Pimlico Academy

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Pimlico Academy
Lupus Street

, ,

Coordinates51°29′17″N 0°08′13″W / 51.488°N 0.137°W / 51.488; -0.137Coordinates: 51°29′17″N 0°08′13″W / 51.488°N 0.137°W / 51.488; -0.137
Former namePimlico School
Department for Education URN135676 Tables
SponsorFuture (John Nash)
GenderMale and Female
Age11 to 20
HousesApollo, Athena, Hera and Zeus
Colour(s)Apollo Blue, Athena Green, Hera Red, Zeus Yellow

Pimlico Academy (formerly Pimlico School) is a Mixed-sex education secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in the Pimlico area of Westminster, London.


The final section of Bancroft's 1970 building to be demolished, with new academy in background

The previous school building was designed by John Bancroft of the Greater London Council's architecture department and was built in 1967–70. It was a noted example of brutalist architecture, constructed of concrete and glass without decorative claddings or ornament, and its appearance had been controversial since it opened. A contemporary critic likened it to a battleship, describing it as a "100-odd metre long, turreted, metallic grey thing lying in its own sunken rectangle".[2]

Over time, deterioration of the building's fabric and drawbacks of its glass construction led to complaints that the building was often excessively hot in the summer and very cold in winter.[3] Council authorities also expressed concern that the building's seventeen exits and entrances made it difficult to secure the site, and that the site lacked disabled access.

In the face of opposition from the Twentieth Century Society,[4] and that of prominent architects and critics including Richard Rogers,[3] RIBA president Sunand Prasad, Stephen Bayley,[5] and John McAslan,[6] the school was rebuilt to a design by Architecture PLB as part of the Building Schools for the Future initiative. The last remaining part of the old building was demolished in Summer 2010.[7] Now the building is a 'C-shape' with different departments on each floor.

Conversion to academy[edit]

After many years of underperformance, culminating with Ofsted's decision to place the school in special measures and the retirement of former head teacher Phil Barnard in December 2006, Westminster council controversially voted in March 2008 to transform Pimlico into an academy.[8] This decision was contrary to consistent expression from the school's stakeholders (teachers, students and parents) that they wanted the school to remain a community school. The Westminster NUT voted in favour of strike action to express their objections to Westminster council's strategy. Staff, students, parents and former school governors held the view that the school's underperformance was due to long-term neglect by Westminster council.[9] During the process of Pimlico's change to an academy, the council argued that the borough's community education needs could be sufficiently served by preserving the existing community school status of Quintin Kynaston School. However, since then QK has switched to a community foundation school, meaning that there are no longer any community schools in Westminster akin to the traditional inner-city comprehensive.

The charity Future,[10] set up by John and Caroline Nash, was chosen as the academy’s sponsor in 2008. In 2010 the school was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted with particular praise for "the Principal's outstanding vision and leadership of his staff."[11]

Primary school[edit]

In 2013 Labour councillors called for an inquiry after the new Pimlico primary school where Nash was co-chairman of the governors appointed an unqualified teacher as headmistress ahead of its opening with 60 pupils in September.[12] Further criticism followed when she resigned after four weeks in the job.[13][14] The school said that the headmistress had successfully set up the school and wished to pursue other opportunities.>[14]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notable staff[edit]


  1. ^ Building Schools for the Future website
  2. ^ 20th Century Society on Pimlico School
  3. ^ a b Westminster council votes to demolish Pimlico School, by Will Hurst, Building Design (BD Online), 14 Dec 2007
  4. ^ C20 complains of conservation area exclusion for Pimlico School, Architects' Journal, 29 Nov, 2005
  5. ^ Westminster council votes to demolish Pimlico School, by Will Hurst, Building, 14 Dec 2007
  6. ^ McAslan in effort to save Pimlico School, Architects' Journal, 30 Nov, 2005
  7. ^ Description of new building on school website Archived 2009-05-02 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Westminster votes to turn Pimlico School into an Academy (17/03/2008)
  9. ^ "West End Extra - News: Academy plan 'silly'". thecnj.com.
  10. ^ "onlinefuture.org". onlinefuture.org.
  11. ^ "Pimlico Academy Inspection report" (PDF). December 2010.
  12. ^ "Teacher training head defends Pimlico appointment". BBC news. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Free school headmistress with no qualifications quits after four weeks". Independent newspapers. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Pimlico free school head teacher Annaliese Briggs steps down". BBC news. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.

External links[edit]