Project Copernicus

Well built – 30 Year plan

Building the future, and keeping the past alive, are one and the same thing.

Hideo Kojima

In late 2021 the Governors undertook a review of the preferred location for the School, almost 150 years after their predecessors had undertaken a similar exercise that saw the School move from its town centre location to the current site on London Road.  You will already know from the Headmaster’s communications that the top-level outcome was that the School would remain on its current 55-acre site on London Road.


Figure 1 – the ‘new’ Wellingborough School 1881


Immediately after that decision was taken, the Governors took the opportunity to consider ways that the site should develop in order to sustain the margin of excellence that has distinguished a Wellingborough education for 425 years.

The principal consideration was the physical manifestations to support future ways of teaching and learning, but other factors included better optimising the ‘town’/ ‘field’ balance, improving vehicular access, allowing the School to better play its part as a member of the community, and achieving a net zero carbon sustainable footprint.

The work was wrapped into a master planning exercise under the title Project Copernicus, which set out a statement of strategic intent of how assets will be delivered to enhance teaching and learning, and to underpin the School’s vision.

The purpose of this master planning exercise was to:

  • Frame the vision and provide a commonly understood pathway rooted within the ethos of the School that maintains a sense of direction, no matter how long the journey might be.
  • Deliver clarity and context; to sequence and prioritise redevelopment along the pathway and prevent incremental ad hoc
  • Focus and inform robust financial planning.
  • Demonstrate to stakeholders the longer-term ambitions for the School.
  • Provide support to planning applications and provide focus for fundraising.

The result of this work is a proposal that preserves and enhances the best of Wellingborough School whilst also adopting a strategic approach to developing the facilities.

Under Copernicus, that which works will be retained and refurbished – for example, much of the 1881 building stock to the north of the site (shown in white at Figure 2).  Other buildings that do not lend themselves to modernisation or adaptation (many of which were erected as a ‘temporary measure’ many decades ago) are cleared and replaced with facilities that are fit for the future.


Figure 2 – Wellingborough School under Project Copernicus


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Project Copernicus Brochure