Frittenden School, Kent

Frittenden CofE Primary School is a small, rural school which is Grade II listed. The school buildings did not meet government design guidance, and this made it difficult to meet the requirements of Ofsted and Every Child Matters.

Burns Guthrie’s proposals for extending and remodelling the buildings allowed for a significantly wider range of facilities to be provided, including a library, an ICT suite, and a hall to enhance drama, debating and discussion activities. These facilities now benefit the whole community in its work to support local children and young people, and the development ensures the continued use of the buildings as a primary school fit for the 21st century, maintaining a sustainable community.

The planning process was lengthy because of the listed status of the school and its proximity to the listed St Mary’s church and required applications to two planning authorities. In addition, there were ecological constraints, and it was also necessary to apply for a footpath diversion.

The design was contemporary in style with modern interpretations of the original details, such as the low-level oriel window in the nursery – at a perfect height for small children. Glazed gables let light flood in and, in the ICT suite, frame a magnificent view of the neighbouring church.