Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School
In early October 2020, Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School, in Mickleover Derby was destroyed in an arson attack – one of two local school arson attacks in the space of 48hours.
As well as losing the majority of the school’s structure, most of the contents including more than 3,500 books, computers and learning materials were destroyed, and 296 pupils were displaced overnight.
Only just returning after lockdown, it was a major blow to the school, pupils, parents and local Derby community, and an urgent recovery plan for the school was put into place. The recovery plan has four overlapping phases, the first phase, which has already been completed, saw the demolition of the damaged school, making sure the site was safe, and temporary modular classroom arrangements installed on site. This allowed for a partial return to the school for nursery pupils. The temporary classrooms travelled from nearby Rosecliffe Spencer Academy in Nottinghamshire, recently delivered by Arc Partnership.
The remaining pupils from Reception, Year One and Year Two, have been temporarily accommodated across three local schools - and recent Lungfish projects; Hackwood Primary Academy, Highfields Spencer Academy and Murray Park Community School. Then, when Castleward Spencer Academy opens its doors for the first time in September 2021, pupils and staff will come together again on a temporary basis, with a return for all pupils into the new school once completed.
Through shared commitment and determination with Derby City Council, the School and Morgan Sindall Construction, we’re working towards creating a bright new future for the school, a high-quality and safe learning environment for pupils, and a sense of togetherness for the community, due for completion in Spring 2022.
About the project
With staff, pupils and parents split across several sites, travelling further each day, there is an urgency to provide a new school building so that Ravensdale Infants can begin to operate and teach as a whole school once more.
To effectively deliver the new school quickly, ensuring that the Ravensdale pupils experience minimum disruption to their education, the new school will be built utilising a modular design and offsite construction techniques. An offsite approach will ensure that the project is delivered within budget, in accordance with the insurance company measures. Additionally, offsite construction will allow for minimal disruption to the neighbouring Junior school, which shares site and access routes and utilities with the infant school.
Working closely with the school, council, and Morgan Sindall, we’ve reconfigured the layout and shape of the school building to maximise the resources, service and access routes, topography and location to make the whole site more efficient.
The new, single storey building will sit over the previous school footprint. Whilst mimicking the frontage of the previous school, we’ve pulled the building forwards towards the road, allowing for more teaching and play space at the back of the site. We have also increased the school footprint by nearly 300m² to bring the school up to the Department for Education’s benchmark for a three-form entry nursery and infant school.
Carefully designed to suit the day-to-day management, needs, and user flow through the site and building, we have split the school into two sections, joined by a link corridor. The front of the site will house the double-height hall, library, group and SEN room, main entrance, kitchen, and admin areas. Beyond the main building, 10 spacious classrooms are accessed through the link corridor, allowing the teaching spaces and communal areas to be separated, adding to overall safeguarding.
The school has a forest school ethos, where the children learn from the natural environment around them. With that at the forefront of our minds, we’ve included areas for outdoor learning under an extensive canopy and enhanced the available space. Additionally, each of the ten classrooms each have their own access to the outdoors, with their own dedicated areas for outdoor lessons and play that can be utilised in all weather.
Externally, blue and green Trespa cladding will help bring the school to life through colour. The colours will continue inside the building too, with a feature wall in reception and large, coloured acoustic panels suspended in the hall, creating a sense of identity for the new building.
Off the main hall sits a library and a SEN and group room. To create a calm and nurturing space for the young children, these areas will feature soft, natural materials including timber panels and green, muted tones. Whilst the link corridor will act as a natural barrier from the learning zones to the rest of the school, colour blocking will create effective wayfinding.
Energy-efficient features have been included throughout the school. We’ve enhanced natural light wherever possible, and then incorporated LED lighting, automatic lighting controls and daylight dimming. Where they are not damaged by fire, external soft landscaped areas, boundary, hedgerows, trees and habitat areas will be retained, and to future-proof the school, we’re also including the infrastructure for a future Electric Vehicle charging point.
Once complete in Spring 2022, the new Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School will provide a colourful, spacious and inspiring learning environment for its 270 pupils and 26-place nursery. We hope to make the new school somewhere really special for the children, and the school to overcome and rebuild.