Ferntree Gully North Primary School
11 Forest Road, Ferntree Gully, 3156
The rebuild at Ferntree Gully North Primary School has had fantastic outcomes for the school and it’s community, providing modern learning environments that are student-focused and tailored to project-based learning in line with the Kathy Walker approach utilised by the school.
The school’s main priority was the creation of a wider variety of spatial settings within the campus to allow differentiated learning to take place. For this project, flexibility meant creating purposeful learning spaces that can either link together or be closed off as required via large sliding doors. In the morning, students ‘break out’ into the central flexible space for activity-based learning at various stations, and in the afternoon they retreat into individual classrooms for more structured learning activities. Many nooks and corners allow creative appropriation of spaces.
The new design enhances the school’s use of technology with an emphasis on wireless networks and flexible connection to peripheral devices. Digital learning can occur fluidly throughout the campus.
In rebuilding the school, there was an opportunity to better connect the school’s physical resources back to the learning communities and to open the internal spaces to the external environment to enhance learning. One example of this is the existing gully that runs through the school which was transformed into a functioning rain garden and frog bog, with triangular platforms for observation. The project also creates multiple spaces to facilitate the teaching and practice of the performing arts, which is a particular focus of the school.
The school were very happy with the level of consultation with staff, students and the school community which occurred throughout the design process.
Sustainability at the school is integrated into its daily operation and supported by many design initiatives. These include water sensitive urban design (the gully acts as a biofiltration system, cleaning stormwater as it travels across the site). Cost effective initiatives can contribute greatly to student performance, these include adhering to passive solar design principles, maximising natural ventilation and daylight. Poor air movement and daylight levels has been proven to reduce student performance.