Back to nature for pupils at Park Community Academy

Posted on June 18th, 2018

Park Academy window GIMP

Construction work is well underway on a new Key Stage 2 five classroom teaching block at Park Community Academy (PCA) in Blackpool which will see pupils learning against a woodland backdrop.

John Turner is constructing two separate wings either side of a widened funnel shaped central corridor featuring five classrooms. The corridor and roof will be heavily glazed to create the feeling of a semi-external space connecting to the outdoors.  Glulam beams will offer a natural and striking internal feature with the building being naturally ventilated and energy efficient.

The design concept of the new facility is of a timber pavilion set against the backdrop of a small woodland area that forms part of the newly extended school site.  The use of timber cladding to the exterior of the building and its visibility from the main school playground will help to create a sense of nature.

Working closely with the school, a special viewing window has been created to enable the pupils and staff to see how their new classrooms are progressing along with construction plant and operatives in action.

It is the intention of Park Community Academy to deliver the Forest School Learning Initiative (FSLI), using the adjacent woodland area. FSLI is an inspirational process offering young people opportunities to achieve and develop personal, social and life skills through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland and natural based environment.

As part of PCA’s sustainability strategy, eco-friendly features include the north facing natural glazed roof top bringing light into learning spaces, automatic opening high level windows for ventilation, low energy under floor heating, sensor controlled lighting and water saving toilets. 

The Academy provides specialist provision for pupils with a range of additional needs from across Blackpool and the Fylde coast. After a period of rapid expansion, PCA now incorporates a sixth form and caters for 259 pupils aged between three and 19.

Annie Millard, Business Manager at PCA said, ‘the children are looking forward to a much larger outdoor play area which will feature an outdoor gym. We have taken the opportunity to promote outdoor learning and improve the experience for all our pupils starting from being able to see their new classrooms being built through the special viewing window, which they really enjoy.’