Teaching Walls installed at The Hall School, London

In recent months, we have worked alongside Clarks Construction to complete a classroom refurbishment project installing three teaching walls at The Hall School in London.

This project in the lower ground floor of the Junior school was the final phase in the refurbishment programme taking place at the school.

We have worked with Clarks Construction and The Hall School  previously. We completed at project at Swanbourne House with Clarks Construction and installed pieces of furniture at The Hall School in recent years.

During the project we designed, manufactured and installed 3 teaching walls for classrooms in the basement along with cloakroom and corridor storage.

The height of the ceiling varied between rooms which meant that whilst the teaching walls all looked the same, they were in fact all different heights in order to maximise the size and storage space available in each room. Some of the teaching walls also incorporated a teachers desk in order to save space elsewhere in the classrooms.

In cloakroom area, we supplied coat hook rails and lunchbox/bag pigeonhole storage. We also manufactured bespoke corridor storage units as well as the staff rooms storage units.

Sam Clark, Clarks Construction, was particularly pleased with the “proactive and collaborative approach when working on site to get the project finished when working to a tight deadline.

“Witley Jones’ high quality of workmanship with their professional manner and amenable approach are exactly what is required when working projects such as these.”

Teaching walls are being used across the school estate and have been for a number of years. These innovative solutions that neatly house interactive whiteboards as well as providing much needed storage space are being installed as classrooms are refurbished and modernised.

“Teaching walls concentrate the space and reduce clutter around the classrooms which is important in a learning environment. As they are bespoke, they fill the available space perfectly from floor to ceiling.” commented Peter Finn, Clerk of the Works, The Hall School.

“Having first worked with Witley Jones over 10 years ago, we find them very easy to work, accommodating and provide unique design ideas. Their furniture always stands the test of time – the first piece that they manufactured for the school is still in use today.”

Kings Hawford celebrate opening of double decker bus library

Kings Hawford, Worcester, celebrated the opening of their converted double decker bus library at the beginning of the school year.

The school had partnered with Stourport based furniture manufacturer, Witley Jones Furniture, to design and convert the London Transport red bus into a dedicated space for pupils to learn to read.

The aim of head teacher, Jim Turner, was to create a space that made a statement outside of the main school building. After hearing about similar projects, Jim decided on bringing the double decker bus to Worcestershire to repurpose into an exciting and interactive environment.

Jim Turner, Head of King’s Hawford, said, “For the younger children the most important thing is that it is a place to sit and be read to. A great space to take part in an adventure, a journey.They especially liked going upstairs to choose their books and enjoying the view from the top seats. The bus puts reading at the heart of our school.”

It was essential that the design needed to be in-keeping with the bus. We didn’t just want to put shelves in and call it a Library Bus. Witley Jones Furniture  worked closely with us to shape the project; the team at Witley Jones grasped the idea and concept immediately.”

During the Summer months, bespoke seating, shelving and tables were designed and installed throughout the vehicle in time for the grand opening at the beginning of the Summer term.

“We are delighted to have been invited to work on such an innovative project for a school that is local to us in Worcestershire. Converting a double decker bus is certainly a unique project that we hadn’t encountered before, it was important that the interior and furniture was in-keeping with the bus and colour scheme where possible.” Commented Matt Jones, Director, Witley Jones Furniture.

Wycliffe College Increase Boarding House Provision

Wycliffe College embarked on a project to increase their boarding house provision, providing a wider and flexible offering to boarding and day pupils.

Wards’ Boys House was rebuilt along with the Ivy Grove Girls House being repurposed for much needed classroom and office space.

The school now have a new mixed-use boarding facility for 13 to 18 years olds accommodating full time, flexi and day boarders in Gloucestershire. The house has been designed to provide shared social and communal areas for both boys and girls with the accommodation areas securely separated.

The aim was to move away from the dormitory style accommodation with shared facilities to create an agile accommodation and education environment.

boarding furniture

Our design team worked with the school and Buttress Architects to achieve a modern look which was more homely than previous the dormitory arrangement. It was important to optimise the space available for studying, activities and storage.

The flexible design provides an easily adaptable space that can be transformed depending on the school’s requirements. Modules and furniture have been made to create a sustainable environment allowing the school the adapt their boarding options as required.

This was driven by a need to be able to respond to uncertainty in the type of boarder and mix of age and sex that is reflected in the different room layouts. The ability to adapt and interchange the room use with the same furniture gives a huge scope for flexibility.

The furniture design was integral to the planning of these modules and ability to adapt to different configurations and layout of furniture required for full boarders or day/flexi boarders.

During the project, we designed and manufactured bespoke bedroom and en-suite furniture for the boarding facility including beds, wardrobes and storage furniture to ensure that the available space was maximised, and to create a comfortable environment for the students. We also worked with the school to design items for the linen and laundry rooms in the dormitory.

bespoke boarding accommodation furniture

We designed and fitted a sample room according to the plans that had been agreed by Buttress Ltd and the client. This was essential to get a true feel for the furniture and how each piece integrated into the space.

“Witley Jones have worked with both the client and Buttress on numerous independent school boarding projects, which provided the confidence that they would deliver an excellent service, a collaborative and integrated approach as part of the client, design team and construction team with their long-standing Knowledge and experience of the bespoke furniture market.” Chris Whelan, Buttress Ltd.

“Witley Jones recently manufactured and installed over 65 bed spaces for Ward’s Boarding House here at Wycliffe. They also provided vanity units for each of the room’s en suites, dining furniture, trophy cabinets, common room furniture and furnished the cleaners/ linen store.

They met our specific requirements for each of these area, particularly the level of detail involved with the intricacies in each of the bedrooms; they were flexible and able to adapt to the conditions of the build during their delivery and installation programme, as well as manufacturing everything within the agreed timeframe.

We are delighted with the final outcome and the level of aftercare Witley Jones offer and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for future projects.” Mark Rickard, Estates Bursar.

Epsom College complete next stage of Refurbishment Programme

During the summer of 2017 we supplied bespoke furniture for the latest phase of the refurbishment of the boarding and day houses at Epsom College which began in 2012.

The two projects being Fayrer and Robinson, have followed on from Granville, Carr, Propert, Newsome, Holman and Forest Houses.

The Fayrer project is a phased transformation from the current use as a boy’s boarding house, it is to be split into two day houses for both boys and girls, with the new girl’s day house being called Murrell.

We were asked by the school to help with the work in the Robinson House, which included work in the large common room, the kitchen area, extensive seating spaces and IT areas.

We have worked closely with NVB Architects on the design and development of the bespoke furniture for each stage of the programme.

From onset, innovative integrated electrics were installed into all furniture for the student’s personal space, providing each pupil with a study area that included storage and lighting as well as an integrated power supply and USB charging point.

The furniture has been designed to incorporate the character for the intended use depending on whether it is for a boarding house or a day house.

The items of furniture match the colour scheme of each house, this included other fabrics used throughout the spaces, curtains and bed linen.

“NVB have thoroughly enjoyed working with Witley Jones who are a very adaptable and friendly organisation.

“The development of the furniture design was a truly innovative process and the engagement of the client was considered throughout each stage of the design process.

“NVB have worked with Witley Jones on a number of projects and would recommend them to any school for the design and supply of their furniture.” commented Bill Button, NVB Architects.

“Witley Jones provide an excellent design service and this is supported by a flexible approach to installation.” Commented Sarah Teasdale, Bursar at Epsom College.

Sarah continued, “I would definitely recommend Witley Jones to a colleague. Given the majority of work is carried out over the summer, and inevitably there are unforeseen issues that cause delays to the construction phase of the refurbishment, Witley Jones are proactive in working around these challenges, thereby ensuring that all furniture is in place by the start of term.”

Swanbourne House Case Study

Science lab Swanbourne House School

Established in 1920, Swanbourne House is an independent, co-educational preparatory boarding and day school for children aged three to thirteen years of age, located on a site of 55 acres in Buckinghamshire.

Witley Jones have worked with Swanbourne House over a number of years on a variety of projects. In 2013, we won a contract to provide bespoke pews as part of the first of a number of refurbishment projects planned at the school. The working relationship has continued to grow with the installation of storage furniture and lockers as well as boarding furniture in the main school building.

Following open tender, we were contacted by the school to provide a wide range of furniture to support the refurbishment of the Fremantle Building including furniture for Science and Technology classrooms, and furniture for the Languages and Computing classrooms in the Walker Building. Two complete bespoke science laboratories, an art room, a DT room and two computing suites were delivered in addition to a significant amount of loose furniture including the Postura+ range from KI Europe over summer 2017.

IT classroom furniture at Swanbourne House

Throughout these projects, a close and productive relationship was established with the Business Manager, Paul Jochimsen, the architects and the main contractor to design furniture to the client’s requirement to create a safe and innovative learning environment.

At the outset, the client was keen to see other classrooms and to be able to talk to colleagues in other schools about the design and function for the furniture. Witley Jones arranged for the Headmaster and Business Manager to visit Prior’s Field School which had recently completed a science lab project in their Arnold Building.

At each stage of the design process, the Business Manager sought teacher input to reach the final requirement. This required proactive and agile delivery by our design team who supported the client closely at every step along the design journey. As a consequence, each room was tailored to meet the needs of the teachers to enable them to deliver coherent teaching and learning.

Science lab design

The design of the science labs was based on the client’s review of many other schools, the final outcome was a lab has two separate functions in the single room – a theory space and a practical space that was also seamlessly linked to the preparation room.

Witley Jones supplied all taps, sinks, gas taps and electrical pedestal boxes, working alongside the M+E contractors for their integration in the furniture.

Part of the design consideration was to suitably house the existing ICT equipment within the theory area of the classroom and, also, to ensure that the unit housing the 80kg CleverTouch Smart TV was robust enough to carry this load.

Swanbourne House School classroom furniture

Clever use of a combination of materials ensure a long lasting, robust range of units with a keen eye on maintaining budgets, all doors were manufactured in laminated MDF with Trespa being specific for all worktops.

Paul Jochimsen, Business Manager at Swanbourne House, commented on the personal and close interaction with Matt Jones:

“His knowledge and leadership of the design team have been key to us over the past 8 months for our latest build projects and without which we would not have achieved such a satisfactory result. Also and as part of our due diligence prior to letting the contract it was very pleasing to note other customers comments about Witley Jones and the warmth with which they spoke about the company. This was a key ingredient in deciding to place the contract with Witley Jones.

The work last summer has taken the school forward significantly and we are very proud of the new facilities which place us at the cutting edge in education. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Witley Jones as the refurbishment programme continues.  As a result, I am more than happy to strongly recommend Witley Jones to others.”

Witley Jones assist Prior’s Field School with their largest capital project

Prior’s Field School is a vibrant and successful independent girls boarding and day school, set in 42 acres of stunning Surrey countryside located south of Guildford.  It is a place where individuality is celebrated and uniqueness embraced, a happy positive place where 450 pupils, aged 11 to 18 enjoy learning.

Science laboratory in Prior's Field School Arnold Building

Witley Jones have worked with the school for a number of years on a variety of projects, from small single classroom refurbishments to the fitting out of the Arnold Building, the largest capital project in the School’s history.

“Witley Jones’ attention to detail is exemplary, with the same level of focus going into each project, regardless of size.” commented Leonie Ranson, Bursar at Prior’s Field School.

The Arnold Building comprises eight state of the art Science laboratories, a Music School (including an eighty seat recital room with adjacent recording studio), a Food Technology Suite and several general classrooms.

The initial design for the project was driven by the School and their architect NBW Architects. We were tasked with manufacturing and installing furniture throughout the Arnold Building.

During the design and manufacture of the furniture for the Science labs, a key design feature was to ensure that the lab furniture was compliant with CLEAPPS, an educational industry standard adopted to ensure that laboratories offer a safe and effective learning environment.

The designs for the laboratory furniture were achieved after extensive consultation with the school’s teaching staff and involved double sided fixed student desks with a theory side facing the front of the classroom with a practical side complete with integrated storage for apparatus. The labs in the building were quite wide and to ensure that all students had a good view of the teacher, demonstration benches and interactive smartboard the desks were angled at each end.

A secondary design consideration was the School’s requirement to maximize the availability of suitable storage space requiring us to take a more considered approach to layouts; in many cases a bespoke solution was required.

The project was carried out in 2 phases, working closely with both the client and main contractor W. Stirland. The first phase and larger section of construction was carried out whilst the school continued to use their existing Science labs for lessons. The school then occupied the new part of the building whilst the original structure was extensively remodelled. This involved careful planning around delivery times and access to the buildings.

“Communication from Witley Jones was excellent throughout all stages of the project, from the initial discussion around design, through to installation and aftercare.”

“All projects face difficulties, but Witley Jones communicated and dealt with every issue or question immediately. We are delighted that the furniture provided by Witley Jones was manufactured to perfectly meet our specifications and finite requirements resulting in a truly bespoke final product.” Leonie Ranson, Bursar at Prior’s Field School.

Culford School Case Study

Culford School is a coeducational independent school situated near to Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Culford provides both day and boarding education to over 670 pupils aged between 1 and 18, set in 480 acres of parkland with exemplary sporting facilities.

Culford School

The school were looking to increase in number of girl boarders at Culford and to integrate day pupils into boarding houses.

We were asked by the school to provide assistance with designing the boarding furniture for Old Fitzgerald House.

Witley Jones have been working with Culford since 2003, therefore we have built up a great working relationship with the school which has allowed us to understand their requirements and how they like to work. This demonstrated on projects when we have designed the furniture for their boarding houses and their on site team have fitted the furniture.

In terms of design, we have worked with the school to make the design simple and efficient to make it easier to replicate through the boarding houses.

In some instances, rooms are an identical design with a double room with an alcove on one side of the door for the wardrobes and an alcove on the opposite side for the vanity unit.

boarding school bedroom furniture

We decided with the school to build these units in plain MDF whereas they would usually be Oak Veneered MDF. Only the doors and filler panels were made from Oak Veneer so from the front they look like a nice built in oak veneered units but inside they are plain mdf to save cost.

We also use a specific Laminate worktop with Oak hardwood nosing to give their range of furniture a bespoke feel to their design.

“Witley Jones Furniture were friendly and accommodating throughout the process providing with knowledgeable insight into the design to ensure that the project met our exact requirements and budget.” commented Gavin Reynolds, Assistant Head (Pastoral).

boarding house furniture


Woldingham School Case Study

Woldingham School is a Catholic boarding and day school for girls, founded 1842 and set in 700- acre estate on the Surrey Downs.

We have been working with the school for over 5 years completing major works in boarding houses, classrooms, the main dining hall as well as specialist study rooms.

Witley Jones have recently worked on three projects at the school including; the Berwick Lower Sixth Boarding House , East Wing staff accommodation and West Wing ICT projects.


Berwick Boarding HouseBerwick Boarding House Woldingham School

The accommodation for Berwick Lower Sixth Boarding House was part of a 3-year refurb plan to completely upgrade the rooms, as the building is 25 years old.  

Berwick was a departure from normal school specification, the school wanted a more modern clean look to the furniture.

The challenge was to replace some old high beds with integral desks with low beds but to still give the girls plenty of study and storage space.

We delivered a sample room for the staff and girls to appraise, from this the final design was agreed to ensure all requirements were met.

The room planning was critical as some rooms have awkward eaves and window details along with existing boxing for pipes which had to be taken into account when manufacturing the furniture.


East Wing Gap Year Staff Accommodation

The East wing project was a major upgrade for gap year staff accommodation as the space was in need of major improvement.

As the girls in this room are older, we altered the layouts to reflect a more adult look and changed the bed specification to a divan bed with storage, total 4 rooms.


West Wing ICT SuiteWoldingham School West Wing ICT Suite

Working with the IT team, we designed a specific layout and manufactured to school pantone colour reference.

The design incorporated cable management and tower box storage and protection to ensure that the suite was neat and tidy as well as meeting health and safety requirements.

The whole scheme was a trial to update other existing ICT suites in the school and has proved a great success with staff and pupils alike.

Woldingham School West Wing ICT Suite

“Witley Jones has proved to be an excellent supplier for Woldingham School. They deliver on time, in budget and can cope with some bursarial ‘fast balls’.

Witley Jones take a keen and detailed  interest in the overall projects, can work easily with other building contractors and the after service, if needed, is excellent.

You do what you say you will do and we have had many years of repeat orders.” commented Niall Campbell, Bursar, Woldingham School

Swanbourne House School

Witley Jones Emailer May

Witley Jones were asked to manufacture modern chapel pews for the newly refurbished Swanbourne House Chapel. Although this project was different to our normal production, we relished the opportunity to take on the challenge.
This just reinforces our motto that Anything is Possible!

See more examples of Seating Furniture

Project Update: Habberley Campus


Witley Jones starts work on 12 laboratories at Habberley Campus Witley Jones have been appointed by main contractor Speller Metcalfe to manufacture and install a range of Laboratory furniture at the new Habberley learning campus in Kidderminster.Working closely with the Worcestershire County Council architects team, room layouts have been carefully designed to offer maximum flexibility, using a mixture of laminated and solid surface panels. More details and images to follow.

See more examples of Classroom Furniture