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We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-develop an area of the school site to build an iconic dining hall, with increased space and a stunning view towards the Bishop’s Palace and Norwich Cathedral.

Once this has been constructed, the second phase of the project will see a new suite of six spacious classrooms built on the site of the demolished refectory for the provision of maths teaching as well as landscaping/pedestrianizing the whole area.



We need your support

Money generated through school fees is currently utilised predominantly on the pupil experience. Unlike many schools in our sector, Norwich School does not sit on a substantial endowment and we do not own many of the buildings we use.

Your valuable support is key to transforming the life of future generations of pupils at the school, ensuring that we deliver on our long-term educational vision for them. Once built, these high-quality facilities will be available for use by the wider community beyond the school day, benefitting all in the city.

The Bishop’s Palace Lawn Development will cost approximately £10m and our aim is that funds raised will allow us to begin the transformation in 2020. The school is intending to secure approximately £7m through loans and surplus; our aim is to raise a further £3m through fundraising. Over £700k of this figure has already been raised.

Bursaries – supporting the brightest talent

Our intent is to enable the brightest talent, regardless of ability to pay, to enjoy an excellent education here and to encourage them to thrive throughout life. We are committed to providing fantastic opportunities to those with the highest aspirations and believe that a diverse school community is of benefit to all our pupils.

Currently, Norwich School is delighted to offer over £700,000 worth of bursarial funding for over 70 pupils. However, each year we receive in excess of 100 requests for financial support.

Find out more about how pupils have benefited from bursaries and how you can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far have you got with securing planning permission?

An initial application in 2019 was narrowly refused. We submitted a revised and much improved planning application to the City Council which was again narrowly rejected by the Planning Committee in late 2020, citing one specific ecological reason. This was despite a recommendation from Planning Officers to approve our scheme.

We are urgently reassessing our next steps to successfully navigate the planning system.

Clearly this is a hugely sensitive site and there are many stakeholders involved. We have worked hard for over four years assessing constraints and opportunities and Governors remain confident of a positive outcome to this work in due course.

The school is committed to delivering a transformational legacy for this site for the long-term benefit of the whole community.

Why is this development needed?

Re-development of the Bishop’s Palace Lawn area on which the current refectory sits is long overdue. The current refectory is no longer fit for purpose and the chosen development site is ideal to meet the school’s strategic long-term needs. We have worked for over three years with stakeholders to deliver an ambitious and appropriate legacy development for the benefit to the whole community.

What are you planning to build?

In the initial phase we will construct a new kitchen and iconic dining hall, better sized to the current school needs, with views of the Bishop’s Palace and Cathedral. Once this is completed, in Phase Two, we will construct a new, two-storey classroom block. Finally, we will pedestrianize and landscape the whole area to ensure it is safe, green and a good environmental fit within the Cathedral Close.

When will the work start?

Subject to obtaining satisfactory planning permissions, sufficient funding being in place and contractors being appointed, we aim to start as soon as possible.

How long will the work last?

It is envisaged that the dining hall will take at least a year to build and the classroom block another year thereafter.

As this is the largest project the school has ever undertaken in recent years, a specialist project manager will be employed to oversee it.

What disruption will this cause and how will this be managed?

The school has two main priorities during this project: i) the safety of all pupils in its care; ii) the continuity of provision of hot lunchtime meals for the whole school. Both will require careful management.

Addressing i): The areas of site under development will be screened off at all times. As far as possible, contractor access will be through and over the precinct wall surrounding the site rather than through the school grounds.

Addressing ii) The current refectory will be kept running and the existing kitchens will remain fully operational during the construction of the new dining hall. Only when that structure is commissioned and in use will the current refectory be demolished.

How much is the estimated cost of this development?

Initial estimates, subject to detailed tending and finalising of design, are in the region of £10,000,000

How will you fund this project?

This is the most ambitious capital project the school has ever undertaken and rigorous viability assessments have been considered by the Governors.

The intent is to use £3m over three years of school trading surplus, to take on £4m of borrowing and raise the balance of the £10m required to complete the project through fundraising. 25% of the fundraising target of £3m has already been raised through donor generosity, as at spring 2019.

How have you ensured the development fits in well with its sensitive and beautiful surrounds?

We have worked for three years with key stakeholders including the planning authority, statutory bodies, neighbours and the Cathedral to design an appropriate, attractive legacy development that the school and the wider Norwich community will be proud of.

By clever use of space, orientation and incorporation of the precinct wall, we believe we have designed a structure that fits in sensitively with its historic surroundings. We intend that the building will be used by the wider community, allowing people to enjoy splendid views of the Bishop’s Palace.

From an ecological perspective, we hope the pedestrianizing of this corner of the Upper Close and the extensive landscaping will serve to make the area green and welcoming, as well as remedying any current untidy areas.

What is the benefit to the wider community?

Whilst it is clear the school will enjoy the new facilities that it has funded, we are very excited about the benefit to the wider community outside the school gates.

Norwich School is already committed to a major programme of outreach activities as part of its Reaching Out campaign, letting out its facilities for charitable purposes on a sliding scale of charges reflecting this.

Beyond the school day, our intent is to allow sensitively-managed access to this wonderful new space to external hires from the local community, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of the new facilities, the unique position and views.

How can you help?

There are many ways to give – regular monthly, quarterly or annual giving, one-off lump sum donations or legacies in your will. Find out more about ways to give here

Click here to complete an online donation form

Call the Development office
01603 728 479 or email

Return a printed 
donation form

by post


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