Surrey Square School Early Years' Centre

Southwark, London


The new Early Years Centre is the fourth and final phase of a 10-year masterplan of improvement works and new buildings at Surrey Square School, a popular and much loved primary school on the edge of the Aylesbury Estate in South London (which is also undergoing enormous change). This project follows a new earth covered dining building, internal works to the existing school building and the successful application for planning consent for a nine-unit residential development. The proceeds from the sale of the site of the residential development funded this new Early Years Centre (EYC).

The Early Years Centre comprises a new-build classroom in the playground and the re-fit of two existing classrooms in the main school building. New external doors to the school link all these spaces together and provide access to a shared outdoor play area. A new external toilet block also formed a part of the project.

The new-build classroom accommodates 30 children aged 3-5 and has an adjoining creche for 8 children aged 0-3. The building was conceived as a peaceful and inspiring learning environment, filled with natural light from the extensive glazing at high level. The building replaces dilapidated Portacabins with poor levels of daylight and poor thermal performance.

The building is a fast-track, light-weight, low carbon glue-laminated (glulam) and structural insulated panel system (SIPs). The entire outer shell and structural frame of the building was manufactured off-site and transported by 5 lorries from Hereford. Once on site it was craned into position and fully assembled in 2 weeks and 1 day. The FSC certified timber shell was then clad on the outside with Western Red Cedar shingles and fit-out of the internal spaces commenced concurrently. Ground works began in September 2015 and pupils moved into their new classroom in June 2016.

"The newly completed Surrey Square Nursery building, for 2 year olds and Nursery-aged children, is an impressive and high quality build for this age group. It is light, spacious, and attractive, very thoughtfully designed, both indoors and outdoors, to meet the specific educational and developmental needs of very young children. It makes a good, strong connection to the reception classes in the main school, which the children will move on to, providing excellent conditions for continuity and progression in learning"

Dany Thomas
Senior Education Adviser, Southwark Children's and Adults' Services 

"WOW, this place is awesome!"
"This is the best new nursery ever."
"I love our new nursery"

Surrey Square School nursery pupils

"It feels so light and airy in here, not like our old nursery which felt dark and dingy."
"Such a beautiful, well thought out space."
"It's like a home, I could live here."

Surrey Square School nursery staff