TES Schools Awards 2009 - Outstanding new or refurbished primary school

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Winner - Forest Way School, Coalville, Leicestershire

This 136-pupils special school is in the National Forest. Natural and sustainable materials have been used for its new building wherever possible.

Many of its pupils, who have a wide range of special needs, spend long periods of time in hospital, so Lynn Slinger, the headteacher, was determined that their new school would not have institutionalised corridors. The main corridor has curved walls with giant images of woodlands through the seasons. The floor looks like a river and the lower part of the walls like grass.

At the centre of the school, oak trees appear to drape themselves over a woodland floor and the children activate the sound of birdsong and water as they move. An 8ft oak leaf greets visitors at reception.

Pupils were involved in the design brief.

The building is sustainable. It has a wind turbine that provides about 7 per cent of the electricity, and a rainwater harvesting system produces water to flush the toilets.

Judges' verdict: "The building has flair, imagination, functionality," they said. "This outstanding project combines a range of aesthetics with a brilliant choice of materials." They were delighted with this "very special school" and praised the "massive child and parent involvement".

TES Schools Awards 2009:

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