Evelyn Grace Academy

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Evelyn Grace Academy
Parentpay 2.JPG
Motto Excellence, Endeavour, Self discipline
Type Academy
Headteacher Devon Hanson
Chair of Governors Anthony Williams
Location Shakespeare Road
SE24 0QN
Local authority Lambeth
Students 852
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–16
Colours Green, Black
Website www.evelyngraceacademy.org

Evelyn Grace Academy is a non-selective, co-educational secondary school within the English Academy programme, in Brixton, London.

Evelyn Grace Academy

The Academy opened in September 2008 in temporary accommodation admitting its first 180 Year 7 pupils. In September 2010 the academy moved to a new purpose built school building as it admitted its third year 7 year group. The building, designed by architect Zaha Hadid,[1] was awarded the 2011 Stirling Prize.[2] The school is funded by the Department for Education and owned and operated by Ark schools, a registered charity under English law,[3] and sponsored by parent charity Ark,[4] founded by hedge fund financiers Arpad Busson, Paul Marshall and Ian Wace.[5]


This is a four storey building on a cramped 1.4ha site, there are three floors of classroom placed on top of a set-back a solid concrete podium. The main building takes the form of a sweeping Z. The building accommodates two 'houses' which they call schools, separated by a range of shared facilities. The rest of the site is taken up by a gym, an art block, a series of all-weather pitches and an iconic 100m running track that runs at a tangent under the building. Pupils do not have access to these areas outside lessons.[5]

The 60m² classrooms are joined by twisting corridors. Though these floors feature glazed exteriors, the light reaching the classroom is poor and lights are needed through out the day. The exterior wall finish are notable by their absence- classroom walls are either rendered white or remain as unfinished concrete. Windows are centrally controlled and some rooms do not have any.[5]

Zaha Hadid describes her post modernist style as parametricism. [5]

Educational Philosophy[edit]

The planned intake by London standards is tiny- each of the two houses 'Evelyn' and 'Grace' could accommodate 270 pupils (one form entry). By 2014 it was educating 852.

Peter Walker, the first principal said in 2010, “We have to establish the ’small school’ model first, so the teachers get to know all their students and form personal relationships. Some people think we are too strict here, but you must understand that self discipline is one of our core values.” along with “depth before breadth” and “the 100% concept” [5] Ofsted disagreed, in 2011 they criticised the school saying that children were too tightly governed and were given implausible targets. Walker refused to accept the judgement, suspecting racist motives, or "at least a lack of professionalism".[6]

Between 2012 and 2014 changes were made by the incoming principal Devon Hanson. Mr Hanson who moved from Jamaica to Peckham aged 10, takes a more community approach. After school he patrols the local streets encouraging youngsters to move away from potential area of trouble. He observed that the local students would work hard but at the first sign of rejection or failure they would stop trying- he saw they needed to be taught "resilience". [7]


Evelyn Grace Academy is rated “Good” by Ofsted in 2014. 43% of students at Evelyn Grace Academy in 2016 achieved at least five A*-C grades, including maths and English. [8]


  1. ^ Evelyn Grace Academy: Buildings & facilities
  2. ^ Evelyn Grace Academy wins Stirling Prize, BBC, 2011-10-01
  3. ^ Charity Commission. Ark Schools, registered charity no. 1095322. 
  4. ^ Charity Commission. Ark, registered charity no. 1095322. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Wainwrigt, Oliver (22 October 2010). "Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton, by Zaha Hadid Architects". Building Design. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Scott, Caroline (16 May 2011). "Inner-city academy that's a blueprint for the future". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  7. ^ Welham, Holly (21 June 2015). "How taking to the streets of Brixton turned my school around". The Guardian. 
  8. ^ "GCSE Results Joy Evelyn Grace Academy". evelyngraceacademy.org. Evelyn Grace Academy. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′38″N 0°06′34″W / 51.46069°N 0.10953°W / 51.46069; -0.10953