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Bentham Community Primary School, Low Bentham

New build 210 place Primary School and 23 place Nursery with Multi-Disciplinary input.

The Challenge

Bentham Primary School was commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council to replace the existing High Bentham Primary School and unify both Low and High Bentham Village schools. We built close relationships with the school and County Council, through multiple detailed briefing meetings and presentations. This understanding of all parties’ needs help us to generate a flagship Primary School design.

The brief and design posed planning and sustainable challenges as the site is located in a “Green Wedge” on the eastern side of the Yorkshire Dales.

The school accommodates 150 children and 22 part time places in a new Nursery for the catchments of both High & Low Bentham villages. The proposed development was required to meet the needs for ‘one child one education’ that will serve the educational needs of both villages.


The school layout was designed considering the building’s environment and its relationship to the village. The school layout shielded and safeguarded the children’s play areas.

Local materials, natural ventilation strategies, and passive design principles were utilised throughout. The design encompasses a single storey building, play area, playing fields and up-to-date facilities in compliance with the latest government Building Bulletin requirements. The school design achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ category, reducing capital and lifetime expenditure while meeting national and County Council energy targets.

We carried out planning and public consultation meetings and exhibitions throughout the planning process to ensure all stakeholders would support the proposals.


The design of the school provides efficient use of space. Internal and external streets supply maximum light without glare to all spaces, as well as the building being designed around key views and the southern solar benefits.

Sustainable technology was at the centre of the building’s design, with use of extensive Sedum roof which changes colour with the seasons. We made sure to include large landscaped external areas, which provide increased bio-diversity. We used solar photovoltaic energy panels for a source of greener energy, and made use of locally sourced materials, natural ventilation and recycled materials.

Bentham Primary School is North Yorkshire County Council’s Award Winning statement new primary school, with the project being awarded LABC’s ‘Best Educational Building in Yorkshire 2015’.


“Executive Member for Schools said: “The new school will be a great asset, offering 21st century facilities for children, families and the communities of High and Low Bentham”.

Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire County Councillor

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