Gloucester’s prestigious King’s School has unveiled its new Sixth Form Centre after investing £2 million on its refurbishment.
After its completion on Friday 18 December 2020, SoGlos was first to see the transformation – with headmaster David Morton giving us a virtual tour of the stunning new space, while it’s closed to visitors during the third national lockdown.
Aside from the sensitively preserved 13th century architectural features, the King’s School Sixth Form Centre is almost unrecognisable from its former iteration.
The building’s history remains front and centre, keeping its beautiful period features such as beams and archways intact, while simultaneously creating bigger, brighter, modern classrooms and social spaces.
The ground floor now houses a large common room with flexible furniture arrangements that can be adapted to suit small and large groups, as well as a separate café serving fresh coffee, hot and cold drinks and homemade food.
The learning areas are all on the first floor, with a new lecture theatre, five classrooms and two breakout rooms. Designed to reflect modern workspaces, all the classrooms have interactive screens and modular desks, so the seating layout can be rearranged for different lessons.
Gloucester-based architects, Roberts Limbrick, created the ambitious design for the building, while owner of SLG Brands and King’s School alumnus, Miles Dunkley, helped to create a thought-provoking collection of art pieces that challenge pupils to ‘think differently’ about their perceptions of the world and inspire their creativity.
As well as a tongue-in-cheek portrait of the school’s founder, King Henry VIII, adorned with shades and a gold medallion, the collection includes modern reinterpretations of classic works of art – including a version of Boticelli’s The Birth of Venus featuring Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, as well as portraits of Maya Angelou, Alan Turing and Malala Yousafzai.
With an archaeologist on site for the full 18 months, to help preserve the history of the building, the team discovered a 13th century archway buried within a wall while building work was taking place. Having been hidden for around 600 years, the archway now has pride of place in the Sixth Form Centre’s reception – and is one of headmaster David Morton’s favourite features.
The refurbishment will also allow the King’s School Gloucester to accommodate more pupils. With space for between 120 and 130 sixth formers each year, it remains small enough for students to continue receiving personalised care from staff that know them, while enabling the school to offer a small number of new places.
Headmaster David Morton described the building as ‘very special’ and hopes the new Sixth Form Centre will give students a sense of pride and inspire them to ‘aim even higher’. The design reflects the King’s School Gloucester as a ‘historical school that is looking to the future’ and aims to give students the skills they need for work, such as collaboration, problem solving and creativity.
The Dulverton building itself is owned by Gloucester Cathedral and has been leased by the King’s School since 1957, but the head plans to make the building available to community groups during school holidays, providing a valuable resource for local residents.
Although the Sixth Form Centre opening has been delayed due to Coronavirus, the King’s School has seen pandemics and plagues throughout its long history and still stands strong – it plans to open the new Sixth Form centre once the current government restrictions around Covid-19 allow.
For more information, visit thekingsschool.co.uk.