Sir Jonathan North Community College


Sir Jonathan North Community College is an all-girls secondary school located off Knighton Lane East which caters for 1200 pupils aged between 11 and 16.


Sir Jonathan North Community College is an £8m BSF Design and Build. The scheme proposal provided 3084m2 of new build and 4251m2 of refurbishment works. The College comprises of 4 main buildings and three double mobiles, one of which, the main Macaulay block is part of an attractive 1930s two storey building, designated to be "of local interest" by planners.

The design philosophy centred around providing a new teaching block to house the science and Mathematics faculties and the school’s main kitchen and dining facility, replacing the 1970s CLASP building; a new reception and administrative block; new sport facilities comprising of new gym, changing rooms, and Physical Education teaching base; a programme of window replacement to the Macaulay building and remodelling elements of the existing building to accommodate those elements not included in the new build.

New Build

The design concept for the school emerged out of a creative audit of site constraints and opportunities, and the organisational aspirations of brief and vision. Consequently this has led to a holistic solution that rationalises the school adjacencies and provides the maximum visual impact on a very constrained site. The College is situated alongside The Lancaster School, with both schools having shared vehicular access, as well as being located within a residential area.

The solution has been to provide three distinct new building areas that allow the maximum new build area for teaching and learning. This has been achieved by creating;

  • A new widened entrance plaza by demolishing the existing gym to the west of Macaulay building.
  • Providing a replacement faculty of Science and Mathematics together with replacement dining hall.
  • Replacing the Gym by extending and supplementing the existing sports hall.

The Entrance Plaza

The school already benefits from a significant ‘street presence’ with the original 1930 façade of the Macaulay building having an architecture of merit presenting the girls school heritage along the entire frontage of Knighton Lane East. However the entrances no longer fulfil the functions of a modern day school. The concept was therefore to provide a new entrance function that complemented the original building. This has been achieved by providing a clear distinction between old and new with glass walls and flat roof forms that signals the approach to school and visually connects the separate pavilions of the existing buildings.

The school’s entrance is showcased by creating a new gallery and community lounge area, formed by wrapping a single storey double height glass entrance foyer around the end of the Macaulay building on the route all students and visitors will use to enter the building.

New Teaching and Dining Block

Highly visible from the enhanced student and visitor entrance to the site, a new two storey science, Mathematics and dining hall is provided in the former car park area. The layout of the building follows the geometry of the site and existing buildings that has resulted in creating a triangular plan form. This triangular form provides a deep plan with new teaching spaces wrapping round the perimeter. This creates a large central open plan area for communal activity such as dining, gallery or flexible learning. Located on the first floor, pairs of Science labs and classrooms have been grouped around a central atrium space overlooking the new learning plaza / gallery space below and serviced via a central Science Prep area.

New Sports Block

The scheme retains the existing 3 court sports hall together with the adjacent changing accommodation. A new block is constructed as an extension to the existing block which houses a replacement gym together with new changing rooms and a Physical Education classroom. The 2 new sports changing rooms are designed to serve either the gym or the external sports with access to outside from a dedicated corridor.

Façade materials

Materials for the façade of the new buildings have been chosen either to integrate the buildings into their site surroundings or to contrast with the materials of the existing Macaulay Building. The use of a local brick is proposed to integrate the building into its surroundings with intermittent use of curtain walling at natural open or circulation areas to lighten and contrast the solid nature of the brickwork and signal entry points to the building.

Key design aspects of the work included:

External / General
  • Substantially improved school building public presence and sight lines from Knighton Lane East
  • Secure cycle shelter for staff and pupils who are able to cycle to the school
  • Additional hard play area provision
  • New main school entrance
  • External dining area
  • New sports facilities
New Build
  • New Flexible “heart space” atrium providing the school with a flexible space for dining, flexible learning and community activities
  • New maths classrooms, science laboratories and prep room
  • New fitted and loose furniture providing adaptable solutions to allow the space to evolve and transform itself as the school wishes
  • New ICT infrastructure and Wi-Fi provided throughout
  • New entrance plaza accommodating main reception and administrative area
  • New gym and changing room
Retained Estate
  • Conversion of existing science laboratories into new Learning Resource Centre
  • Conversion of the existing library into English classrooms.
  • New meeting facilities
  • New ICT infrastructure throughout

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