Holy Family RC Primary School

The new build Holy Family Primary school comprises a single stream primary and 64 place early years facility within the wider Winchburgh schools development. We worked closely with West Lothian Council to develop key drivers and aspirations for the project resulting in a design that offers a series of flexible spaces arranged around two core central spaces to provide the opportunity for pupils of all ages to interact and learn from each other.




West Lothian Council / Hub South East



The site is located on the Western approach to the village of Winchburgh, a rapidly expanding town within West Lothian. The Holy Family primary school is located on the Eastern edge of the site adjacent to future phases of residential development.

The design embodies the themes that originated from the Visioning discussions with West Lothian Council and the wider design team groups. The arrangement of the new school buildings on the site is intended to create a family of buildings that in some regards are alike and in other regards have their own identity. The location of Holy Family primary school on the prominent Eastern boundary means that it will be highly visible to passing traffic and will act as a ‘gateway’ building in the village.

The overarching design description and aspiration for the entire project is ‘school buildings in a park’

The school has been designed to be built in two phases, the first phase will provide a single stream primary, accommodating 231 pupils with an early years facility accommodating 64 children.  As the masterplan build out develops there will be a requirement for a future second phase to be added to the school, providing a second stream, increasing the capacity by an additional 231 pupils and a further 64 nursery pupils. The design had to factor in the future doubling of capacity.
jmarchitects held early design workshops with West Lothian Council and this interface allowed us to propose a design approach based on key themes and design drivers, ensuring that the brief developed, and that design and project aspirations were achieved.  Central to the scheme is a double height dining space that offers flexibility for breakout teaching and provides connection to all areas of the school.  The adjacent gymnasium opens up to the dining area, allowing flexibility and movement for larger groups or performances whilst the heller-up seating offers opportunities for smaller groups to gather or learn.  Classroom accommodation is semi-open plan providing connection with adjacent flexible breakout zones whilst offering views over the landscaped playground.

West Lothian Council have a strong belief in developing the way that education is delivered through an open collaborative learning environment and the design proposals seek to envisage this, providing a series of flexible interchangeable spaces within an overall building plan that provides opportunities for pupils of all ages to interact and learn from each other.

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The Challenge

Creating a new primary school that would achieve West Lothian Council’s aspirations for an exceptional new learning environment with the flexibility of future expansion.   A new school that could fulfil the role of a central community orientated public building with a distinct identity while being part of a collection of education buildings within one site.

The Solution

Working closely with West Lothian Council allowed us to understand their expectations and develop key design drivers. Our approach was to ensure that West Lothian Councils belief in the way education is seen and delivered was embraced by the design team and contractor, ensuring that our building design provided a building that offers flexibility, openness, natural light and ventilation.

The Outcome

A contemporary school building that acts as a gateway building to the Winchburgh schools site with a distinctive form and key internal spaces. An educational facility that offers the opportunity for an open collaborative learning environment, where the children can utilise flexible interchangeable spaces and visual connections within the building to allow them to interact with pupils of all ages and learn from each other.

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