Best Practice

Case study: Innovative school facilities

As far as innovative facilities projects go, Aldingbourne Primary School perhaps takes the gold medal – from a diner made from shipping containers to a double decker bus-based breakfast club. Emma Lee-Potter takes a look

The sound of Rock Around the Clock reverberated around the new school dining space as the teachers and pupils danced to Bill Haley’s famous rock ‘n’ roll hit.

It was back in September and everyone at Aldingbourne Primary School had gathered to celebrate the opening of the school’s stunning 1950s-style American diner.

Aldingbourne, an oversubscribed one-form entry school just outside Chichester in West Sussex, doesn’t do things by halves. Instead of choosing to build a costly extension to house its new eating area the school bought four shipping containers, welded them together and created the Busy Bee Diner.

Headteacher Liz Webster decided to hold a 1950s day to mark the grand opening of the diner, which boasts red and white booths, tables and stools and a smart black and white chequerboard floor. A year 6 boy, Alfie Drake, cut the ribbon and the 210 pupils and staff, all dressed up to the nines in 1950s outfits, sipped celebratory milkshakes. Hits by Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and His Comets blared out of the jukebox and the school took to the dance floor.

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