State of the art school unveiled

'The new Haverstock School will be an exemplar of an urban secondary school designed for the new millennium.' (Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects)

Creative, sustainable, state-of-the-art - Haverstock, Camden's first Private Finance Initiative (PFI) school, is to be unveiled after a £21 million re-build. *Architect's notes in Notes to Editors.

Following a major building project spanning two and a half years, the new Haverstock School building will be officially opened at an evening event, 7-9 pm on Thursday (2 March 2006). A popular 1,250-place secondary school in the heart of the London Borough of Camden, this is the first time in its recent history that the school has been housed in a genuine purpose built structure.

Under the PFI scheme, the building was built, financed and will be managed by Kajima Europe Ltd working in partnership with Camden Council. Designed by celebrated architect the late Richard Feilden and his company Feilden Clegg Bradley, Haverstock has been built to the highest specifications to provide a stimulating learning environment. The end result is an outstanding learning and community resource for pupils and residents to enjoy.

The new school has:

  • classrooms that are spacious, naturally lit and ventilated
  • exceptional specialist provision for science, technology, drama, music, physical education (P.E) and business studies
  • an extensive, sophisticated ICT network with over 500 PCs across the school and interactive whiteboards in every classroom
  • resource bases for staff to prepare teaching activities that fully utilise the building
  • floodlit all-weather sports pitch
  • a striking civic presence onto Haverstock Hill.

Next week's formal opening will include tours of the school, musical entertainment, a drama by Year 10 and an exclusive preview of 'Home', a bespoke production that will be performed at the end of term to celebrate the outstanding facilities. David Miliband MP, a former student of Haverstock and now Cabinet Minister for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), will be among the guests.

Speakers will include the former Leader of Camden Council Cllr Dame Jane Roberts; Yvette Stanley, Camden Council's Assistant Director of Children, Schools and Families; Dave Moulson, former Haverstock Chair of Governors; and Headteacher John Dowd, all of who were key to ensuring the school was rebuilt.

The event will also serve to commemorate the work of architect Richard Feilden who tragically died in 2005. This was one of the last buildings he designed. A suspended sculpture, Spiral Energy by world-renowned artist Kisa Kawakami will be unveiled on the night in his memory.

Headteacher John Dowd said: "The new building is an inspirational one. Cramped and ageing buildings have been replaced by a learning resource of the highest order, to allow unfettered teaching and enormous community opportunities. Tonight is not a launch but a re-launch; a celebration of the next phase of Haverstock School."

Cllr Lucy Anderson, Executive Member for Schools, Camden Council, said:

"The re-built Haverstock School is a fantastic asset and something the whole borough can be proud of. The first class facilities benefit not only pupils but can also be used by residents of all ages. By providing this excellent resource for the community, we are helping local people to achieve academic qualifications and learn new skills that can improve their chances of employment. At the same time, the new sports facilities will make it easier for more residents to enjoy healthy and active lifestyles."

Chair of Governors, Jim Mulligan,

"Haverstock's transformation over the past five years has been remarkable and I am honoured to have been able to contribute to the school's success. We are now heavily over-subscribed, the most improved Camden school in terms of exam performance and have one of the best designed and built school buildings in the country. Congratulations to John Dowd and all the staff at Haverstock for their commitment and hard work."

Tom O'Boyle, Kajima Manager, said:

"A unique partnership between the school and Kajima has ensured that local residents can access a state of the art sports, educational and arts facility.
Kajima is very proud of this school and the working partnership we have with the school. The facilities provided will benefit the pupils and staff for many years to come."

Notes to Editors

Background on Haverstock School

Haverstock School is a popular comprehensive school for students aged 11 to 18. It was granted specialist status as a Business and Enterprise College in 2003. It has 1150 students including 250 in the sixth form. Two-thirds of the students are boys.

Students come from a very wide range of backgrounds. Just over a third are from white British backgrounds and around a sixth from Bangladeshi and Black African heritages. Just over half speak English as an additional language. A large number of students come from homes experiencing economic hardship with over half eligible for free school meals. Nearly a quarter of students are refugees or asylum seekers. The number of students with special educational needs is high.

Haverstock School was the first in the borough to be visited under education watchdog Ofsted's new inspection framework in 2005. Judged 'good' overall, the report singled out a number of areas for praise, including:

  • the leadership of Headteacher John Dowd and his colleagues
  • significant improvements in behaviour and teaching and good capacity to improve further
  • the move to the new building being "handled well by staff"
  • and the personal development and well being of students

As Camden's Full Service School, Haverstock has already developed an impressive range of Extended School activity and has appointed an Extended School Coordinator. Activities run before and after school, in lunchtimes and at weekends.

They include breakfast, after school and revision clubs, the Somali Supplementary School, a debate and discussion club, and IT and sports. A family therapist holds sessions at Haverstock, crèche facilities are provided during parents' evenings and drop-ins are held for parents to discuss concerns around the mental health of their children.

Haverstock School is part of an Education Action Zone, entitled linccs (learning in central Camden schools) which includes its six 'feeder' primary schools.

Architect's Notes

This is the first time in its recent history that the school has been housed in a genuine purpose-built structure. An essentially compact and efficient plan form is balanced by a larger external courtyard than existed previously and the Haverstock Hill frontage provides a strong public presence announcing the school in the community.

This 1,250 place secondary school for 11-18 year olds includes provision for a large sixth form. It occupies a triangular site and originally had three different frontages to the neighbouring roads. Camden Council wanted to create a strong frontage to Haverstock Hill, a main route through the centre of the Borough. The new building creates a bold frontage with a large perforated copper screen. The body of the school hugs the site perimeter, enclosing a courtyard which can be used for informal play and also provides more formal sports areas, including a floodlit all-weather surface.

The brief called for a departmental structure with strong community use of the site. The new school was built in two phases with the bulk of teaching accommodation in the first phase to minimise disruption and provide a single move for all occupants. The second phase contained the main facilities to be shared with the local community. The site area available was very restricted, a further complication given the need to maintain the operation of the school during redevelopment. A third phase comprised the completion of the all-weather sports pitch and landscaping.

These restrictions led to a mainly three storey design with a layout which contains significant areas of double-loaded corridors - a format that we normally avoid but in this case accepted, instead providing generally naturally lit spaces with sufficient width to reduce any feeling of overcrowding. The ground floor provides the main circulation routes and here corridors are single-sided, the landscaped courtyard acting as an alternative circulation route.

The school aims to demonstrate a strong environmental approach. As far as possible the classrooms are both lit and ventilated naturally, utilising a system of ventilation shafts at the rear of the classrooms. Thermal mass has been exposed since calculations demonstrated that this will deliver benefits in terms of reducing summertime peak temperatures. Although these measures could conflict with achieving the new acoustic requirements, the acoustic lining of the natural ventilation terminals together with wall and limited ceiling mounted acoustic panels has ensured acoustic performance levels are met. Through these environmental measures the school is intended to be fit for the delivery of the national curriculum and the educational needs of students and the community that can be foreseen for the 21st century.

Client London Borough of Camden
Commissioned 2002
Completion January 2006
PFI Provider Kajima Haverstock Limited
Building Contractor Kajima Construction Europe (UK) Limited
Facilities Manager Mitie PFI
Design Team
Architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects
Structural/Civil Engineer Whitbybird
Environmental Engineer Atelier Ten
Acoustic Engineer Sandy Brown Associates
Landscape Architect Grant Associates

Press contacts: Stephanie Laslett, FCBa 01225 852545 020 7323 5737
Fliss Mills, FCBa 01225 852545

Spiral Energy Sculpture

Kisa Kawakami's Spiral Energy sculpture will be unveiled on 2 March 2006, to coincide with the official opening of the school. In 2004 Richard Feilden and Headteacher John Dowd decided to commission a suspended artwork in the entrance atrium. It was their intention to engage an artist to work with pupils on the artwork. However, following Richard's death the Governors of the school requested that the sculpture be dedicated to Richard Feilden.

The school agreed to approach a sculptor with whom Richard had collaborated on the 'Sky Dance' sculpture at the RAF Museum's Milestones of Flight building at Hendon: Japanese architect Kisa Kawakami. Kisa accepted the commission and has produced a work called 'Spiral Energy' celebrating Richard's great qualities - 'openness, energy and catalyst for group dynamics'. The 5 metre tall sculpture is formed from an intricate lattice of interlocking spirals and will be suspended in the three-storey void.

Contact info

Susie Rundle

020 7974 6021

Reference code: 06/056
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