According to Historic England, there are over 5,000 listed school buildings in England alone and there will be many more across the UK that are worthy of preservation despite not being listed.
These days refurbishment of historic school buildings is generally preferred over demolition. Thankfully the days of the Government’s Building Schools For The Future programme of the early years of this millennium are over. Back then, building new state-of-the-art school buildings seemed to be the main goal and bodies such as English Heritage and the Victorian Society joined the debate to try and turn the focus to the importance of preserving current buildings, not just because of their architectural and historic significance, but because of the important role played by schools in the local community.
In 2023, reuse is a popular strategy due to the sustainability agenda. Individual buildings can be renovated to become greener versions of themselves and repurposed to accommodate sophisticated technology and new equipment. Refurbishment often means less disruption for the school than rebuilding as it can take less time and cost less, meaning fewer teaching hours and resources are compromised.
When it comes to the windows at these buildings, new frames can be manufactured to match the exact size and style of the existing ones so that none of the original character is lost and these new windows will bring advantages such as better thermal performance, increased daylight and tighter security.
Clement Windows Group has been privileged to manufacture new steel windows and doors to replace the originals at a number of heritage school projects and here we look at the most recently completed.
Trent Young’s C of E Primary School
Trent Young’s Church of England Primary School is located in Trent, a village and civil parish situated in North West Dorset, in the beautiful Yeo Valley. The Trent Conservation Area was designated in February 1970 and many of its structures are listed due to their historical and architectural significance, including a number of medieval and Tudor buildings.
Between 1835 and 1875, Reverend Turner and his wife occupied the village rectory and together built a great number of the buildings that are survive in the village today, including the Alms Houses. In 1862, the Turners constructed the National School which was to be for girls and infants. Since its induction, the school has seen many changes, including the introduction of boys and the expansion of the buildings and today the school is Grade II listed.
Unsurprisingly, the original metal windows at the school were not fit for purpose and the time came to replace them. This required great sensitivity as it was imperative that the new windows looked as similar as possible to the originals.
The Clement Brooking range was specified because the slim, strong frames could replicate the wonderful shaped heads of the existing windows and they could be fixed directly to stone. The 16mm krypton filled units offer the much improved thermal performance required and, like all Clement steel windows, the frames could be fitted with restrictors, which are essential for safety.
Developed for buildings which require a specialist ‘putty fronted’ system, the Brooking range is specifically for use in sensitive fenestration projects where a traditional appearance is required and can be specified as either single glazed or insulated glass units. This makes the range perfect for Listed Buildings such as this one where strict Building Regulations apply.
Ros Baker, the Deputy Headteacher of the school at the time, said: “The transformation the windows have made to our school and the local area is fantastic. Many local residents have commented positively on the ‘new look’ windows. They have been sympathetically upgraded, in keeping with the original school building and have had a positive effect on our school environment. Furthermore, there was no impact on the staff or the children during the refurbishment.”