Sir Francis Drake Primary Expansion Gets Green Light

Planning permission has been granted for the expansion of Sir Francis Drake Primary School in Greenwich.

A new building, which will be delivered by LSI Architects and constructed by Kier, along Scawen Road, Greenwich will be split into two adjoining blocks, a 2 storey teaching block and a 1.5 storey hall block, with the shape and positioning of these blocks creating a central courtyard space.

The new facilities, funded by the Education Funding Agency, will provide 14 new classrooms for pupils ranging from Reception to Year 6, as well as specialist teaching areas, learning resource centres and new staff facilities, with the new hall block acting as a heart of the school for pupils, staff and the community.

Peter Courtney, Associate Partner at LSI Architects, commented “The design has been driven by the schools ethos of being ‘a happy, welcoming school with a family atmosphere’, to promote a building that is accessible to all, is inclusive and has equal opportunities for all staff, pupils and visitors.”


The school is on a tight urban site at a prominent junction of the Southern Railway Line and London Overground line, surrounded by a mixture of residential, industrial and open park areas.

As found within the existing building, there is a strong relationship between inside spaces and outside spaces, with the incorporation of a courtyard within the centre of the site.

Distinctive proposed coloured reveals change colour as you orientate around the building, referencing the context and aiding wayfinding around the building, with a gradient effect enabling a different view of the building from different corners.

The brick patterning on the facade is as an abstract form relating to the key ethos of the community spirit within the school. Inspiration was derived from a plaque above the main entrance to the school which features the quote ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’.

The pattern is seen as a series of house roofs rationalised from a mosaic on the plaque which was created by pupils from the school. The resulting form creates a welcoming pattern, which when viewed from afar acts as a relief that gives depth to the facade.

Sustainability is at the centre of the design, with low energy design solutions fundamental drivers of the orientation and layout of the scheme and the choice of construction materials. The new building is expected to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’ status.