St. Thomas Church of England Primary School and Nursery


June - October 2018


JCT MW 2016;MMD team

Value & scheme:

£90,000; Office/Entrance Extension


Stockport, Cheshire

This circa 1960’s purpose built, mostly single storey building is a voluntarily controlled free school, providing nursery and primary education for children aged 3-11. Externally to the front of the building there are lawned areas with a mixture of low boundary treatments providing a pleasant and permeable frontage to the highway. To the rear of the building are a series of external play areas, comprising of hard and soft landscaping features, including a tarmaced surface for games activities, and a synthetic all-weather pitch. Hillgate Conservation Area adjoins land to the front of the school.

The previous Reception arrangement permitted admission of visitors directly into heart of the school and circulation routes beyond. This left staff and children vulnerable to wrongly motivated or aggressive visitors, as the Reception sat within an open area, with no access restriction. To enhance security and improve the safeguarding of their children, the school sought to create separation between pupils and school visitors. This is achieved by creating a new ‘holding’ lobby for visitors which controls their admission and movement into the school. Access control is installed on the external door of the the lobby to enable office staff to control admission via the entrance intercom. Furthermore the additional new office with full height angled window provides natural surveillance for the approach to the entrance.

The design of the proposed extension has been driven to respond to the pragmatic requirements of the school’s prescriptive brief to solely use only facing brick. This contemporary use of traditional materials logically blends the extension into its surroundings, whilst the sympathetic proportions of the brickwork and glazing are designed to re-elevate and ‘re-brand’ the front elevation and be robust to anti-social behaviour.