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JMP on the independent schools sector

Independent schools often have an incredibly rich history and heritage. When it comes to the redesign of these prominent educational institutions, architects must tread carefully, preserving the historic elements of the school, whilst also ensuring it can harness the benefits of modern teaching techniques and still fit within the community in which it is located.

Our growing portfolio of projects in the independent school sector - which includes work on Dulwich College and St Paul's Girls' School - has been hugely satisfying. They have allowed us to combine our experience in delivering a wide spectrum of educational projects with our track record of transforming prominent historical buildings, such as King's Cross Station and The Roundhouse.

One of JMP's largest independent school commission to date is with the prestigious boys' school, Dulwich College, and the masterplanning of its extensive 75-acre grounds in South London. The campus currently consists of a collection of disparate buildings set around the Grade II listed original school building, designed by Charles Barry Jnr.  An important ambition of the new masterplan is to re-emphasise the principles laid out in the original site plan and to create an improved pattern of movement for students and staff.

Key to the design is emphasising the impressive Palladian character of the original school building, including the sensitive refurbishment of its historic fabric  to provide a suite of 21st century learning environments. Some careful re-landscaping additions to the main entrance and car parking areas will restore the school to its former glory and improve access and visibility throughout.

Another project where JMP is helping to set out current and future development opportunities is at St Paul's Girls' School in West London, one of the UK's most respected senior independent schools.  JMP has been appointed as strategic estate and education advisors to ensure that the integrity of their academic vision is reflected in their current and future teaching environments.

The challenge here is to ensure that any further development complements the distinguished historic structure and context of the existing school buildings, whilst also providing the kind of technology-rich learning environments that are necessary to maintain the school's high teaching standards in the future. This is why the school took the decision to enlist JMP and initiate a forward-thinking estate strategic development plan at the end of 2010, with the full input of the school leaders, staff and governors.

JMP continues to work with other distinguished private school institutions as a direct consequence of the St Paul's Girls' and Dulwich projects. This can be attributed in no small part to the fruits of the collaboration between the specialist masterplanning and education teams that JMP brings together for these complex school estate projects.  

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