We are often approached to create contemporary modular classroom designs. When Drybrook primary school in the Forest of Dean contacted us they had quite a number of issues to overcome. They had to use some of their outbuildings to teach as they had large classroom sizes but they were ageing and in a significant state of disrepair. As the pupil numbers exceeded DfE guidance for the space available, and the conditions in some areas were dark and cold, they required an innovative solution. What added to their conundrum was they would still need to use their buildings until the new provision was built.
One of the greatest challenges to the project was the space planning required in the early stages. Being in the Forest of Dean, the school was surrounded by wooded areas. We worked with planners to ensure that the new building minimised impact on the surroundings, including the ecological concerns and protection of existing habitats. As part of our scope of works we produced a landscaping plan with a proposal for tree protection and replacement.
Once the site was decided, we prepared a proposal for two new classroom spaces with offices, toilet facilities and an entrance lobby, along with a separate nursery building. We linked it all together with a decked play area and an overhead canopy. The glazing and the elevated link between the two buildings was carefully planned to provide a visual connection to the existing school and take advantage of the views over the site. The final design met the standards of DfE building bulletin for area requirements in mainstream schools so the school could finally achieve compliance.
The new interior plan replaced all of the area that was lost from the removal of the old buildings. Instead the school also benefited from light, spacious teaching areas that encouraged learning. We created a separate kitchen space and a bright children’s toilet area. We also planned in several separate office and storage areas. One of the greatest successes of the project is the large decked outdoor area with overhead canopy so that the children can enjoy outdoors learning in all weathers.
It was so lovely to receive a hand painted card from the children and staff who now occupy the new nursery unit.
In their words “To everyone at Pod Space, Thank you for our new classrooms!”
We wish them many years of happy learning and playing.