Kingsdale Foundation School has been an integral part of the community in Southwark, south London, since its construction in 1958. Designed by Leslie Martin, the original Kingsdale Foundation School buildings were part of a new site that incorporated the local primary school. Kingsdale Foundation School served a socially diverse community.
During the 1970s Kingsdale Foundation School was part of a social engineering experiment designed to offer pupils from deprived inner city areas a more leafy and suburban educational setting. The challenges that this presented to Kingsdale Foundation School were numerous, but it always strived to serve its community in the most proactive manner. After more than 40 years the buildings were showing signs of wear and tear, and by 2001, it was clear that Kingsdale Foundation School needed a boost.
In conjunction with the School Works initiative operated by the Architecture Foundation, Kingsdale Foundation School volunteered to participate in a redevelopment project that would transform Kingsdale Foundation School into a modern architectural triumph. The School Works initiative at Kingsdale Foundation School was intended to illustrate how buildings can have a significant effect on the attitudes of students and staff, improving morale and raising academic standards. The result was a resounding success.
By 2010 Kingsdale Foundation School had received two very positive Ofsted reports. The dramatic improvement in the physical structure of Kingsdale Foundation School was driven by architect’s dRMM. Instead of demolishing the existing buildings and starting afresh, they took the key design decision to maintain many of the original buildings and transplant additional structures onto and around them. In adopting this approach, dRMM retained the essence of Kingsdale Foundation School, whilst adding fresh and innovative elements to the buildings that promote the sense of community that is a cornerstone of the Kingsdale Foundation School ethos.
Radically transforming the built environment at Kingsdale Foundation School in this way has helped to drive the profound change in fortunes of the school. Kingsdale Foundation School was endowed with a sense of hope for a bright future that has infiltrated the attitudes of staff and students throughout the school. As a result, Kingsdale Foundation School has enjoyed significant improvements in academic success, and is now one of the most over-subscribed schools in the country. Reports on Kingsdale Foundation School reveal that behavioural standards are extremely high, truancy levels are virtually zero, and crucially, staff turnover is low. Kingsdale Foundation School is the pride of its community once more.