Valley Invicta Primary School, Kings Hill

Valley Invicta Primary School is a new school that was built to provide additional school places for families moving into new residential developments at Kings Hill, a modern and expanding garden village in Kent. The design had to be future-proofed for enlargement to a three-form entry school, with the construction taking place in two phases. The completed first phase provided a one-form entry school with special educational needs provision for children on the autism spectrum. A future phase will expand the school to three-form entry, to accommodate extra places that will be required as Kings Hill grows.

A variety of options for the position of the building on the site were scrutinised. The chosen position was determined in response to the need for a compact plan that met funding requirements, optimised energy-efficiency and took into consideration orientation, a new road layout, flood risk and requirements for car parking and on-site drop-off facilities.

Valley Invicta was part of a county-wide school expansion programme and had to respond to an overall design ethos. The design also had to be in harmony with Valley Invicta Academy Trust’s ethos, values and teaching methodologies.

The resulting L-shaped building allows the core facilities, such as the hall and the learning resources, to be at the heart of the school, with teaching accommodation in two wings. Classrooms are arranged either side of a wide, central activity zone.

The building utilises thermal mass of exposed soffits, natural ventilation with heat-recovery, and optimisation of natural light. The use of coloured panels to window assemblies brings a vibrancy and delight to the elevational treatment.