposals will allow for a gradual introduction into the senior school through a sharing of facilities and resources by the primary school such as the theatre, main hall or library.


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