Westminster Academy

London

An innovative secondary school design that rises to the challenges of a tight urban site and a multilingual school population. Designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Westminster Academy is a secondary school in West London for 1,175 pupils and 128 staff. Opened in September 2007, it replaced North Westminster Community School, a large 11-18 school that was split between three sites.

The school is on a challenging site dominated by the Westway flyover, surrounded by 1960s tower blocks and edged by a busy road. A public right of way crosses the site with several existing sports pitches. In addition, the school is in one of the poorest areas in London with a high proportion of multi-lingual students.

As a publicly funded independent Academy school, Westminster Academy’s sponsor is the Exilarch Foundation. The Academy’s specialism is International Business and Enterprise, reflecting the school’s multi-cultural population. The Foundation, alongside the then head teacher Alison Banks, formed a brief, with the core theme of a place that would inspire creativity and enable flexibility. Their vision was of a new kind of learning environment that would support the personalised curriculum of the 21st century.