2nd new primary school for North Solihull gets go-ahead

(22nd November 2007)

Plans to build a replacement school that will sit at the heart of the first new Village Centre in the area covered by the £1.8bn Regenerating North Solihull area have been given the go-ahead.

Costing £7million, a contractor to build the new Kingfisher Primary School in the heart of Smith's Wood is set to be appointed in the next month, with work commencing on site before the end of the year. Pupils are expected to move from the current school into this new state-of-the-art extended primary school by the end of 2008.

The new school, which is being built on the playing fields of the current school in Kingfisher Drive, Smith's Wood, will accommodate 420 children, ensuring it is large enough to cater for an anticipated 40 per cent increase in the number of potential pupils living in the area, as it is regenerated over the coming years.

The school has been designed by award-winning Birmingham practice Architects Design Partnership (ADP), the same architectural practice that designed the first new primary school for North Solihull, Kingshurst Primary School, which is almost completed. The new Kingfisher Primary School will provide 2,500 sq m of state-of-the-art teaching space, with additional space for parish council use, and extended services including health and social care. Community facilities within the building will be available to local residents both during and outside of school hours.

The new Kingfisher Primary School will form the centrepiece of the first of five new Village Centres being developed in North Solihull as part of a 15-year regeneration programme that will also see the construction of 8,000 new homes and the creation or replacement of 10 new primary schools in total.

The new school will include a 30 place nursery that will provide 'wrap around care' for young children. It will also have a crèche and facilities for adult learning. Proposals are for the building to be open and operational from 8am up to 10pm, throughout the week, for 50 weeks a year.

Councillor Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull Council said: "As well as being the next exciting stage in transforming education for children in North Solihull, the construction of the new Kingfisher Primary School is also the first step in providing the first new Village Centre in North Solihull.

"The new school will provide a modern and inspiring educational facility for the children in the area, and it will also offer a variety of services that further demonstrates our commitment to providing joined up services for the whole community, particularly those families with young children.

"Education is the cornerstone of this ambitious regeneration project and every new school in the area is another step towards our long term goal of raising the educational achievement and aspirations of North Solihull's young people, and eventually creating a community that is truly sustainable."

The design of the new Kingfisher School features a single storey classroom area, and a two-storey element for community use. Ground floor classrooms will be able to directly access secure outdoor teaching areas. Different colour glazing to diffuse light will be used throughout the exterior of the building, whilst architectural metal slats will be a feature on the front elevation to provide shade from the sun within the main circulation areas.

Environmentally sound child-friendly materials are being used to enhance the feeling of safety, remove the risk of injury, and crucially to create a welcoming environment at the new Kingfisher School.

Following the construction of the new school, the current school buildings will be demolished and the area will be included in the second phase of the Village Centre development, which is likely to include health and youth facilities, as well as elements of residential and retail.

The regeneration programme, which is taking place in the three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge, is being driven by the North Solihull Partnership, a consortium made up of Solihull Council, housebuilder Bellway, registered social landlord Whitefriars Housing Group and regeneration specialists Inpartnership.

Janet Bradbury, chief executive of North Solihull Partnership said: "Kingfisher Primary School is the second primary school to be rebuilt in only the second year of this 15 year project. One new primary school per year is a key element of the Regenerating North Solihull programme, with 10 planned for the area in total, at a cost of Â£70million.

"In addition, the Building Schools for the Future project - which North Solihull is privileged to be in receipt of the second wave of funding for - will deliver inspirational secondary schools for all, marking an additional investment of £84m in education.

"This intensive investment injection in new educational facilities in one concentrated area has not been seen in the UK since the 1960s. We have a remarkable opportunity in North Solihull to transform education and raise achievement, and we recognise that in doing so, this project will command not only national but international attention."


Press release drafted by Alun Thorne. Contact Core Marketing, 0121 643 8151.