Warden Hill Primary School

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire


Gloucestershire County Council


Cheltenham, Gloucestershire


£7.6 million

We delivered a highly sustainable primary school in Gloucestershire, creating a sense of unity between the infant and junior schools.

The challenge

Warden Hill’s site consisted of two existing buildings, a former infant and junior school, which had consolidated into a single two-form entry primary school. The buildings were in poor condition and the school suffered from a lack of unity due to the physical separation of infants and juniors.

Our approach

Through a carefully considered feasibility study, we explored a range of options which ranged from refurbishment through to new-build solutions. Ultimately it was agreed that a replacement school was the appropriate solution, and we developed a design to provide this while keeping the existing school operational, avoiding costly temporary buildings and minimising disruption to the existing school. To enhance the existing external learning environment, our landscape team worked with the school to provide new and refurbished outdoor spaces.

Throughout the process, our team carried out public consultation as well as delivering talks to the school so pupils, parents, and teachers all know what to expect from their new space.

The results

The school’s features include a double-height central ‘heart-space’, multi-purpose hall with full catering kitchen, studio, spaces for before and after school provision, and a library. Classrooms are connected to the environment with external teaching areas. The building is arranged with north-facing glazing maximising views of the Cotswold hills, blurring the boundaries between the building and its environment.

Our landscape team designed a range of outdoor spaces, including external classrooms, social seating and dining areas, an orchard, and a play area.

The school is the most sustainable primary school in Gloucestershire and has been designed to meet the council’s commitment for all schools to be carbon neutral by 2030. The building design uses a fabric-first approach with solar panels on the roof, high levels of natural daylight, LED lighting, highly efficient air source heat pumps, and reused building materials.