Aylesford Academy Primary School

Sector: Education
Status: Completed September 2015

An increase in housing development meant Warwickshire County Council needed to create more school places for its expanding community. At Aylesford, that meant building a new, £2.5 million single-form entry primary school within the grounds of an existing secondary school. It was a challenging brief, in a limited space, with an extremely tight deadline. They turned to us.

About the project

Building within the grounds of the secondary school was a cost-efficient way for the Council to create new school places – and develop the county’s very first all-through school for children aged three to 19. But it created challenges too. The new school building couldn’t infringe on the existing sports pitches and needed to be in keeping with the rest of the site’s buildings. This left us with a very small footprint and a distinctive style to replicate.

To maximise the available space, we created a partly two-storey building, capable of comfortably accommodating 250 pupils while maximising natural daylight and ventilation. Its pitched roof and brickwork style are in keeping with the surrounding buildings, and the modern materials we’ve used really complement the site.

Our Approach

The project came into the Lungfish studio in May 2014, with a deadline of September 2015. To achieve it without disrupting the existing secondary school, we used our pre-designed Connect approach. This created a steel framed building into which structural insulated panels (SIPs) could be bolted, making for an incredibly fast on-site build with real cost certainty.

We worked extremely closely not only with the Council and the secondary school, but also with our project partners – Ashe Construction and Innovare, who manufactured the SIPs off site. The project was run within a Scape empa framework and created such strong, successful relationships that it was highly commended in a Constructing Excellence integration and collaboration award.

An Exceptional Outcome

Collaboration made this project happen. Despite a challenging brief and an incredibly short timeframe, the project team came together to deliver it exceptionally smoothly. We submitted planning after only a month and opened the doors on time, on budget, just 14 months later.

The headteacher is delighted, the local community has been very positive and the project achieved a 10/10 score for customer satisfaction. In fact, thanks to this award-winning work, Warwickshire County Council have already commissioned Lungfish for more school building projects.

“Our early work with Lungfish allowed us to communicate the vision we had for the school – and for them to capture it. We are delighted to have moved from planning, design and build to the core purpose of exciting children in their education in this unique space. Our thanks go to all who have been involved in this journey.”

Steve Hall, Headteacher, Aylesford Academy Secondary School