The King John School – School Development Plan

Key Facts:

Client Name: The King John School
Location: Thundersley, Essex
Type of client: Education, Secondary Academy
Disciplines provided by M+C: Asset Management | Architectural Design | Bid development and Application | Building Surveying | Procurement | Project Management | School Development Plan
M+C Lead: Lee Hatwell

Munday + Cramer’s relationship with The King John School spans in excess of ten years, initially in an ad-hoc project-based role, but culminating in a significant strategic role; assisting the school in developing and implementing a cohesive development strategy in line with the school’s aims and long-term plans.

As a fast-growing and extremely successful academy (rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted), The King John School continually places increasing pressure on its facilities, located within a limited urban site with clear boundaries. Further to a range of successful project-based appointments, M+C were appointed to work with the school at a strategic level with the Governors and Senior Management Team to develop the School Development Plan.

M+C undertook a range of preliminary research work including full curriculum assessments across the school, building condition surveys and collaborative work with external agencies (both public and private sector) to fully understand not only the building and facilities portfolio, but also the long-term opportunities that existed with external funding sources. A comprehensive schedule of needs/opportunities was then presented; for both capital works and revenue/maintenance activities (by way of a 5-year asset management plan), enabling the Senior Management Team to determine the ongoing focus for the development plan.

The master plan could then be further progressed, undertaking feasibility and appraisal studies of the individual options; enabling alternative solutions to be sought in order to reflect on factors such as internal/external funding availability and government schemes and initiatives and thus arrive at an effective, prioritised and rigorous development plan.

In the intervening period, Government priorities have changed, as have the needs of the school. An early item included significant rebuilding of elements of the school under the Building Schools for the Future rationale. This model was subsequently shelved by Central Government, leading the school to seek alternative solutions to deal with the issues posed. In this case, funding from EFA has been successfully sought to resolve many of the long-term maintenance issues.

As a result of the development plan, a range of significant capital schemes, as well as numerous minor works have been successfully delivered. Given the limitations of the site, this close involvement has enabled M+C to work more broadly within the project framework to ensure that issues such as planning can be alleviated. Works have attracted significant funding from a range of sources, including ACMF, CIF and Essex County Council. Such schemes include:

6th Form Centre – New Build/Extension

The Government’s “Raising the Participation Age” (RPA) agenda placed an incredible pressure on the school’s existing 6th Form provision. Being the only 6th Form provider within the Castle Point region; within two years, intake was expected to double to 500 students.

Whilst the design and construction proposed (and ultimately utilised) was of a simple nature, the location of the school in a green belt area present major challenges to achieve planning permission for the scheme following an initial decline. M+C worked with a range of agencies and stakeholders to ensure that the scheme could successfully achieve planning permission to deliver a significant new, dedicated 6th Form block incorporating a new, larger common room including cafeteria facilities, a new IT study suite as well as additional teaching spaces.

More information about this project can be found here.

Humanities Block – Remodelling/Refurbishment

As part of the ongoing school development programme, The King John School instigated a scheme to redevelop an existing building serving as a hall for the school’s extra-curricular youth centre. The facility underwent a complete remodelling, a minor extension and was fully refurbished in order to provide a dedicated block for the vibrant humanities faculty which required additional space within the school.

Formerly a large hall, the new humanities block was extended, including a large glass feature to two elevations, and sub-divided to provide seven new class-bases, as well as facilities for teachers and staff including a dedicated kitchen.

In keeping with the general enhancement of the school’s buildings and to overhaul what was thought of a drab building; the new humanities block features contemporary exterior finishes of cedar cladding, whitewashed walls and aluminium roof trimming, along with significant feature glazing including a decked veranda area overlooking the playing fields doubling the potential uses for the facility as a pavilion building for sporting events.

Further information about the Humanities Block scheme can be found here.

Hall/Theatre – New Build

In line with The King John School’s growth plans, and a planned increase in Pupil Admission Numbers (PAN) to move to a 12-form entry, the existing hall facilities within the school were not adequate. This created issues in maintaining the school’s ability to deliver whole year group assemblies, as well as impacting on increased curriculum requirements for performance areas to support music and drama teaching.

The scheme was fully supported by Essex County Council, enhancing the credibility of the project in both planning and funding terms.

The building’s design is a pentagon shape, to reflect the geometry of the existing buildings and make the best use of space on a limited site. It’s unique shape also allows the new hall to sit better within the existing building layout, whilst also enhancing the acoustic properties of the building. The central location is chosen to best suit the linear school layout and to be away from surrounding residential properties.

Further information and images can be found here.

Kitchen – Refurbishment

With a very busy school catering service, The King John’s School’s kitchen facilities were beginning to show significant signs of wear and tear, with a number of H&S issues being generated, in addition to the presence of low-risk ACMs, along with failing kitchen equipment.

As part of the strategic development plan, a complete refurbishment of the kitchen was identified as a potential ACMF bid for capital funding from the EFA. Robust supporting evidence (EHO, fire officer and professional catering reviews) in addition to a full asset management plan derived from condition surveys aided the development of a weighty case. Coupled with a detailed budgetary plan and draft programme, a strong bid submission was provided which was ultimately successful.

The scheme successfully attracted full funding from the EFA, with works undertaken over the summer recess and completed by the end of the summer holidays in time for preparing for the new school year. The work has created a new kitchen facility making better use of space (developed by our catering kitchen designer), with enhanced equipment, enabling further promotion and development of the school’s catering offering.

More information about the refurbishment can be found here.