November 5, 2019
Westfield School started the new academic year in September with the opening of a brand new Junior House, Arts and STEM facilities on its beautiful five-acre site in the heart of Gosforth. Westfield School was founded in 1960 by a group of enthusiastic parents who saw the need for a new type of girls’ independent school with a broader curriculum than those offered at the time by other schools in the region.
Westfield’s focus, then and now, is that education is about developing the whole person, ensuring all girls reach their full potential to be the best they can be whatever her individual strengths. In 1962, Oakfield House was purchased and this remains Westfield’s ‘home’ to this day. This 19th Century grand villa, along with its ancillary buildings, has served the school over the past five decades.
In continually reviewing and updating the school’s long-term strategy, 2017 saw the Governors commence preparations for an ambitious multi-phase development project that would catapult the school’s facilities into the 21st Century.
Working closely with Squires Barnett Architects, plans were developed, planning permission sought and a great deal of preparatory work undertaken. In December 2018, following a stringent tendering process, Meldrum Construction Services Ltd was appointed to deliver the project. Meldrum’s professional approach and willingness to work in partnership with the school meant that Westfield remained fully operational throughout the course of the work with minimal disruption, enabling the project to be delivered on time and on budget.
Multi-phase build and redevelopment project
The first phase saw the creation of a brand new STEM facility. On part of the site which once housed an old potting shed and glass houses, and latterly a 1960s prefabricated classroom block, the site was cleared in December 2018 to make way for a brand new, state of the art STEM facility. Due to the heritage and historical significance of the ancillary buildings on the site, Squires Barnett Architects cleverly designed the new facility so that it incorporated the existing potting shed, thereby ensuring that the streetscape remained unchanged.
The new building is constructed using SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) technology, which is the next generation of timber-based construction. This modular offsite construction is quick to assemble and offers numerous benefits, not least exceptional thermal performance, which supports the school’s environmental and Eco agenda.
The second phase involved taking a wing of the main building, which was constructed in 2002, and completely transforming it into a bright, modern, fit for purpose Junior House.
The third phase of this project involved the complete refurbishment of an ancillary building to the main villa, which carries a great deal of significance as an important part of the heritage, not only of Oakfield House but the wider Gosforth area. This single-storey, stone building, known as Rose Cottage, historically provided staff accommodation for the main house. The refurbishment project involved completely stripping out the interior of this building, while ensuring its structure and characteristics were not affected. This extensive and sympathetic refurbishment has resulted in this building being transformed to provide light and airy spaces for the teaching of art, graphics, textiles, IT and mathematics.
Westfield School is incredibly proud of its heritage and the fact it’s able to provide modern facilities to deliver education tailored to the individual. Westfield attracts girls from a large catchment area, and being in the heart of Gosforth it has great transport links.
Westfield welcomes personal appointments to tour the school. For more information, visit www.westfield.newcastle.sch.uk