Aurora Poppyfield SEN School

Tailored learning in a unique environment

Working in close collaboration with Archway Building Consultancy and The Aurora Group, we have designed the total refurbishment and upgrade an existing hall building to accommodate a new special needs school in Effingham, Surrey. Breathing life into the property with a provision that meets local need, the school will become an essential part of the community – delivering tailored learning and specialised support for young people aged 11-16.

Located in both Green Belt and Conservation Area constraints, the original building was constructed in the early 1930s for the Royal British Legion (RBL), who have retained a presence at the site ever since. Under the proposals, the RBL retain use of part of the site, with access to school facilities potentially available outside of school hours.

Although the site remains an essential administration centre for the RBL offer in the area, use of the bar and dance hall had long diminished and the building was in danger of deteriorating beyond repair. Structurally the building was sound, with only minor strengthening required. 

In response to the Climate Emergency, The Aurora Group made the bold decision to change from gas-powered boilers to an electric heating and cooling system for the new use. In time it is hoped that this will be supported by photovoltaic solar collectors and Air Source Heat Pumps.

Our proposals retained the majority of the existing external fabric, with new openings introduced for daylight, ventilation and views to the surrounding landscape. Thermal envelope has been upgraded with new insulation, while all single-glazed windows have been replaced with double-glazed units. Although not mandatory for projects such as this, an EPC has been commissioned and to evidence the improvements made.

Internally, rooms are arranged to make best use of the existing structure while delivering the spaces necessary for a safe and supportive learning environment.

Click here to view a walkthrough of the building.