King's College Maths School leads the way for free schools

November 2014

Schools specialist CityAxis recently completed the first Mathematics Free School, under the DfE and EFA development framework for King's College London. Funded by the Department for Education, the College-sponsored school is for highly gifted and motivated students, aged 16 to 19 who show a particular aptitude and enthusiasm for mathematics.

The new school required the transformation of the former 'Lambeth Baths and Laundry' along with an adjacent annexe to house the school library, administrative facilities, technology lab and staff accommodation. CityAxis put together a strong and focused team for the project, that included the architectural skills of the rpa:group. All works needed to be completed within 81 days, for the inaugural opening by the Secretary of State for Education.

Both buildings needed a complete interior refurbishment, to fulfil the vision of a connected spacious environment, featuring well-appointed and varied learning spaces, designed to encourage communication and creativity. The project was certainly not without its challenges… a tight, constrained site with a busy NHS community practice on the ground floor below; an extensive strip-out of the building along with a major antrum floor infill and the removal and replacement of all the ventilation, air handling, boilers, heating and ductwork, all needed to be carried out whilst maintaining all the services and supplies that the NHS required to remain operational.

Altogether, the school features large classrooms, two modern science laboratories, a technology workshop and a dedicated computing suite where science, engineering and robotics come alive and students are able to develop and test their ideas. The overall space has also been designed to offer numerous group rooms and break-out zones, surrounding the core teaching and learning areas. At the heart of the school is a cafeteria, connecting the various spaces, where students can meet and share their ideas in a relaxed and informal environment.

By effectively managing the opportunities within the Free Schools Programme, great projects can be achieved and King's College London Mathematics School is a clear example of what the free schools programme was set up to do and deliver.

"The building project has been inspiring, from the bold vision set out by the architects to the determination and skill of CityAxis. The project was to budget, to time and, most importantly, has created a wonderful space in which to learn" says, Dan Abramson, Head Teacher – King's College London Mathematics School

"When we first looked at the schedule for the redesign and renovation of the buildings, we were really nervous. But City Axis did a fantastic and impressive job. In September our grand opening took place in a light-filled, and fully functioning school that bore little resemblance to the dark, run-down spaces of the spring. " Alison Wolf, Chair of Governors

"The combination of a strong and dedicated team, with the correct focus and ethos, proves that the often challenging Free Schools Programme can offer the right solution in spite of difficult timeframes - and can achieve great success," concludes Kim Ridge, Managing Director of CityAxis.


Kings Maths Free School

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