Bexhill Academy, originally designed by Devereux Architects, was completed in 2010. The building was designed to ‘deliver a new way of teaching and learning in a progressive environment that dispenses with the established norms and is flexible enough to adapt to different learning styles.’
This was to be achieved by providing large 240m/sq open plan learning zones where 90 children would be supervised by 5/6 teachers. However, the lack of any visual or acoustic separation between groups within the large open plan spaces made them challenging learning spaces. The Academy was placed in Special Measures in 2012. The DfE and Ofsted inspections identified the teaching of large groups within the open plan spaces as a major contributing issue.
Due to our extensive experience in education design, Evolution was appointed to work with the Academy to identify aspects of the building design that impacted the learning environment, the health and safety of building users and the day to day management of the Academy, and assist with a funding application.
The funding application was successful and Evolution then acted as Architect and Lead Designer to develop a design for sub-dividing all the large spaces, including the specialist teaching spaces, and providing additional accommodation including a new mezzanine in the internal atrium. The design had to give consideration to the existing services, natural ventilation and fire engineering strategies, as well as the need for the construction to be undertaken in phases to enable the Academy to remain in operation.
Evolution undertook all construction drawings, managed the tender process and acted as Contract Administrator for the 13 month construction contract.
After the completion of the work, in 2017 the Academy was rated as Good by Ofsted. This was mainly down to the hard work of the staff and pupils, however it was recognised that the positive changes to the built environment made this possible.