St John’s C of E Primary School

“Overall another great experience with jmarchitects, the completed scheme looks very attractive and has been well received by the School. The DFE’s Capital Works Director visited St John’s and said it was the best project she had visited this year” John Wilson, EWC




Eric Wright Construction for the Department for Education



St John’s is a one form entry Church of England Primary School located within the Heaton Mersey suburb of Stockport. St John’s Primary School forms part of the Government’s Priority School Building Programme [PSBP] which is a centrally-managed programme set up to address the needs of the schools most in need of urgent repair.

From the outset the objective was to create a highly legible plan form with simple program of spaces responding directly to the school’s key adjacencies and vision briefing. Infant accommodation was proposed on the ground floor with direct access to  external areas for reception and Year 1. A multi-use practical room was proposed for food tech /science, before and after school club and practical activities (specially requested by the school). At the centre of the plan is the staff / administration zone. Junior classrooms are on the first floor alongside a library, group rooms and a staffroom. A secure entrance is located centrally with access to the reception / general office and an interview room. The remaining portion of the ground level contains the main hall, kitchen and storage.

The school is on the edge of a conservation area which contributed to the inclusion of brick materiality. The use of brick in a similar colour was to compliment and respect the character of the area. To add interest to the façades, whilst also breaking the mass of the building down (by splitting the levels via the elevation treatment), it was proposed to create a pattern with the brick at high level with over sailing header details and utilise a monk’s bond (or Yorkshire Bond) brickwork pattern in keeping with the surrounding vernacular. The modern and clean lines of the design was aiming to be representative of our times, whilst the overall design of the building also respected and encompassed its surroundings, both in scale and materiality.

Project gallery

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The Challenge

The need for a replacement school has been ongoing for approximately four years, with alternative sites considered but were found unsuitable. The proposed site held several issues that required resolving. The area historically contained brickworks with deep clay pits, reservoirs and train tracks to move the excavated clay to the brick kiln, and later a domestic refuse.

The Solution

The design of the replacement school has been informed by consultation with Planning/ Conservation Officers, along with the surrounding neighbours and the school itself. The proposed design combines traditional elements with contemporary features making it aesthetically interesting yet appropriate for its surroundings.  Incorporating brick detailing to break up the façade creates a contemporary feature reminiscent of the surrounding traditional vernacular.

The Outcome

Overall the final design responds positively to the character of the area and the site.  The proposals are respectful to the nearby conservation area and make a statement similar to that of the existing surrounding terraces. The brick bond is an attractive feature of the street and is something drawn upon in the design.

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