Tag Archives: Kingsdale Foundation School transformation

Kingsdale Foundation School – Progressive and Inspiring

The job of a school is to educate young people.  State secondary school Kingsdale Foundation School in Dulwich knows, however, that imparting academic knowledge is only part of its role.  To succeed in life, children need to leave school as young adults prepared to meet the many challenges of the adult world.  Kingsdale Foundation School takes this aspect of education as Kingsdale Foundation schoolseriously as the rest, and seeks to inspire its students throughout their time at the school to be the best they can be as people, not just as students.

Kingsdale Foundation School views itself as a community, not just a school.  This is an important distinction, as it makes reference to the learning environment as a whole.  Kingsdale Foundation School set out to create and maintain a stimulating space in which students can learn.

Values, behaviour, hard work and dedication are vital, but the overall success of an educational establishment like Kingsdale Foundation School can be massively enhanced by the right physical environment.  When Kingsdale Foundation School underwent an architectural regeneration in the early 2000s, the senior management staff worked closely with the designers.  Together they thought outside the box, and dared to imagine a learning space for Kingsdale Foundation School that was unlike any other seen in the UK at that time.

The new Kingsdale Foundation School buildings were designed to create a sense of belonging and purpose for students within the school itself, but also to accord a sense of ownership to the wider community outside of the Kingsdale Foundation School gates.  Kingsdale Foundation School wanted to embrace and explore the interrelationship between the social and the built environment, and use this to create a school where educational achievement could be maximised for every student.

This dynamic new approach for the school has contributed greatly to the way in which Kingsdale Foundation School has transformed itself in recent years.  In the mid-1990s, Kingsdale Foundation School required significant physical improvement.   By 2010, it had become a learning environment in high demand due to its impressive academic performance, high standards of behaviour, and an atmosphere of deep respect that permeates the very fabric of the school.

Kingsdale Foundation School is rightly proud of its achievements, and continues to push the boundaries of educational excellence into the future.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Challenging Convention

Kingsdale Foundation School has been a fixture in the London borough of Dulwich since it opened its doors in 1958.  Designed by architect Leslie Martin, the original Kingsdale Foundation School buildings held strong for fifty years.  By the end of the 1990s the ravages of time, and of continual use by demanding students had taken its toll, and the Kingsdale Foundation School infrastructure was creaking. This was a problem that had to be addressed.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn the early 2000s, he led Kingsdale Foundation School into a dramatic period of redevelopment under the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme.  Kingsdale Foundation School was the pilot project for the programme.  This meant that it carried the risk of uncertainty of success, but also the benefit of having a blank canvas from which the architects dRMM could work.  There was no model of redevelopment for Kingsdale Foundation School to follow.  The designs at Kingsdale Foundation School would be the ones to set the tone for the future.  It was an exciting time.

The aims of the redevelopment initiative were not only to build a great new school on the Kingsdale Foundation School site, but also to ensure that the design selected would actively contribute to the creation of a stimulating and nurturing learning environment for Kingsdale Foundation School students.  It had been recognised that the built environment could have a significant impact on the way in which children learn, and on their behaviour.  At the time of the redevelopment, Kingsdale Foundation School was busy redefining its standards of behaviour and striving to improve its academic performance. The old buildings were working counter to that effort, and it was hoped that the new designs would change that.

Architects dRMM created a new design for Kingsdale Foundation School that captured the very essence of the old Kingsdale Foundation School.  This blended seamlessly with bright, open new elements that lifted the atmosphere within Kingsdale Foundation School and created an environment that is wholly positive. The major part of this transformation was in the construction of an impressive transparent roof structure that spans the previously open quadrangle between the main Kingsdale Foundation School buildings.

This new covered atrium has revitalised the old, dark structure, and opened it up to make the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School a light communal space that simply invites respectful communication and collaboration.  With its new buildings, and the continued hard work and dedication of staff, Kingsdale Foundation School has transformed itself into a vibrant school that is now oversubscribed and truly fit for the 21st century.

Kingsdale Foundation School – David Cameron suitably impressed

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn May 2011, Kingsdale Foundation School received a surprise visit from a very special guest. Students and teachers had prepared themselves for a mystery visitor, but when British Prime Minister, David Cameron arrived many couldn’t believe their eyes. Mr Cameron was at Kingsdale Foundation School to see for himself the remarkable transformation the school had undergone academically. The Prime Minister described Kingsdale Foundation School as “brilliant” and commended the hard work of both staff and students alike.

The Prime Minister’s visit is a direct reflection of the turnaround that has occurred at Kingsdale Foundation School over the years. The school literally transformed in the space of ten years to the highly popular and over subscribed school it is today.

Kingsdale Foundation School today boasts excellent musical facilities and its state-of-the-art music block was officially opened in 2008 by British jazz legend Courtney Pine. The ceremony saw a plethora of musical entertainment and Mr Pine praised the school for investing in its students’ musical futures. He highlighted that no such facilities were available to him as a child and they would undoubtedly encourage pupils to excel musically. Kingsdale Foundation School was given special musical and drama status in 2005 and the new music block shows that it is living up to its commitment to provide students with the best facilities possible.

Kingsdale Foundation School’s remarkable turnaround saw it ranked as the most popular school in the Borough of Southwark in 2011 based on applications. With more than 7 students competing for its available places, Kingsdale Foundation School continues to be an extremely popular choice amongst parents and students. It currently admits pupils aged 11 to 19 and is classed as a mixed secondary school with ‘academy’ status. Its sixth form allows students to study for A levels in a range of subjects, as well as post-16 scholarships in mathematics and performing/creative arts.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Buildings with a Heart

School buildings are essentially designed for learning. Yet with students spending so mucKingsdale Foundation Schoolh time within their walls, the built environment also has a responsibility to provide a space that is supportive and inclusive. Kingsdale Foundation School is one school where this concept has been embraced wholeheartedly.

Based in Dulwich, south London, Kingsdale Foundation School attracts students from across the area, many from very deprived neighbourhoods. To have a learning environment that is bright and welcoming is important to the self-esteem of all children and Kingsdale Foundation School is like a beacon of light that guides its students through their educational experience.

Kingsdale Foundation School was constructed in the late 1950s, and for forty years the mid-twentieth century architecture served the Kingsdale Foundation School community well. Yet constant use by young people takes its toll on buildings, and by the turn of the century Kingsdale Foundation School was in desperate need of physical modernisation. The school agreed to take part in an innovative programme called School Works.

Run by the Architecture Foundation, the philosophy behind School Works is all about the significant impact that the physical, built environment can have on the learning experience of students.  Kingsdale Foundation School was a prime candidate for the programme, and innovative architects dRMM set about developing designs for Kingsdale Foundation School that would revitalise the educational space, and bring the school up-to-date.

At the centre of Kingsdale Foundation School is a quadrangle nestled between the U-shaped main buildings. It was a largely unused part of the original Kingsdale Foundation School grounds. dRMM opted to retain and modernise this part of the campus, and in a stroke of architectural genius designed an awe-inspiring roof structure to span the quadrangle and create an “internal” communal space. This design was a revelation, and the introduction of open, raised walkways helps to link the old with the new, and the new covered atrium has become the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School.

The centrepiece of this new communal space is an asymmetrical geodesic structure, built from timber, which houses a spacious auditorium. Its pleasing shape gives it a heart-like appearance, and when it pulses with the music of live student performances, or the amplified murmurings of the congregated Kingsdale Foundation School population, the auditorium truly represents the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School.

Students at Kingsdale Foundation School are fiercely proud of their campus. Respect for their environment is encouraged and displayed at every turn. Prior to the building works, Kingsdale Foundation School was a school in trouble. With the dedication of staff, sound new school policies, an injection of architectural magic, Kingsdale Foundation School is now a thriving educational environment that is in high demand.

Kingsdale Foundation School | Architectural and Educational Excellence Combined

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.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn 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.

Kingsdale Foundation School | A Curriculum that moves with the times

When it first opened in 1959 the curriculum offered by Kingsdale Foundation School followed national guidelines that reflected the era. Subjects studied at the Kingsdale Foundation School of the early 1960s included the basic literacy elements of English and Maths, and many traditional subjects such as music, science, PE, geography and history. With many households still operating a traditional family unit at the time, further subjects in the Kingsdale Foundation School curriculum reflected this, including needlework and housecraft. Vocational studies were made available for older Kingsdale Foundation School students.

Reflecting changing times and a growing interest in travel, modern foreign languages already played an important role in the learning experience in the early days at Kingsdale Foundation School. The multicultural nature of the student intake at Kingsdale Foundation School will certainly have played a part in the willingness to explore these subjects, with many students coming from diverse ethnic backgrounds reflecting the wider London community.

Kingsdale Foundation School was also one of the first UK schools to add Russian to its curriculum, and some children participated in a six-country tour in the first few years following Kingsdale Foundation School’s inauguration. One Kingsdale Foundation School pupil was selected to be among 48 specially selected ambassadors for Britain by the Rhodes Educational Trust, and spent a month in Canada.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn the science curriculum at the young Kingsdale Foundation School, physical dissection of small mammals played an important part in the learning experience, and under the careful guidance of art staff, Kingsdale Foundation School pupils experimented with pottery and silk-screen printing.  Engineering, metalwork and woodwork were key parts of the education system at Kingsdale Foundation School too.

By the late 1980’s, many of these more traditional subjects had been replaced at Kingsdale Foundation School by technology based subjects, to reflect the new world era of the microchip.  Throughout its life, however, one core set of subjects has remained unchanged at Kingsdale Foundation School. These are in the areas of the performing arts – music, dance, and drama.  Kingsdale Foundation School is known within its local community as a school with a strong record of achievement in these fields.

In addition to the basic curriculum, Kingsdale Foundation School has always seen the benefit of extra-curricular activities, and numerous clubs were on offer from the outset, including science, art, ballroom dancing and radio. This pattern continues today at Kingsdale Foundation School, with staff consistently giving freely their time to ensure that students continue to receive the very best that the UK education system has to offer.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Designed for Life

Kingsdale Foundation School is a secondary school in Dulwich, south London. It has academy status for its specialism in the Performing Arts, and is one of the most oversubscribed state schools in the UK. At least seven students apply for each available place every September. KKingsdale Foundation Schoolingsdale Foundation School is a bright and vibrant environment, one where students have respect for each other, and for the school itself. Kingsdale Foundation School students are a fortunate bunch, but this apparently idyllic picture of a calm, structured, learning environment where pupils thrive has been hard won, and this is one reason why Kingsdale Foundation School students are so fiercely proud.

When Kingsdale Foundation School first opened in 1959 it was considered to be ultra-modern.    Designed by a renowned architect of the day, Kingsdale Foundation School led the way in construction ideas for many schools of the time. 40 years on, in 1999, and the fabric of the site that housed Kingsdale Foundation School was beginning to fall apart. The original Kingsdale Foundation School buildings had done their job well, but as the needs of students evolved they became unfit for modern purposes, and the dark, narrow corridors were just no longer suitable.

Foundation School agreed to take part in a £30 million pilot scheme to totally revamp its infrastructure. More than just a redevelopment project, this School Works scheme run by the Architecture Foundation worked on the premise that learning success is directly linked to the quality of the built environment in which the education takes place. Kingsdale Foundation School received a new design that not only future-proofed it for continuing technological developments, but also provided an inspiring and uplifting workspace.

The success of this pilot project was quantifiably delivered at Kingsdale Foundation School through ongoing improvements in GCSE success rates, the virtual eradication of exclusions, and a significantly and exponential increase in demand for student places. Kingsdale Foundation School students gained more than just a new place to exist. They were the fortunate recipients of a physical school space that invites them to be the best they can be.

Kingsdale Foundation School welcomes students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. Kingsdale Foundation School promotes an active celebration of this diversity. Values of acceptance, mutual respect and a commitment to succeed in whatever way is most appropriate for each student are at the core of the Kingsdale Foundation School ethos, and are stimulated by the very space in which the students learn.

Kingsdale Foundation School – A Very Modern School

After the 1997 election, the then British government launched a scheme called “Building Schools for the Future” with the specific aim of refurbishing and replacing every single state secondary school in the country.  Kingsdale Foundation School is no stranger to this concept, as it was one of the first benefit from the government’s commitment. Kingsdale Foundation School is proof that the scheme did not necessarily mean demolition for schools. The regeneration that has taken place at Kingsdale Foundation School has illustrated in the most striking way just what can be achieved through the clever blending of old and new.

Redevelopment of the site at Kingsdale Foundation School became possible under the School Works scheme run by the Architecture Foundation. Its premise is that academic and personal growth can be enhanced, or hampered, by the surrounding physical environment. When Kingsdale Foundation School agreed to take part in the project it was in drastic need of physical modernisation. The buildings which were constructed in the late 1950s were crumbling and in decay, and the students of Kingsdale Foundation School were struggling to find a positive mindset in this gloomy physical environment.

Phase one of the Kingsdale Foundation School project run by architects dRMM reconfigured the central courtyard area around which the original main building was wrapped. Initially intended to act as a space for Kingsdale Foundation School students to congregate, the area was largely underused, as a design flaw meant that student circulation was directed elsewhere on the site in order to access other buildings. dRMM sought to incorporate this space into their new design, and succeeded in doing so with the introduction of a highly complex and state-of-the-art roof structure over the courtyard, effectively creating a new internal space for Kingsdale Foundation School to use.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolThe success of this initial Phase sparked the commencement of Phase two. Kingsdale Foundation School was in need of a new music block and a new sports block. dRMM worked their design ‘magic’ once more with these two buildings, incorporating innovative shaping and construction methods into both. Kingsdale Foundation School now benefits from a sports block that is far more than the traditional “big shed”, which is often built to satisfy the dictates of Sports England. Kingsdale Foundation School sports block has been made into a Venturian decorated shed, which has a stunning twisted roof and a creative use of internal space to maximise its usability.

dRMM applied similar creative thought to the Kingsdale Foundation School music block, that includes a perforated envelope construction with glass-covered kidney-shaped openings that act as stunning roof lights on the high vertical surfaces of the building. These modern new buildings have helped to give Kingsdale Foundation School a new lease of life, and have played a key role in transforming the school into one of the most oversubscribed in London.

How Kingsdale Foundation School was returned to its former glory

Kingsdale Foundation School first opened its doors to students in the year 1957, during the public sector building boom. Leslie Martin was the architect behind it; at the time, he was the architecture department’s director at the Greater London Council. When his finished designed was unveiled, it was praised for its modern look. However, four decades later, Kingsdale Foundation School had fallen from glory; it was showing signs of deterioration, both academically and architecturally, and was in desperate need of a change.

School-works was the initiative which would eventually help to transform Kingsdale Foundation School. This project was set up by the Architecture Foundation, who wanted to see whether or not a renovation of the buildings at Kingsdale Foundation School could have an effect on students ‘self esteem and their academic performance, as well as the overall morale of the student body as a whole. The initial funding for the renovation of Kingsdale Foundation School came from the DFES, although the first phase was such a success that further funding was then provided by the local council, and other organisations, to complete more work.

The design which the architects came up with exploited the original buildings at Kingsdale Foundation School – they decided that rather than demolish the older sections, they would refurbish them and bring them into the 21st century. For example, new performance and assembly spaces were added to the auditorium area of Kingsdale Foundation School, and new dining facilities, as well as a large, translucent roof were installed in the internal courtyard. The changes made to Kingsdale Foundation School mean that learning can now beyond the standard curriculum, as students can make use of the music hall, with its recording studio, and the stage area in the auditorium, for dance and performance. Even the corridors at Kingsdale Foundation School have been given a refreshing makeover, with new stairs, ‘bridges’ and aerial walkways added.

The designers and architects spent a year consulting, planning and collaborating before the work began at Kingsdale Foundation School, and many specialist engineers and artists were brought in to help with the final creations. For instance Gordon Cowley helped with the design of the geodesic, asymmetric auditorium, and the ‘useful art’ installation was provided by Atelier van Lieshout.