Woolwich Polytechnic Is a school that has been on the up for some years now. Situated in one of London’s less gentrified locations, it has long enjoyed a good reputation for the quality of its pastoral care and, in more recent times, the impact of clever, compassionate teaching has manifested itself in exam results which have been improving dramatically. In 2010 the school was named as the most improved boy’s school in England and, shortly after reforming its (co-ed) sixth form in 2011, it was judged by OFSTED to be outstanding. It is no surprise then that pupil numbers have been rising, as has the need for additional classroom space.
Working to a tight budget, the school nonetheless wanted an inspirational building in which to locate its Art department and the new post 16 provision. It needed to create significantly more space, quite rapidly, but also wanted to find a way to create an outdoor building that was flexible, sustainable and different. Staff did not, however, want to build something bland or temporary; they wanted their new block to be innovative and unique to their school. TG Escapes were delighted to be chosen as the provider of their space.
Initially, there were only sufficient funds to create an Art block, but the school was confident that further funding would become available in the future. Working closely with the school, our architect drew up plans that allowed for a phased building project, incorporating the prospect of a bigger, self-fulfilling vision of what might become. The students were actively involved in the process, and the TG Escapes team invited them to showcase their ideas: the best of which were incorporated into the final design.
Phase one began in 2012 with the demolition and removal of a small fleet of long term portacabins and the preparation of the site. In 2013, the school opened its new art block with space to teach over 200 students. In the first half of 2015, we built the new sixth form centre which comprised both classrooms and much needed additional office space. Phase two was rapidly followed by the third and final part of the project.
The two-storey building, our largest to date, provides 1600 square metres of floor space. It accommodates up to 600 students and staff and includes toilet facilities and a lift, not to mention a covered outdoor area and a beautiful, naturally lit art gallery. The entire project cost a little over £2m.
“Now this building has almost become almost the centrepiece of the school.”