Willmott Dixon has teamed up with architects and educational suppliers this week to carry out a ‘Changing Rooms’ type makeover of a Hammersmith school.

The Big School Makeover, organised by the British Council for School Environments (BCSE), saw two key areas of Bentworth Primary School in White City transformed in a five-day project to show how spaces can be changed to provide improved learning and teaching opportunities for pupils and staff.

Bentworth Primary School head teacher Tony Proud, who is leaving the school on the day of the ‘big reveal’ on Friday 22 July, said, “The makeover will make a real difference not just to our pupils but also to our hard-working teachers, as well as creating a community resource for people in the local area. These small changes will make a big difference.”

Cllr Helen Binmore, cabinet member for children’s services for Hammersmith & Fulham Council, added, “We are thrilled that BCSE chose the council’s application for Bentworth to receive this makeover. The project will deliver much needed space in one of the smallest schools in the borough and help improve learning opportunities for all the children. It is fantastic news and the children will have a great new teaching space. The council, along with parents, staff, governors and the whole community, are fully behind this innovative and exciting scheme. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished results!”

Chris Tredget, managing director at Willmott Dixon in North London said, “We found in previous ‘makeovers’ that just a week’s work can achieve a fantastic difference to the learning environment. This is about us using our skills to make something much, much better.”

Ty Goddard, director of the BCSE, said, “The makeover will bring together limited resources with unlimited imagination and show how a learning environment can be transformed. But it’s not just about making a building look nice. This project will show how we can revamp the way spaces are used for teaching and learning.”

“London, along with other areas around the country, is having to deal with a bulge in pupil numbers at primary school level. A makeover is a potential route to help manage that forthcoming challenge.”

As well as the BCSE and Willmott Dixon, other partners on the makeover include Jestico and Whiles, Kinnarps Workplace Furniture, Armstrong Ceilings and Thorn Lighting.

The two areas due for transformation are:

• Former caretaker’s house – this empty, derelict building will be turned into two key areas. The ground floor will be a ‘multi-use’ space for life skills, including cookery. The first floor will also be a community resource for family advice services and evening classes, with one room becoming a work space for school staff.
• Outside space - the creation of a school allotment in an overgrown area of the old caretaker’s house.

Work began on Monday July 18, with parent volunteers and council staff joining in with the hard graft, followed by a ‘reveal’ ceremony on the last day of term, Friday July 22.