Background

The aim of the review was to reassess the current state of physical accessibility of the buildings on site as well as identify opportunities for improvements to what already exists and is in place.  Areas and opportunities for improvement have been identified by building and area, they have been summarised in the attached action plan.

Site and Building Use

The school has approximately 1097 students and up to 100 staff on a daily basis. There are also events such as concerts and award ceremonies, where parents/carers attend the site. Offices are dispersed across the site with the Admin office being in the Main School Building.  The staff room is in the centre of the site.

There are five access points from the main road but only three are in general use.  Most traffic (foot and vehicle) is through the main gate.

Recommendations

Opportunities for change are part of the consideration for any future refurbishment or additional builds or building developments. Minor enhancements are listed as recommendations and are summarised in this action plan.

General Observations

The site does run a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (Peep) for every student and staff member that requires one i.e. would have difficulty with an evacuation from a building in an emergency.

The site is supplied with the MITEL 5312 IP Phone which is a hearing aid compatible hand set.

Building 907 requires some work to the flooring. The work is dependent on the outcome of an EFA decision for funding later this year (2016).

There is a site way finder information map which is available to assist with navigating the site.

St Stephens

This building was constructed in the late 1890s and was built as a boys boarding school. There are 3 main floors and 3 split levels within the building, which makes up the 6 levels. The loft spaces have also been developed into useable rooms and teaching/storage areas. 

St Stephens is accessible from St Stephens’s Way (road level and through the main school building). St Stephens Way does restrict wheelchair dependants to level 2 (Music) and access from the main school is via a number of flights of stairs. Most rooms are small, especially the welfare facilities and there is no lift in St Stephens or the main building link.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking Car parking available if required Bookable through reception to ensure space available in advance Alternatively drop off and collect
External lighting to be reviewed October 2016 onwards Action Plan
Maintain routes for leaves in autumn/winter    
Routes and external level charges Investigate the viability of a ramp for the level 2 St Stephens Way entrance Investigate requirement for a ramp for wheel chair access to level 2 Plan and cost
Entrances Including Reception Kick plate and lower level glass which is frosted. Review if doors are replaced or required for routine access by wheel chair Remains an opportunity if the doors replaced
Horizontal Movement and Assembly All corridors have some level changes - not suitable for wheel chairs Ensure paint schemes and stair nosing's are maintained for the visually impaired  
Fire signage. Familiarisation with the building is required for new staff and students   PEEP to be maintained for all who require it
Vertical Movement and level Change There is no lift in the building    
Lavatories There is no lavatory provision for wheel chair dependants To be considered on any refurbishment projects  
Information There is no hearing assistance in the building To be purchased as required Investigate portable devices/induction loop
Means of Escape Final routes on level 2 only are accessible to wheel chair dependants No access to upper floors for those with mobility restrictions Fire routes are to be maintained and kept clear

Main Building

This building was constructed in 1964 and is a typical concrete cast reinforced school building. There is good access to the main part of the building from the reception to the main hall and dining facilities as they are all on the same level.

Corridors are wide but there is only disabled adapted lavatory facilities on the ground floor (Level 4). There are no lifts in the main building.

The area at the front of the building is fairly level, although there is an incline either side of the car park.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking There is a dedicated and maintained disable parking space close to the main reception Continue to maintain this parking space correctly marked Included on the maintenance plan
Kerbs are ramped to avoid obstructions by kerbs Repair damaged ramp by kitchen. There are cracked blister tiles.  
Routes and external level charges There are no ramps at the front of the building. The path to the main door is on a slight incline. Not required  
Stair nosing's are repainted as required Maintain a stock of paint for maintenance Investigate long term fitted solution for step nosing's in high traffic areas
Entrances Including Reception The main reception desk does not cater for wheel chair access Investigate the possibility of adapting the reception desk Main consideration if there was a refurbishment
No kick plate on the main front or internal doors Considered if and when the doors are replaced  
Horizontal Movement and Assembly Signs in the main reception areas Review signage in the main reception areas where parents and visitors gather  
No facility for audio impaired in the main school hall or reception Investigate the provision an induction loop Forward plan, investigate and costing
Vertical Movement and level Change There is no lift in the building. Restricted access to upper floors    
Doors Mainly glass doors have no kick plate Considered if and when the doors are replaced  
Lavatories Once equipped facility on the ground level floor only. left sided approach only. Tap to be replaced To go on the maintenance plan
Information No hearing assistance for reception Investigate the provision an induction loop  
Reception and Kitchen staff trained to in communication with people with physical and sensory disabilities. Most staff fairly experienced in dealing with students and adults. Investigate training available - external and in house. Forward planner with costing for training provision.
Way finder plan available to show rooms to floors Issued as required  
Means of Escape There are no lifts so access to the upper floors is restricted    

The Lodge

The Lodge is the old caretakers house built in the 1960s and is now used as offices. It is a small three bedroom building with a narrow staircase. Access is restricted to the ground floor for wheelchair dependants.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking Close to the main gate and disabled parking    
The main entrance door has a raised threshold. There is a portable ramp for wheel chair access    
The front door does not have a vision panel, it is a domestic glass door which is frosted glass.    
Routes and external level charges All doors have been replaced with vision panels in the last twelve months    
Lavatories There is no adapted lavatory in this building. The existing facilities are restricted to a small domestic sized toilet.    
Means of Escape Audible fire alarm only Investigate the possibility of a visual device for the lodge alarm Forward maintenance plan

Prospect House

Prospect is a three storey purpose built teaching block built in the late 1990s. There are lifts in this building.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking  There is parking at the front of the building. Parking can be reserved if required. The path from the car park to the building entrance is restricted in width. Access the ability to widen the path alongside the building Forward maintenance plan
Routes and external level charges  The two entrance doors are on the level plane    
Entrances Including Reception  The main doors need repainting as they are white with no other distinguishing features Redecorate with contrasting colours to improve the LRV Forward maintenance plan
Vertical Movement and level Change  The first and second floor corridors are restricted in width due to fire doors Redesign if replaced  
Doors  Kick plates Fit when doors are repaired or replaced  
Lavatories  There are no specific provision of lavatories for people with disabilities   Main School Building only
Information  No hearing assistance Procured as required To be kept in reception
Means of Escape  Restricted access to ground floor for wheelchairs    

Staff Room

The staff room was probably part of the old Clewer building construction and dates to about 1920/30s. A single storey sports pavilion type building which is now used as a staff room with some storage. The staff room is positioned in the middle of the site. There are steps between the staff room and Penfold House.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking Closet access is via the gate at the rear of the building by the school shop    
Parking can be at the main school car park, Penfold House or the shop.    
Routes and external level charges Ramp at the rear of the building. There are no hand rails on the ramp. Repaint the edges and kerbs on the ramp for contrast Forward maintenance planner

Front of the building is accessible with one step on the door threshold.

A ramp would extend on to the main access path for the school and would likely cause a hazard.

Consider a ramp if the door is replaced.  
Entrances Including Reception The rear door where the ramp is situated does no have a vision panel Vision panel a consideration when a new door is fitted  
Horizontal Movement and level Change This is a small single storey building    
Doors There is no kick plate for the rear door Consider a ramp if the door is replaced or use of the ramp increases  
Lavatories The building has its own adapted disabled toilets. Ramp access at the rear of the building. Left sided approach only.    
Means of Escape  The fire alarm is audible only Investigate the possibility of a visual device for the staff room alarm Forward maintenance plan

Penfold

Penfold is a three storey building constructed in 1904 as a girl’s boarding school. The building is listed and therefore has some restrictions on what changes/alterations can be made. Planning permission is required for alterations. There are some movement restrictions due to the design and size of the main areas and spaces. There is no lift for this building. Some fire escape routes are fixed to the outside of the building and require a step up to access them.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking  There is dedicated parking to the front and rear of the building. Parking can be booked if required.    
 External lighting needs reviewing as there are some darker areas to the side and rear of the building Lighting review. Install additional lighting as required  
External step nosing's are showing the signs of wear Repaint or replace with a harder wearing surface By Easter 2017
There are a number of steps to get to the building from the main school Enter vis Penfold car park gate which is level Maintain the step nosing's
Routes and external level charges  There are two steps into the building at the front and rear. There are no ramps Investigate the provision of on step being fitted with a ramp or the provision of a mobile ramp Forward maintenance planner
Entrances Including Reception  The doors are solid wood with no glass vision panels. The building is listed.    
Doors  Most of the doors are solid wood with no vision panel Review when replaced  
Lavatories There is one dedicated wheelchair fitted lavatory restricted size due the space available. Requires a new sign. To be reviewed when the area is refurbished Maintenance to fit new sign
Information  Way finder plan available to show rooms to floors as well as the remainder of the Upper School    

Mobile 914

The building is a single storey mobile, probably installed on site in the 1980s. It is high off the ground and requires 6 steps to access the building. There are no ramps or lifts for this building.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking Parking is within 20 meters in the Penfold/Drama quadrangle    
The lighting at the front of the building requires a review as it is not well lit and may leave dark areas on the paths. Lighting review, fit and replace lamps and fittings as required. Forward maintenance plan
Routes and external level charges There are no ramps. Stairs only. Access the viability of a ramp when the stairs are replaced.  
Entrances Including Reception Signage Review signage heights when they need replacing.  
Main doors requires repainting/maintenance Review colours Forward maintenance plan
Lavatories Nearest lavatories are in Penfold House    
Means of Escape Stairs only    

Classrooms 905 & 906

There is no clear date for the installation of these wooden construction class rooms.  It is estimated that they are at least 20 years’ old which would make them 1980s vintage.  

The building consists of 2 basic single storey classrooms which are accessed by steps.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking Penfold quadrangle    
The area around the class rooms The upper school requires an external lighting review with a view of improvement. Act on findings. Forward maintenance plan
Routes and external level charges Steps only    
Step nosing's are showing signs of wear Maintain and repaint  
Entrances Including Reception The door threshold is raised. This is part of the door design Review when doors are replaced  
Lavatories Penfold house    
Means of Escape Steps to escape the building    

Building 907

This building is a traditional single storey wooden framed external wooden planked. There are 2 main rooms both on the same level. The building dates back to at least the 1930s. It is pre 1947 and therefore has special status and requires planning for all alterations.

It is in the curtilage of a listed building and therefore carries the same status for planning and alteration. The main access to the building is via steps.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking  Penfold quadrangle    
 The path to the building is of restricted width    
External lighting requires reviewing Part of the upper school review for darker areas  
Routes and external level charges  Steps to access the main door. Door route width restricted    Possible mobile ramp if required for wheel chair access
Step nosing's show signs of wear Maintain painting Long term repair
Entrances Including Reception  Entrance e door is restricted due to building design    
Lavatories  Penfold house    

Building 904

A traditional single storey prefabricated mobile class room. It is estimated to have been on site for at least 10 years which would date to the 1990s. It has a ramp for access at the front but no lift.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking   Penfold quadrangle    
Busses drop of at the main gate by main building. There are steps to negotiate to get to 904.    
Routes and external level charges  There is a ramp at the front of the building  Repaint hand rails and ramp edges for contrast  
Lavatories  Penfold house    

The Drama Building

This is a single storey building of brick built construction. It appears on plans as far back as the early 1940s. It was originally a school kitchen and dining area.

There are no steps for access to the building. It is currently used for drama.

As a pre-1947 building it has special status for alterations.

It is located within the curtilage of a listed building.

Area Observations Action Required Remarks
Approach and Car Parking   Close to the main road (Coolinge Lane) with parking in the Penfold quadrangle. Parking can be reserved.    
External lighting needs to be reviewed  Reviewed as part of the upper school review  Act on findings
No vision panels in the main door. This door is normally left open. Review when replacements required or refurbishment.  
Lavatories  There is a toilet in the building but it is not adapted for wheel chairs. Penfold house for toilets.    

Information

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Contact

The Folkestone School for Girls

Coolinge Lane

Folkestone, Kent

CT20 3RB United Kingdom

 

Tel: +44 (0) 1303 251125