Introduction

Stover School has strong ambitions and an overarching strategic aim of securing the long-term future for Stover School as a vibrant, thriving institution, able to fulfil its educational mission, and to meet its responsibilities as a custodian of Stover House and Park. Supporting this aim are four high-level objectives:

1. ‘To provide a class leading educational experience serving the needs of Devon’

2. ‘Be exemplary custodians of our historic estate’

3. ‘To promote and pursue environmental sustainability through education and across our estate and supply chain’

4. ‘To be a highly valued partner to the local community’

A prosperous future for Stover School

The school’s mission is to nurture, celebrate and inspire each of its pupils through investing in educational excellence, and using a wholistic approach combining a progressive research base curriculum with a resilient moral code. They seek to encourage enthusiasm for learning and to enable each pupil to achieve their potential, to be confident and independent.

Stover School currently has an intake of approximately 500 pupils for 2022. This has grown in the past seven years, from an intake of 278 in 2014, due to the efforts of the new Head, the backing of the Board of Governors, and a new, dynamic Senior Leadership team. It has grown particularly rapidly over the past two years exceeding expectations.

In order to accommodate the existing pupils and maintain class sizes below 24, which is a key tenet of its educational approach, the school has reordered its existing facilities to maximise teaching space. This has included reducing boarding accommodation by two thirds to expand classroom space.

The available space is now fully used, coupled with the fact that some facilities such as science labs cannot be simply expanded into freed up spaces, there is no additional capacity to accept new pupils although the demand continues to rise. To temporarily relieve this pressure Stover School has introduced one additional modular classroom to the site.

The Need for Change

The School’s holistic long-term vision, has been shaped by:

  • A need to replace existing poorly performing temporary buildings, some of which are now 70 years old.
  • An in-depth review of its remaining building stock, seeking to maximise its efficiency.
  • A need to create much needed high-quality replacement and increased teaching space.
  • A need for a multi-use sports hall to replace a poorly performing existing temporary court cover, with the potential to be shared with the local community.
  • Careful consideration of how any new elements can be consolidated and brought together in a way that respects and enhances the character of the historic landscape.

The Proposals

The design team, led by AHMM architects, have worked with Westley Design to develop a scheme to meet the challenging requirements of the site keeping in mind the historic importance of the listed buildings and wider parkland setting as well as the complex needs of the school itself. The proposals are made up of 3 phases:

Phase I: Sports Hall

  • A much-needed indoor sports facility which will supplement the current grass pitches and outdoor tennis courts.
  • The building can also double as a place to hold exams and as a venue for larger school events and assemblies.
  • The sports hall is also intended to be open during evenings and weekends for community use and will provide a range of sport marking as well as new changing facilities and a fitness suite which could be rented for small events or classes.
  • This building will be supported by a newly landscaped parking area and increased planting to the verges of Clockhouse Drive, thereby enhancing the historic setting of the Garde II* listed Clockhouse.

Phase II: Teaching Space

  • Replacement of existing poor quality teaching accommodation, currently housed in a series of aging temporary buildings, with two new purpose-built permanent buildings.
  • The new buildings will provide additional science laboratories and home economics facilities, as well as classrooms for languages, maths and humanities.

Additional works

  • Dining hall and kitchen refurbishments – Proposals include plans to refurbishment and enhance the existing dining hall and kitchens. This will result in an improved layout and a greater seating capacity.
  • Clockhouse Building – It is proposed to make a number of sympathetic alterations to this historic building, including the removal of a single storey modern addition to the front elevation and internal alterations to improve the functionality of this building.
  • Removal of the tennis court cover – This area currently serves as an indoor multi use space. However the cover has a temporary lifespan and planning permission, hence its proposed removal. The courts will however be retained and re-surfaced for future sporting use.
  • Car parking and access – It is proposed to improve access to the site for all users, whilst at all times prioritising the welfare of pupils. Vehicle parking will be improved to enable an improved user experience by all. It is also proposed to install a number of vehicle charging points.

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