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Prefab School Case Study

Response to Coalition Governments 2011 school spending review

In future new school and college buildings 'should be based on a clear set of standardised drawings and specifications that will incorporate the latest thinking on educational  requirements.' - Sebastion James, Group Operations Director of Dixons Retail, who led the government-commissioned review. Source/news link -

Reepham College - a  successfully trialled  prototype  


The recently completed, popular and multi award winning Reepham College scheme design, see photographs above and below,  is in effect a successfully trialled  prototype for the above approach




2011 -  Reepham Society Award ( Member of the Council for the Protection of Rural England)

2010 - Concrete Society Award (Certicate of Excellence)

2009 - Norfolk Association of Architects Award for Outstanding Carftsmanship


Key features -


  • Precast concrete frame, wall panels, floors and roof - a very carefully considered and resolved modulor approach with various permutations.
  • Naturally ventilated using CO2 controlled motorized opening lights – includes ICT, LRC and media suites
  • Concrete mass used for natural cooling using night purge
  • Exceptionally robust
  • 31 day build duration for superstructure
  • Low energy 
  • The project was the first in the UK to feature the use of Tarmac Precast sandwich wall panels supplied to site with integrated insulation.     
  • High quality - see Awards
  • Affordable



ICT suite -  natural cross/stack ventilation supplemented when required by Photo Voltaic powered 'windcatchers'


Reepham College - Learning and Resource Centre - 120 computers in naturally ventilated, naturally lit environment with automated temperature, C02 and automated Faber blind glare control
Reepham Sixth Form College - natural lighting and cross/stack ventilation to first floor corridor
Reepham Sixth Form College - Internal break out space - naturally ventillated with automated  vents to achieve correct C02 and temp levels


Canopy controls glare with fritted glazing, and enables open view to be retained from reception/hospitality area, across playing fields to countryside beyond
View across new playing fields to New Reepham Sixth Form College
Reepham Sixth Form College - detail of fritted shading canopy


The way forwards for headteachers , principals and governing bodies


The 'prefab school template' initiative is the government’s current way forwards for any substantial school build programme but in practice to progress matters at individual schools a good knowledge of the existing estate is required, not least to ensure that any works form part of a masterplan which identifies where cost effective refurbishment and remodeling works should be considered.  This masterplan would ideally be included within a premises development plan document  which would be developed and discussed with the schools representatives and which would demonstrate that a balanced assessment of options had been considered.


These documents can be produced within 2 months of commissioning and are a cost effective way of  an individual school taking control of its own destiny. 


As can be seen from the milestones links the two directors of  Teather + Walls Architects have unusually varied experience in the education sector  over the last decade  including the following -


  • acting as advisors to a high achieving school for in excess of 10 years – the most recent project being the prefab school template case study illustrated above
  • providing bid management services on a number  of successful bids for PFI/BSF schools projects
  • acting as advisors on UK government schools legislation
  • visiting, assessing and reviewing the development potential of in excess of 75 primary and secondary schools on a nationwide basis
  • leading  the production of 15 premises development plans
  • acting as associate senior consultant to NPS on Schools Capital Design Team (SCDT) on framework agreement for the DfE Academies Commission Construction Programme
  • acting as associate senior consultant to NPS on framework agreement for the DCSF on Surestart Children Centres


We believe that as a result of this Teather + Walls Architects are in an exceptionally good position to work with schools in developing robust and cost effective premises development plans, as a basis for seeking funding for the development of the schools existing estate, whether this be for  a new prefab building, refurbishment or remodeling work, or a combination of these.


Extract from Principal’s introductory comments in the 2010 winter issue of the Reepham High School and College Review (School Magazine)


‘Every journey into the college remains a delight, something special, I can no longer imagine Reepham without its sixth form. The transition has been made and we will now go from strength Chris Hassell'   Principal - Reepham High School and College      .


Reepham High School and College Project Focus