Three Rivers Academy is a former state school (previously Rydens Enterprise School & Sixth Form College) in Hersham, Walton-on-Thames.  Built in the 1950s and spread between numerous buildings, the old school facilities had reached the end of their useful life and with a lack of external funding from local or central government, the Board of Governors had to look at alternatives to provide a replacement state-of-the-art school and sixth form college.  Having identified the potential for relocating the school to the south-east, the existing school site could be redeveloped for housing thereby releasing funds to finance the new school.

This was a complex strategy involving extensive feasibility work. This included seeking pre-application advice, and significant input by the school into Elmbridge Borough Council’s then emerging Local Plan. In addition, comprehensive community consultation and engagement with key stakeholders prior to the submission of the application also took place.

Permission was granted for 296 dwellings securing the necessary funding for the new school and, importantly, meeting the identified housing need in Hersham. The development also delivered 43% affordable homes.

Completed in 2018, Three Rivers Academy serves 1,878 students in a 15,000m2 state-of-the-art school. The high-quality, spacious accommodation, including the amazing sport, drama, dance and music facilities has been designed to inspire 21st century learning and to allow students to perform at the highest level.

Not only meeting identified housing need, the new school provides a modern environment inspiring learning and bringing out the best in its pupils. Complying with adopted policies, dual use of its facilities means the whole community can benefit from the 6-court sports hall, assembly hall, performance spaces including a studio theatre and drama workshops, a full-size 3G artificial pitch and a MUGA providing netball and tennis.

The new school building has been shortlisted for several building awards and it is the only UK school to have made the shortlist for the final of the World Architecture Festival Awards in the completed schools category.