School 360 is an innovative new 420-pupil primary school in Sugar House Island, East London.
The building has been designed specifically to support the school’s unique curriculum based on the three pillars of head, heart and hand: developing the head to provide rich knowledge and deep understanding; the heart to focus on wellbeing and relationships; and the hand to encourage every child to learn about creativity, problem-solving and the arts.
“The school building has been perfectly designed to enable us to implement the curriculum vision we had for the children, with its flexible working spaces, access to outdoor and creative spaces, and light airy classrooms, which promote wellbeing.” Sarah Seleznyov and Andrea Silvain, Co-headteachers
These three pillars were a key driver in informing the design and layout of the building to encourage project-based learning, in a warm and welcoming environment. The classrooms are flexible and allow for quick layout changes to increase students’ engagement levels. This has been achieved by removing the traditional static teaching position, allowing an interactive screen to be positioned in many locations, and including movable walls between pairs of classrooms.
With external and project-based learning key to School 360’s pedagogy, the outdoor spaces, including the rooftop playground, have been designed for both recreational sports and outdoor learning.
The school offers students a variety of learning experiences and includes a range of spaces, such as a ‘Makerspace’ dedicated to arts, crafts, and technology; ‘Oracy Stairs’ on each floor, which offer informal seating and teaching space; and a flexible studio that has been designed for dance, sport, and performances. The school also boasts a dedicated room to cater to students with special educational needs (SEN).
With floor space of 2,413m2, and spanning over three storeys, the building sits on a highly complex, restricted urban site. The scheme is designed within a rectangular footprint as efficiently as possible, remaining respectful to its sensitive setting.
The outdoor play is located in two main areas. The rooftop includes a playground, community garden, and a multi-use games area (MUGA), whilst the ground floor playground provides more green spaces, including a ‘Forest School’ and an outdoor classroom for reading and group activities. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classrooms have direct access to the outside, with designated play areas for Reception and Year 1. The design has maximised the number of classrooms that have direct access to outdoor space by lifting the main hall and kitchen to the first floor.
The main entrance to the school includes a covered parking zone for 58 bicycles and additional scooter spaces. This complements Sugar House Island’s vision for the new, thriving community to prioritise walking and cycling around the site.
The building has been designed to reduce the school’s energy consumption. The building’s fabric is highly thermally efficient and airtight, windows are carefully sized and positioned to maximise daylight but limit overheating. Fittings and fixtures are efficient, low energy and water-saving. The school is mechanically heated and ventilated using an integrated air source heat pump. It is connected to the site-wide district heating network which provides low ‘carbon factor’ heat. The building has achieved a BREEAM rating of Very Good.
School 360 sits at the heart of Sugar House Island, a 26-acre mixed-use development in Stratford, East London. With centuries of history and industrial heritage, Sugar House Island is a distinctive urban environment with diverse architecture; a mixture of original and new buildings, providing homes, offices and retail spaces. The Island is bound by waterways, fronting Stratford High Street to its North and is a short walk from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The new School provides high-quality teaching spaces and support the unique curriculum of the education provider, the Big Education Trust, and is sister to the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ School 21, in nearby Stratford.