Southwark Schools\

Designing #GreatSchools for Southwark

We were commissioned to design six primary schools across the London Borough of Southwark to provide much needed pupil places.

The Challenge

Similar to other London Boroughs, Southwark had a shortfall in reception places for children. They identified an additional 19 forms of entry that were required across the Borough. Their solution was the expansion and redevelopment of 12 existing school buildings; we were commissioned for six of them.

Southwark’s priority is to provide great learning facilities for future generations, all within the context of tight budgets and timescales.

Ivydale Primary School won a RIBA London Regional Award; Keyworth Primary School was shortlisted (2018)

The Big Idea

Located directly south of the River Thames, Southwark is one of the largest and most diverse London Boroughs, and as a result the design for each school is very different. Our approach was to understand and respond to the unique priorities and challenges of each whilst fitting into a borough wide strategy to procurement.

We have used our previous experience to help each school make the most of its existing buildings, and think about how their estate might adapt to their changing needs in the future.

The Small Detail

Cherry Garden School is the largest project within the batch. It was an existing school for primary age children with a range of Special Education Needs (SEN) including autistic spectrum disorder, visual impairment and profound and multiple learning difficulties. The project involved building a new 75-place school plus nursery provision on a new site in the Borough.

The other new build projects are at Ivydale and Keyworth Primary Schools. At Ivydale a new building has been developed on a site across from the existing listed school which provides increased capacity from a two form to a four form entry school with an arts focus. At Keyworth a new build classroom block, hall and kitchen are adjacent to the existing Victorian board school. For Crawford Primary School we extended and refurbished existing buildings to update the existing education provision in line with today’s teaching methods.

Ivydale Primary School won a RIBA London Regional Award (2018), and Keyworth Primary School was shortlisted.

  • Project Details
  • Materials
  • Sustainability

Project Summary


  • NLA Awards 2019 - Education - Shortlisted


Each school required a solution that was cost effective, simple to build and minimised build time on site. The structural solution was a ‘timber first’ approach using prefabricated components and system build techniques rolled out across all the schools.

We also proposed using the same components – internal doors, sanitary fittings, windows etc. – in different colours and finishes, ensuring the future maintenance of these schools is as straightforward and economic as possible.


All schools have met BREEAM very good standards. The new and remodelled buildings are more energy efficient and better maintained, minimise life cycle costs, and integrate renewable energies, natural ventilation, recycled or renewable materials and finishes.

The schools built and refurbished today, hope to leave a strong legacy for the borough’s future young people.

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