Recommendations will then be put forward for councillors to debate before any Moray school extensions, mergers or closures are finalised.

‘Underinvestment in Moray schools’

Moray’s schools are ranked amongst being in the worst condition in the whole of Scotland.

Targets set by the Scottish Government require buildings to be graded at least B, meaning satisfactory, for condition.

However, in the most recent statistics five of Moray’s eight secondary schools fall below that level. Four are ranked C, meaning poor, and Forres Academy is graded D, meaning bad.

Only 22 of the 44 primary schools meet the minimum standard. There are 21 ranked C and one, Alves Primary, graded D.

Andy Hall, Moray Council’s acting head of education resources, admits there has been an underinvestment in the region’s schools. He argues children could receive a better experience in more modern facilities.  He said:

“There has been an underinvestment in the school estate in the past, but now there is a commitment to invest.

“We need to reduce the estate, that’s a given, and we need to make sure what we have got is supporting a 21st century curriculum.

“First of all we have to look at what we have, and it’s not necessarily just looking at the buildings that are 100 years old because in the 1960s and 70s there was more of a throwaway economy.

“We also need to look at what we are going to need. There is a falling birth rate, which means the school population will reduce, which we expect to steady out in four or five years.

“Everything needs to be very much focussed on what the educational benefit will be.”

Could school buildings be used more for other uses?

Traditional school buildings are currently only used 190 days a year. It means they lie empty almost as often as they are used.

Options being considered as part of the review include examining options to make the facilities more available for community use. It is hoped making the buildings more sustainable could sustain Moray schools while also avoiding closures of other facilities.

Possible uses could include incorporating more sport facilities, community rooms, libraries with some schools in Aberdeenshire even housing police stations. Mr Hall said:

“It’s particularly exciting for rural schools. We have already had some conversations about the former Inveravon school.

“One of the things the community there wants is a rural business centre. The community thinks there are lots of opportunities there when it’s handed back to the owner.

“Shared-use buildings is the sustainable model of the future. We understand there are concerns around safety. We can already control that with restricted or controlled access, CCTV and some other things.”

Mrs Robertson added: “There are excellent examples of what can be done at Alford and Ellon.

“We can’t just look at one little corner. We need to look at the whole window of the wider benefits of modern buildings.”

Source: The Press & Journal


AIM Acoustic & Insulation Manufacturing has supplied Wall Cavity Barriers and open state cavity barriers (OSCBs), along with technical support, for a ‘path-breaking’, 900-room student accommodation development at the University of West England Bristol’s Frenchay Campus. Designed by Stride Treglown, the project’s main contractor is Vinci Construction.

AIM worked with Maple Sunscreening on the rainscreen façade system assembly from the ground floor upwards, which is mainly cassette panels with AIM’s OSCBs incorporated horizontally and AIM’s Wall Cavity Barriers installed vertically.


Joe Hemming, senior project manager for Maple Sunscreening said,


“Maple’s commitment to the highest level of quality installation and recording has proved vital in maintaining confidence with the client, to date Maple’s on-site team have worked closely with AIM and the client to deliver product training with certification for over 60 operatives and managers currently work on this project.  This is now reflecting within Maple’s and AIM’s quality audits.”  AIM also supplied and supported installers Sandford Building Contractors during the construction of the extruded polystyrene (XPS) filled sub-floor cavity, which included a layer of AIM’s Wall Cavity Barrier directly above the XPS, and all two masonry storeys.




Designed for use within ventilated rainscreen facades and timber frame cladding systems, AIM’s OSCBs allow free airflow and drainage and improve fire safety, providing fire resistance of up to two hours insulation and integrity in suitably supporting structures.  In the event of a fire, heat activates an intumescent strip which expands quickly to fully close the cavity.   AIM Wall Cavity Barriers are made from foil faced high density Rockwool stone wool and are suitable for use in all masonry cavity walls, as well as for fire stopping between a masonry curtain wall system and a concrete floor slab. The barriers prevent the passage of heat, flame and smoke within the cavity they fill for one- or two-hour fire-resistance rating periods.  They are tested to BS 476-20.  The barriers also reduce airborne transmission of sound by a minimum of 21db Rw.




Frameworks: The answer to procuring for education projects

By Dean Fazackerley, Head of Technical Procurement, LHC Procurement Group (LHC)


Earlier this year, the National Audit Office (NAO) published its damning Condition of School Buildings report revealing that around 700,000 pupils are being taught in schools requiring major rebuilding or refurbishment.  It found 38% of England’s 64,000 school buildings are now believed to have surpassed their estimated initial design life and that 572 may contain reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).  The NAO’s report also revealed that the Government is spending less than half of the £5.3bn it recommended in 2020 as a minimum requirement for maintaining schools. This is despite claims from the Department for Education (DfE) that since 2015, £13bn has been allocated to improving the condition of school buildings and facilities.
While the Government has commissioned various funding initiatives such as the School Rebuilding Programme, and promised an additional £2bn investment, there is clearly still a considerable amount of work to be done to refurbish our schools.

How frameworks can help with school expansion and refurbishment

Procuring via a framework can be a viable option for large capital education projects, as they take the pressure off in-house teams that are already feeling the squeeze.

They can allow for faster delivery. As suppliers have already been through the statutory periods, schools can use frameworks to speed up the procurement process and better focus on what they need. What is more, frameworks also offer access to a selection of high-quality, pre-approved and pre-assessed contractors. This gives reassurance to clients where resources might not allow them to run this sort of validation process alone.   There is also the option of procuring via mini competition or direct award, so frameworks can provide a solution where an urgent requirement necessitates.

Given the widespread discussion around sustainability and creating buildings fit for the future, procurement frameworks can facilitate access to specialist consultants and expertise in carbon net zero building or asset maintenance long-term. They feature pre-approved and vetted high-quality contractors and suppliers offering confidence in the solutions they offer for education building projects.


Through our Public Buildings Construction and Infrastructure (PB3) and Modular Buildings (MB2) frameworks, we are seeing these benefits in action.  The former covers the construction of new buildings, extensions and refurbishment of public buildings and infrastructure works, while the latter covers the design, supply and installation of permanent modular buildings, refurbished modular buildings, and the hire of temporary modular buildings for all public buildings including schools and colleges. Both are live until 2025.  How Kent County Council is using a procurement framework

Over the past 10 years, the number of children being born in Gravesham has been consistently higher than both Kent and the national average.

The population increase in North Kent has resulted in expansion of nearby primary schools, which is having a knock-on effect on requirements for increased secondary school capacity. Kent County Council (KCC) recognised the need to enhance infrastructure and meet the future needs of local towns and their residents.

A study undertaken in 2019 confirmed there would be significant pressure for Year 7 places in the catchment area of North Kent, so it was critical for KCC to explore potential sites for suitable expansion, in the geographical regions where it was most needed. They therefore decided to expand Meopham School by building a new block.  Beyond the buildings


At LHC, we are passionate about improving lives and places through quality procurement solutions and supporting clients to provide as much added value as they can. The work being done by KCC through LHC’s PB3 framework is providing social, economic and environmental value to the Gravesham community.  Achieving an expansion in the correct location allows children to learn close to their homes, families, and the community they are most comfortable with. This helps local communities to grow rather than fragment.  As a by-product of the extension work, KCC has facilitated pupil construction workshops and apprenticeships for the local community and made charitable donations to aid community and voluntary groups.

Through PB3, the organisation has been able to work with local trades and source materials locally. Further economic benefits are brought about by expanding a school with an already excellent reputation and infrastructure as opposed to building a new one.

Environmentally, the new block has been designed using highly efficient materials and renewable energy and ecological improvements are being made to ensure that existing flora and fauna continue to flourish. Meanwhile, careful thought and consideration went into deciding the location of the expansion to reduce journey times for families. KCC also introduced a purpose-built pick-up/drop-off facility to mitigate traffic and congestion, which has been a major historic problem for the local community.  The example given here illustrates the added pressure on local authorities to plan for the demands of a growing population while considering the long-lasting impacts their developments can have. It presents a strong case for using public sector procurement frameworks.




Modern educational buildings have become intricate ecosystems that demand a unique blend of functionality, safety, sustainability, and rapid development. O’Reilly Precast has been a trailblazer in meeting these demands effectively through the use of precast and offsite construction methods. Here’s a detailed look at how our innovative construction methods are shaping the future of educational spaces.


The Edge of Offsite Construction

Speed is of the essence in many educational construction projects, especially when the new term looms. Offsite construction offers a swift yet highly reliable solution. Our work at Hacton Primary School in London serves as an excellent case study. Despite a challenging logistical backdrop, our team completed a state-of-the-art building in just seven weeks. That’s 4,000m² of precast walls, 3,000m² of precast floors, and five flights of stairs—all manufactured, delivered, and installed in record time.

Proven Quality with BET Certification

Quality assurance is at the forefront of what we do. O’Reilly Precast’s elements are BET-certified, offering an extra layer of trust. This certification is not just a label; it reflects our commitment to the highest safety standards and performance. BET’s accreditation ensures airtightness and energy efficiency, two essential features for educational buildings that often have unique HVAC needs.

Expertise Meets Innovation

Our workforce of over 520 professionals includes designers, engineers, production crews, and administrative staff. This allows us to provide an end-to-end service—starting from initial sketches to the final structure. With 40 highly skilled detailers and engineers, we utilise industry-leading software such as Tekla, AutoCAD, and FloorCAD to deliver top-quality results. Our design and technical teams add significant value by spotting potential issues early on and offering alternative, cost-effective solutions.

A Sustainable Approach

Sustainability is an ever-growing concern, and our efforts have been substantial in this domain. We’ve reduced emissions per unit by nearly 25%, and our use of Ecocem GGBS has saved thousands of tonnes of CO2. These environmentally-friendly measures are more than just a marketing point; they’re a commitment to future generations who will occupy these educational spaces.

Precision in Logistics

Getting construction materials to the site is the final, yet critical, piece of the construction puzzle. Our logistics network is designed for efficiency and reliability. O’Reilly Precast offers flexibility through a choice of ports and a 3-day turnaround delivery programme. Whether it’s in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, or the UK, our products reach their destination on time, every time.

Beyond Precast: Complete Solutions for Education

O’Reilly Precast doesn’t just provide precast concrete; we offer comprehensive solutions tailored for the educational sector. Whether it’s St. Mochta’s National School in Dublin—the largest post-primary school built in Ireland—or Suttons Primary School in London, our projects stand as a testament to our ability to deliver high-quality, timely, and sustainable educational buildings.

Concluding Thoughts

At O’Reilly Precast, we believe in more than just providing concrete solutions; we’re facilitating the future of education through modern, fast, and sustainable building practices.


To discover how we can contribute to your next educational project, contact our Birmingham Office:


Izabella House, 24-26 Regent Place Birmingham, B1 3NJ – +44 (0) 121 630 3472


CLICK HERE to email O’Reilly Precast


or CLICK HERE to visit the O’Reilly Precast Website


A Nottingham primary school deemed “no longer fit for purpose” could be torn down and rebuilt. The Department for Education (DfE) has submitted plans to knock down Southglade Primary School’s current building off Beckhampton Road, Bestwood, so it can be replaced by an improved structure and facilities.

The rebuild is part of the government department’s school rebuilding programme, but is also partially funded by Nottingham City Council. Half of the school would be demolished after a relocation to temporary accommodation, with the remainder of the existing building demolished once the new building is completed and operational.

The new building would accommodate a two-form entry primary school, with 420 pupils, plus a 52-place Nursery, in total providing 472 pupils aged 3-11 years. This means the school would have the same number of pupils and staff members as in the current building, which planning documents labelled unfit for purpose.

The new school will sit over the footprint of the existing infant school buildings, with the reduced total footprint allowing for greater outdoor space for pupils. Locals endorsed the plans, with some claiming the existing building was visibly deteriorating.

Debora Madden, 66, from Bestwood, said: “The new building will be so much better for the kids, you could see that the old building is falling apart.

Hopefully it will make the kids better focused and want to go to school more. The new sports facilities will be so important, as all kids need to be active and play sports.”

The proposal would also result in a better and bigger sports provision, planning documents suggest. A new sports court will replace the smaller existing timber-fenced kickabout area currently used for PE, while sports will continue to be played on a new grass area, and relocated play and exercise equipment will be placed around the grounds.

Michael Clark, 82, from Top Valley, said: “I’m glad it’s staying on the same site, as the location is good, right in the middle of Bestwood. “The new site will definitely benefit the pupils. The new sports facilities are so important and for kids to be playing sports, it helps with everything.”


Harry Jones, 69, who lives in Bestwood, added: “It’s about time they built a new one and it is good to be in the same area. Kids need to be playing sports, so the better facilities will be good.”

The DfE’s construction contractors Bowmer + Kirkland have explained the new proposals are characterised by the “use of traditional brickwork and high-quality rainscreen cladding, in a confident and contemporary manner”.

Planners said the building’s masonry would draw from the colour of the current cream-coloured brickwork on the campus, providing a “familiar and attractive backdrop to learning” for pupils and staff. The project’s designs also include “flashes of colour in the cladding” for a “sense of fun” with burgundies and reds to reflect the school branding, and greens and yellows to reflect the school tree emblem.

In a planning document, contractor Bowmer + Kirkland, on behalf of applicant the Department for Education, said:

“The proposals will address the need for new and improved educational facilities and will enhance the current facilities on site whilst also providing opportunities for community use.” The planning application is pending consideration by Nottingham City Council.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“We are delighted that the next stage of work to deliver a full new build for Southglade Primary School is due to start as part of our School Rebuilding Programme which will transform 500 schools across the country. The project will breathe new life into the community by providing state-of-the-art school facilities, a modern and eco-friendly environment for over 400 pupils, which will inspire generations to come.”


Source: Nottingham Post

An artist’s impression of the new dining hall extension at Burton Borough School in Newport


Building contractor wins £6.6m of new projects 


A Shropshire building contractor has landed three new contracts in the education and care sector.

Pave Aways will design and build a single storey extension at Lawley Village Academy in Telford that will allow the school to offer an additional 210 places along with a new nursery and associated internal and external works.

The Knockin based contractor will also build a dining hall extension and refurbish the kitchen at Burton Borough School in Newport, where it carried out an extension and refurbishment to the main hall in 2019. Both projects are on behalf of Telford & Wrekin Council.

Additionally, Pave Aways has been commissioned to carry out a refurbishment and small extension at a children’s home near Shrewsbury for Shropshire Council’s Property Services Group.

Managing director Steven Owen said:

“These new contracts are the latest in a long line of new build, extensions and refurbishments in the education and care sector and play to our strength of being able to deliver high quality new facilities whilst organisations carry on their day-to-day operation.

“It’s also good news for our supply chain of suppliers and sub-contractors as we’re committed to using businesses within a 20-mile radius of the jobs, ensuring a boost to the economy by keeping our spend local.”

Pave Aways, which celebrates its 50th year in business this October, is currently working on a number of other education projects including the new £5.1m girls’ house at Shrewsbury School and science laboratories at Packwood Haugh as well contracts in the healthcare, charity and manufacturing sectors.

A new primary school is being flattened before it is finished, with children being taught in temporary buildings. The academy had been under construction but was hit by a number of delays.

Now workers have been on site pulling down the buildings, after work first started in January 2021. The school had originally been set to open in September 2021.

However a number of delays set back the project including the company which provided the buildings – Caledonian Modular – going into administration in April 2022. The school was forced to start educating children from a temporary site at Newquay Sports Centre.

Last May Lisa Mannall, Cornwall Education Learning Trust (CELT) lead from the multi-academy trust behind the new Newquay Primary Academy, said:

“Due to unforeseen delays incurred by the Department for Education (DfE) to provide suitable accommodation for Newquay Primary Academy (NPA), Newquay Sports Centre, CELT and the Newquay community have pulled together to provide a site for the town’s children.”

People in Newquay who have watched the demolition taking place this week have been commenting on social media to say that they think it is a waste.

Jessica May wrote on Facebook:

“What a huge shame. Waste of all the materials, environmentally terrible.” And Marie Pearce added: “What a total waste! These people have no imagination or ability to think outside their bureaucratic boxes.”

The Newquay school is not the only one in Cornwall affected by the collapse of Caledonian Modular. The new Sky Academy planned at the West Carclaze Garden Village near St Austell was also set to be built by the firm and work had also started on building the new Launceston Primary School.

At West Carclaze work had started on preparing the site for the new school but no building work had started when the project was halted. The new school has been operating from a temporary site at the Eden Project until the new buildings are ready.

In Launceston work is also set to start on demolishing the part-built school there. The Department for Education has been reported as stating:

“The main contractor originally appointed by DfE unexpectedly went into administration in March 2022, leaving several construction issues that do not comply with the DfE’s strict construction standards.

“Detailed surveys of the buildings have been completed to identify the extent of these issues and a plan of action has been agreed with the replacement main contractor to rectify and complete the works and ensure that the new building is fully compliant with the DfE’s strict quality and safety requirements. Works are anticipated to be complete in Summer 2024.”

CELT has been contacted to comment on the current situation at Newquay Primary Academy and said it would respond but has failed to do so.


Source: Nottinghamshire Live

Clegg Construction starts work on Maltby Grammar School renovation project

Contractor Clegg Construction has started work on an exciting £5.9m renovation scheme to repurpose the derelict Maltby Grammar School near Rotherham into a community resource and education facility.

The company has pledged to support a range of local health and wellbeing projects and employment and skills development opportunities during the contract, and it is estimated that up to £1.25m will be pumped into the local economy after Clegg Construction committed to use as many local sub-contractors, suppliers and enterprises as possible.

Pre-Construction Director, Ross Crowcroft, said:

“Maltby Grammar School has played a pivotal role in the local community over many decades and the team at Clegg Construction is very pleased to be breathing new life into this historic building and giving it a future.

“This project will provide significant new facilities for the area in terms of learning and development. We have pledged to support the local community in a number of ways during the duration of this project as part of our commitment to the communities that we work in.

“We are pleased to have now made a start on site and look forward to the renovation project progressing over the coming months. We have wide experience of working both within the heritage sector and the education sector, so this scheme is a perfect fit for our expertise at Clegg Construction.”

Built in the early 1930s, the school closed in 2012 and had fallen into a state of disrepair after being mothballed.

Maltby Learning Trust is now bringing the historic building back into use with plans which include the creation of incubator space for training and apprenticeships, bookable workspaces and serviced hot-desking, and start-up support for the leisure and hospitality sectors.

The re-purposed building – known for its impressive clock tower – will also extend Maltby Learning Trust’s Post 16 specialist facilities for students who attend Maltby Academy and Sir Thomas Wharton Academy sixth form provision.

Clegg Construction has just started work on site to refurbish the building and also to build a new steel frame extension in the existing courtyard to provide space for an exhibition hall.

The company is also exploring opportunities to work with the school’s estates team to create outdoor space for tree and flower planting, along with bee and butterfly corridors.

David Sutton, Chief Executive Officer of Maltby Learning Trust, said:

We are absolutely delighted to announce that work has now started on redeveloping the old Maltby Grammar School.

“The works will see the old Grammar School building repurposed and will create a community resource that accommodates local services, supports wellbeing, employment and enterprise, and provides substantial learning opportunities for the Maltby community.

“This is an exciting time for Maltby Learning Trust and this project will see us taking a building that hasn’t been occupied for nearly a decade and create an inclusive multi-functional space that will host a series of community events and learning activities.”

The redevelopment project was part of a winning bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund secured by Rotherham Council, which focused on boosting the leisure and hospitality sectors in the area. The Levelling Up Fund will provide £4.5m towards the project.

The renovation is due to be completed at the end of this year. Other members of the team working alongside Clegg Construction include Self Architects, engineer GCA Ltd and employer’s agent and project manager Cube.

Clegg Construction is a Midlands, East Anglia, and Yorkshire-based construction firm specialising in the delivery of public and private sector projects.

The company works with organisations of all sizes and specialities across a range of different sectors.

For more information visit

South London pupils will get a new school after they had to leave their old building because of ” numerous health and safety concerns”. 

Students at Iqra Primary School will move into the new classrooms from next year, after Lambeth councillors approved plans to redevelop the school’s former Park Hill site in Clapham.

Under the proposals, the school’s ex-1970s blocks will be bulldozed and replaced with a new building with green roofs and solar panels. All 236 kids who attended the Islamic school’s former site before its closure in June 2022 will be rehoused in the new building.

Pupils have been taught in a spare classroom at nearby Kings Avenue School since they had to leave the Park Hill site.  Headteacher Humaira Saleem said the new Department of Education (DofE) funded building would allow kids to receive top teaching in a safe environment.

In a statement read out on her behalf at a council meeting on February 21, she said:


“I have witnessed the struggles and difficulties our students have faced every day due to the poor state of our current building. The current building is in a state of disrepair with outdated facilities, inadequate space and numerous health and safety concerns.

“Despite these obstacles, our school has provided excellent education to the children of Lambeth. It has been rated as outstanding by Ofsted and has continued to serve our community with distinction. We believe it is now time to build on this success and ensure our students can receive a high-quality education in a modern, safe and stimulating learning environment.”


Emma Penson, from planning consultants DWD said the buildings on the site were no longer suitable for the school. Speaking on behalf of the DofE, she said:


“The planning application provides a modern and quality school for the pupils and staff of Iqra.  The existing buildings are no longer suitable for the school, being dated, in poor condition and at the end of their working life.

“The Department of Education are thrilled that the planning application is being recommended for approval tonight. They are very much looking forward to delivering a modern, high-quality primary school for the pupils and staff of Iqra.”


But Krysta Shimamura, a local resident who lives across from the school, said she was concerned about smells and noise because of the building’s design. She told the meeting:


“According to the odour assessment report, this property has been classified as high risk in odour. The kitchen and bin storage have been moved closer to our property.

“Design option three puts the playground and assembly hall closer to our house than in design option two. As individuals who work from home regularly, this will disrupt our work day. We work from home four days a week.”


A Lambeth Council planning committee made up of five Labour councillors and one green councillor approved the new school at a meeting on February 21. One councillor abstained.


Source: Clapham Nub News

Exciting plans for a new school that will transform education for vulnerable learners in Powys have been unveiled, the county council has said.


Powys County Council is to build a new £9.1m school for Brynllywarch Hall School as part of its Transforming Education programme. The school, located in Kerry near Newtown, provides education for pupils from 8 to 19-year-olds, with a wide range of complex emotional, behavioural and social difficulties.

A pre-application consultation for the proposed development has started, which allows interested parties to comment on the plans before a planning application is submitted.

The pre-application consultation will close on Tuesday, 14 March, 2023.

The council and its construction partner ISG Construction will also be showcase the exciting plans at two drop-in events that will take place at the school on the following days:

  • Tuesday 28 February between 3.30pm and 7pm
  • Tuesday 7 March between 3.30pm and 7pm

The drop-in events will be open to the whole school community as well as members of the public.

Cllr Pete Roberts, Cabinet Member for a Learning Powys, said:


“The new building for Brynllywarch Hall School is a vital step to ensuring we deliver education in a safe and stimulating environment for all our pupils. This project will provide modern facilities for our pupils and teaching staff and help them to deliver an enjoyable and fulfilling education experience for everyone.

“These drop-in events provide a great opportunity for everyone in the school community and members of the public to view these exciting plans, which will transform education for vulnerable learners in Powys.”



To view the pre-application consultation documents online visit which also gives details on how you can make representations on the proposed plans.


Source: Powys