New Kenilworth School will be 'leading light' for schools across the country

By James Smith

29th Sep 2023 | Local News

The new Kenilworth School opened at the start of September (image by James Smith)
The new Kenilworth School opened at the start of September (image by James Smith)

The new Kenilworth School will be a leading light for future schools across the country, Kenilworth Multi Academy Trust (KMAT) has said.

Some 1,860 pupils headed to the Glasshouse Lane site for the first time at the start of September, following the opening of the £56 million facility.

And while the school is set to welcome hundreds more over the coming years as more houses are built in Kenilworth, KMAT CEO Haydon Abbott said the school's benefit will extend far beyond the local community.

"We are of course really proud of what we have achieved at the new Kenilworth School," he told Nub News.

"The school will be a huge benefit to the education of thousands of local children including those in The Westwood Academy - our partner school in KMAT - and in nearby primary schools.

"But what we are also really excited about is the fact that this school can set the way forward for educational establishments and trusts across the country.

"This is more than just a building.

"What we wanted to do was go beyond the outstanding education we are providing, and start delivering something that is truly world class."

Kenilworth Multi Academy Trust wants the new school to benefit local pupils and further afield (image by David Prior, Navy Studios)

The journey to move from the Rouncil Lane and Leyes Lanes sites has taken over a decade of planning, and huge amounts of work from students, staff members, executives and trustees in KMAT, working with the local community and other partners.

Throughout the process, trust leaders have been eager to learn as much as it can from other schools, buildings and even countries to create the world-leading school.

Mr Abbott said this strive for excellence through quality and ambition - two of the trust's key objectives - is what has elevated the new school from being just a building, to a trailblazing place for young people to learn.

"The trust has learnt so much over the last decade, and this school is the culmination of years of work," he explained.

"We have taken inspiration from a huge range of buildings to create a facility that benefits all aspects of a child's education.

"This process was far more than just making sure there was space for more children, it was about making a lasting impact on the lives of every pupil that walks through the doors.

"Members of the trust spent a huge amount of time looking at other buildings and seeing how they were designed to optimise productivity and wellbeing in an immersive IT rich environment."

Break out spaces have also been created at the new school (image by David Prior, Navy Studios)

The new school has taken a large amount of inspiration from nature which has been incorporated through the biophilic design.

Key features of the design range from from the décor and layout of the classrooms and new learning resource centre, to the arrangement of the courtyards between the wings of the single school building.

An orchard has been planted and there is also a herb garden which the pupils will be encouraged to make their own and take ownership of.

Such features promote positive wellbeing and inspire creative thinking, as well as bringing parallels to the face the school has been built on the site of the former Southcrest Farm.

"The message to our staff and to our pupils is 'how can we now make this our home'," Mr Abbott added.

"Yes we have created a truly world class building, but the next step is making it a magnificent school.

"And that will come from the ambition of our teachers and the children putting their own stamp on the surroundings, taking care of them and putting the life into the corridors."

One of the key features of the new school are the courtyards (image via Glancy Nicholls Architects)

The trust has also been keen to thank the various donors who have helped pay for the "extras" to enhance the building - an example of the ambition the trust showed throughout the project.

Extra items include the seating in the theatre and kitting out the learning resource centre which has been named after the William Edwards Educational Charity which donated £250,000 to the project.

A board thanking all the donors has also been installed in the reception area.

And that engagement with the community and the independence the trust had to help develop the site has also been key to its success.

"There are so many things which teachers, pupils and parents asked us for and we have included in the design," he added.

"And that again helps this be more than just a building, but an example to other areas of how a community can come together to build a school."

Sir Jeremy Wright MP, Haydon Abbott, Shirley Whiting and Cllr Richard Hales cutting the ribbon outside the new Kenilworth School (image via KMAT)

Other features of the new building include breakout spaces between classrooms, as well as devises to monitor and adjust the air quality in classrooms, boosting productivity.

These features were incorporated to help deliver a "world class" education for local young people, Mr Abbott said.

To find out more about the history of the new Kenilworth School, follow this link to our feature on the decade of work that went into it.

And for more information on Kenilworth Multi Academy Trust, click here.

Kenilworth Multi Academy Trust sponsors Kenilworth Nub News.

Without community-minded partners like them we would not be able to produce dedicated, clickbait-free news to the people of Kenilworth.


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