Pupils and staff of Coombe Hill Infants’ School have been celebrating the completion of their new main entrance with a visit from Floppy, a familiar story character. Potter & Holmes Architects designed and oversaw construction of the entrance and extended staff facilities.

“The whole school community is delighted with the front of school extension. It provides a comfortable covered outside waiting area and a light, spacious, welcoming Reception. The children particularly love the desk which displays their own art work’ said Mrs Sarah Hobhouse, headteacher of Coombe Hill Infants’ School.
She added “the new planning area for staff and additional meeting room enables increased communication and space for our large year group teams to work closely together. I recently overheard a long-serving staff member saying ‘I love this place!’. Perhaps this is why our staff turn over is so low?!”

Potter & Holmes Architects worked with structural engineers E&M West LLP to design the timber-framed extension to be a reception and staff room for the school. A friendly welcome area for pupils and visitors is created by an oak clad wall outside the entrance shaped into a continuous curved bench beneath a canopy sheltering parents and children waiting outside. This leads into a double height foyer with a new reception desk laser printed with pupils’ drawings of animals. This is suitable for all ages and abilities and is separate from the administration suite and a Deputy Head’s office.

The extension also creates a staff room with workstations and a planning area within a large bay window overlooking a private garden behind the entrance. The timber framed construction achieves U values well beyond current Building Regulation, is insulated using natural materials and has underfloor heating. Natural ventilation cools it in summer and south-facing windows provide natural light and aspect. The contractor was Russell Cawberry Ltd which has worked on numerous educational buildings and has an excellent working relationship with the school.