May 23 2013 Latest news:
Syma Mohammed, Reporter
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
It’s not often a school site is called “romantic” but that’s exactly how the leader of Islington Council described the new Ashmount Primary in Crouch End.
Speaking on a tour of the school in Crouch Hill Park, which is still under construction, Cllr Catherine West was clearly excited about the “school in the woods”.
Located between residential Crouch Hill and Parkland Walk, it is a world away from the average inner-city school.
The building, which is made of Siberian larch and is nestled among trees, looks like an alpine Swiss lodge.
Despite not being finished, it has already received an award for being the most sustainable educational building by Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), a company which conducts environmental assessments and ratings of buildings.
The £16.5m school is ‘carbon neutral’ and, along with a neighbouring on-site nursery and youth club, will be powered by a central turbine.
The four-storey building features a glass-fronted library with a reading bench which looks out to the woods, an outdoor classroom and four playgrounds. One playground is on a balcony.
There will also be a sports pitch on the site, which children from the school will have access to. The children will also have access to the youth club, which will feature a music studio and roof terrace.
Cllr West believes the proximity to the 4.6-mile Parkland Walk nature reserve, which extends from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, will also allow children to connect with nature.
She said: “It’s important to teach inner-city kids about the environment, especially in these difficult times when parents can’t afford to take their children away.”
The new site is a far cry from the current location in Ashmount Road, Crouch End. It has been criticised for being visually unappealing as well as having issues with regulating temperature.
Cllr Richard Watts, Islington’s executive member for children and families, describes it as an “experimental school with glass all around which is too cold in winter and too hot in summer”.
All 420 children are due to move to the new site in January.