The Challenge:

Hartsdown Academy is underpinned by its S.T.R.I.V.E (Scholarship, Teamwork, Resilience, Integrity, Vision, and Excellence) ethos. In an effort to fulfil it ethos, the Academy wanted to increase the quality and provisions of their existing library and extend their facilities in science and music.

They also wanted to establish team working environments to enable and encourage collaboration between different departments. Their focus was to demonstrate excellence in all their subject offerings, in particular music, art and performing arts.  

In addition, the Academy had reinforced its commitment in providing a successful learning environment for students with special education needs (SEN) and disabilities. The number of students with hearing disabilities in the academy highlighted the need for carpeting and provision of hearing loops. There were also a number of students who were reliant on information and communication technology (ICT) provisions to assist with writing, indicating that ICT provisions would be required in the new build proposal.

The Academy also expressed the desire for toilets to be located within the new building to make it easier to manage and reduce opportunities for bullying and smoking by students. They also expressed the need for the design of the new building to accommodate accessible toilets.

The Solution:

The new teaching block, completed as part of phase one, offers a variety of teaching and communal spaces including MFL rooms, multi material rooms, kitchen, dining hall, pupil toilets and staff toilet including accessible toilets, SEN rooms, library, electronics rooms, food tech room, classrooms, graphics room, ICT rooms, arts rooms, textiles rooms, two stair wells to access the various floors and a lift.


The phase two modular building adjoins the existing sport hall building and provides, ICT rooms, music rooms, activity studio, PE storeroom, pupil changing rooms, and accessible toilets.


The mechanical and electrical design supports sustainability by utilising a combination of natural ventilation, air handling units and heat recovery units. The new state-of-the-art communication systems also underpins the Academy’s commitment to diversity and supporting SEN students including a public access (PA) system and a hearing loop system which is a special sound facility used by people who are hard of hearing.


The finishes to both the new teaching block and modular building includes a mixture of carpets and vinyl to the flooring, suspended acoustic ceiling tiles and plasterboard ceilings. The external landscape is designed to encompass both turfed and tarmacked areas with allocation for new bin stores, cycles storage and paved car parking spaces.


The Impact:

The new buildings will enable the Academy to fulfil its S.T.R.I.V.E ethos by providing quality learning facilities in the Sciences and Music disciplines as initially intended. It also underpins their commitment to providing high spec facilities to support SEN students and those with disabilities.


The buildings also now incorporate various new security and building management systems including a fire and intruder alarm system, access control & A/V intercom system, and IP based CCTV system with active recording.


The Academy now hosts fantastic SEN facilities, the provision of the SEN rooms and hearing loop system will ensure that student with special education needs and other disabilities now have adequate learning environments and spaces required for a successful education. Similarly, student dependent on special ICT provisions for writing are now in the position to adequately do so without disruptions thanks to the various ICT spaces provided.


In addition, previous concerns expressed by the Academy on bullying and smoking in the toilet areas have now been mitigated by the provision of accessible toilet areas for use by disabled students. Able-bodied toilet areas also have open wash and hand drying stations by the means of a dwarf wall design eliminating the need for fully enclosed able-bodied toilet rooms. 

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