New Barlby and Kensington Queensmill Schools
An innovative design for a new primary school and The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s first dedicated school for children with autism and learning difficulties in North Kensington, London, as part of the Council’s continued commitment to education and special needs within the Borough. The schools will be located in a single new building that offers the mutual benefit of shared services while maintaining independent and autonomous learning facilities, arrival areas and playgrounds.
The scheme includes the redevelopment and expansion of the existing Barlby Primary School to a two-form entry school, nursery and the build of an SEN school specifically designed to meet the needs of young people with severe learning difficulties, including Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The existing, predominantly single storey school will be replaced with a three-storey building to fit both schools on the site efficiently.
Designed to encourage and facilitate independence skills and a tailored way of learning for each child, the ingenuity of the Z-shaped arrangement, that allows the two schools to access each other’s hall, also enhances the sense of community. A variety of outdoor spaces, including large roof terraces, further support learning and secure play, with key-stage clusters arranged around a generous circulation to provide direct access to outdoor play areas.
As with our other SEN schools, special attention is also paid to the staff support facilities, with staff areas for the special school located on the top floor. This allows privacy, focus and much-needed rest for the staff as well as a resource area for training.
The proposed palette of exterior materials has been carefully considered in terms of how the effect colour, pattern and contrast may have on students with sensory perception concerns, while also providing a sensitive and beautiful piece of architecture that enhances the context and neighbouring Conservation Area.
With the use of an elegant pale brick and careful proportioning of the windows, the building is subtly articulated while remaining quiet, calm and welcoming. The monolithic appearance on the internal elevation areas also particularly helps children with ASD to avoid specific visual conditions.
See the latest site progress here courtesy of MACE’s on-site webcam