Firside Junior School


Welcome to our proposals for the Firside Junior School on behalf of the Department for Education. This website sets out the current draft proposals for the new Junior School buildings and to update residents and other parties on the scheme, and to also ask for feedback. This will help inform the final proposals submitted for planning approval.


Firside Junior School: Wensum Trust

The proposed brief is to build a new school building on the existing playing fields at Firside Junior School. The number of pupils on site is not proposed to increase, and the existing school will remain open during construction before being demolished.

Following an extensive feasibility study which included a condition survey of the existing school building, it has been identified by the Department for Education as in need of replacement given the poor condition.

The new school building will provide modern internal and external facilities to improve the learning environment.


The Site

The proposed site is located at the existing Firside Junior School site, Norwich. The proposals comprise the existing buildings on the site, as shown on the red line plan below. The existing external storage buildings to the south west of the main block will remain as part of the proposals for community use.


The Team

Reds10 are a leading modular and volumetric contractor who have been appointed as the main contractor for the new Firside Junior School, in partnership with the Department for Education. With a wealth of experience in the Education Sector, Reds10 are developing new SEN mainstream schools as part of the Department for Education’s Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Framework across the UK. The team’s appointment on the scheme resulted from a successful track record, exemplary health and safety standards and consistency in providing amazing spaces for clients, end users and local communities. 

HLM are an architectural practice leading the design of the new building at Firside Junior School. For over twenty years HLM Architects has been designing award winning education projects that respond to changes in student expectations, approaches to teaching and learning, and innovations in technology.

We have partnered with Resds10 on the MMC framework to design several modular and volumetric buildings for the Department for Education, each with a bespoke approach to form, layout and external appearance. Fundamental to all these projects is our belief that education architecture has the ability to inspire the next generation and nurture individuals to reach their full potential.

DHA Planning are planning consultants who will oversee the planning application on behalf of Reds10 and the Department for Education. DHA have a wealth of experience in the education sector, securing planning consent for a number of new schools, including many primary schools, across England.


The Proposals

The proposals are funded by the Department for Education and follow their detailed design requirements and guidance to ensure that the academy comprises the type and quality of teaching accommodation necessary to meet best practice standards.

The proposed development is for the construction of a replacement school building, following the demolition of the existing school buildings on site. The proposed development will provide new teaching accommodation alongside playing field, external play areas and a Multi-Use Games Area.

Reds10 have been selected as the preferred contractor to deliver the academy in partnership with the Department for Education and as such are developing the proposals and design with a view to submitting a planning application in the near future.

The proposal will provide Firside Junior School and The Wensum Trust with much-needed improved teaching accommodation for the pupils of the School and local area.

The development is expected to include the following elements across the site:

  • New 2-storey teaching block
  • Soft and hard external play areas
  • Playing fields
  • Multi-use Games Area
  • Demolition of existing units on site.

Site Layout


The new building will be located on the north western part of the school playing fields with the existing school buildings demolished and reinstated as grass. The existing schools blocks will be demolished following occupation of the new building. The building entrance and admin will be on the northern side of the site, linking to Middletons Lane. New pedestrian entrances will be created from Middleton Lane into the site linking the public footpath to key areas of the site. The existing access from the south of the site will be retained.

A new car parking area will be constructed adjacent to the school building. This will include 44 spaces, 10 EV charging points, drop off area, 2 minibus parking bays  and 3 accessible bays.  Deliveries will be via the new on-site access road which will allow drivers to deliver directly adjacent to the kitchen area of the new building.

The remainder of the site will be retained as amenity grassland as playing fields to the south and east of the new school building maintain sports pitch provision for both the school and local community.


Internal Layout

The internal layout has been designed following a thorough engagement process with the senior leadership team at the school. The new school is arranged over 2 floors with classrooms either side of a central corridor.

The main visitor entrance is located to the north elevation. Locked doors on an access control system form a secure line which prevents visitors from entering the school without staff supervision. During arrival and departure, pupils will predominantly access the school through a gate off the main entrance to the northern boundary, which leads around the building to the playground. There is a secondary access point from the south of the site across the playing field leading to the playground. Separate entrances to the building are provided for different year groups. The proposed Main Hall and Entrance are located towards the east, near to the carpark and pedestrian site entrance. This allows for community use outside of school hours via the visitor entrance.

A wide central corridor provides horizontal access to classrooms located on either side. Practical teaching for Art and Science along with Year 5 and Year 6 will be located on the first floor. A suite of group rooms will be provided for SEN teaching, providing facilities for 1 to 1 learning. Storage for coats and bags will be provided within each classroom.


External Design

The new School Building comprises 3 intersecting volumes: the entrance, the Main Hall and the teaching volume, each with a different height. The external appearance of the new school building has been developed around a concept that uses a palette of grey and green cladding colours to distinguish each volume.

The building is clad with cement fibre panels with a consistent width. Light green panels are used on for the entrance block referencing colours used in the School logo. A mottled green, also taken from the school logo, is applied to the Main Hall. A light grey is used for the largest and tallest teaching volume. Tessellating cut green cladding, inspired by the School logo, has deliberately been used on the Main Hall to provide an inspiring outdoor area for the school and draw attention to the community use facilities.

Aluminium windows and external doors will be powder coated to a dark grey colour. To meet rigorous environmental targets, the design needs to incorporate horizontal shading along the southern façade to prevent overheating in classrooms.



The landscape design will enhance the provision of external teaching space within the school site and shall increase biodiversity and site greening. New paving around the building will form playground with direct access from classroom spaces and link paths will connect the new building to the rest of the site. 

The area of demolished buildings will largely be reinstated to amenity grass for playing fields. The playground areas shall be edged and defined by a variety of soft landscape treatments including native trees, hedgerow, shrubs, groundcovers, and grasses to provide visual interest, biodiversity gains and ecological/horticultural teaching opportunities.

A new internal fence line will be installed to secure the external playground space and create clear separation between the playground areas, car parking and playing field areas.

As far as possible existing trees and woodland are to be retained around the margins of the site.


Sustainability & Building Performance

Firside Junior School is being developed to be sustainably designed and constructed. The target of minimising the ecological impact of building services systems on the environment are to be achieved through careful modelling of building performance and energy, from the project inception to the detailed design work stages. This building performance design hierarchy follows the principles of; be lean, be clean and be green.

Intelligent selection of building fabric materials, building orientation, glazed opening sizes and space geometry, all contribute toward minimising heating and electrical energy input. This is achieved by providing a highly insulated building, to minimise heat loss in the winter; contrasted by large solar controlled glazed openings which provide high levels of daylight to the occupants. This helps to provide a low energy, naturally lit working environment whilst simultaneously limiting solar heat gain and maintaining thermal comfort.

The school building is to follow the Department for Education Standard of achieving Net Zero Carbon, whilst in operation. The efficient building fabric specification reduces the energy required by the building services systems and low and zero carbon technologies, used for heating and energy generation; such as a Ground Source Heat Pump system for heating and photovoltaic panels as part of a bio-diverse green roof.

Occupied spaces will benefit from fresh air, providing consistent air quality within the building, that maintains low Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). This is achieved via hybrid ventilation systems, that recover heating energy and provide constant fresh air throughout the day. High temperatures in the summer can be mitigated with boost / purge and by-pass functions, built into the ventilation units.

Dynamic Simulation Modelling has been utilised to inform the concept and developed design, in relation to daylight, thermal comfort and summertime overheating, and energy and operational carbon. These results have carried through to building fenestration and building services design. Below is a screenshot from the virtual environment software used for Firside School.


Access & Parking

New vehicular and pedestrian access points shall be created from Middleton Lane.

The new vehicular access will enter the site and loop around a car parking bay arrangement and retained ash and oak trees. The road will be of suitable construction and arrangement to support both cars and larger refuse/delivery/fire tender/emergency vehicles as required.

44 parking spaces are proposed with a further 2 mini-bus spaces and 3 accessible bays. A drop off lane is provided to ease congestion at peak times. 10 EV charging points are included within the scheme.

New pedestrian access points are to be created from Middleton Lane linking to the main entrance of the school building, car park and playing field areas. The existing pedestrian entrance to the south of the site from Meadow Way is to be retained.

Maintenance access for grass cutting and landscape management will be via the new car park and an existing entrance point to the north east corner of the site.

Lockable cycle and scooter parking will be provided at the front and rear of the new building.



Reds10 specialise in modular construction allowing the majority of building work to be undertaken in the off-site factory in Driffield, East Yorkshire. The work undertaken off-site predominately features the completion of modular superstructures, floors, ceilings, internal walls, glazing and roof construction. This process greatly reduces the time required on-site, thus minimising disruption as much as possible to neighbours as well as facilitating the construction process.

It is anticipated that, should the project be granted planning permission, works are scheduled to commence in Autumn 23 with the project expected to reach completion in, early Spring of 2025. Delivery routes will be detailed in a Construction Environmental Management Plan submitted as part of the planning application.

We aim to reduce any disruption to the local community, and we will hold monthly drop-in sessions where residents are able to engage with our site management team and ask any questions they may have. 


Next Steps

A public consultation has now taken place.

All comments received will be received by the design team and considered in the application, alongside comments received from the Council. Public comments will be considered to help form the final scheme that will be formally submitted for planning approval. The planning application is anticipated for submission in March 2023. As part of the application determination process, the council will formally consult residents and other bodies.