Scotland’s Highland Council is seeking the approval of plans for an all-new Nairn Academy.

The council hopes to be able to demolish the current 50-year-old school buildings, which are in poor condition and contain asbestos.

Potentially dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) was discovered in the school last year.

Highland Council officers have recommended that next week’s planning applications committee grant permission for the new building.

Approximately 670 pupils are enrolled at Nairn Academy. The new three-storey replacement would have capacity to accommodate 720 pupils.

A synthetic grass pitch, multi-use games area and a 100m running track would also be created. The school would have a games hall, gymnasium and fitness suite.

Last year, Highland Council said the school could cost £59m.

In May, councillors approved investing £2bn over the next 20 years to build new schools and upgrade roads.

Highland Council said it would pay for the plan by borrowing money and using 2% of the money it collects through council tax.

Almost 70 of its more than 200 schools have been rated to be in a poor condition and 74 rated as being of poor suitability.

 

Springmoor Grange School will become home to students from the existing Ox Close Primary and Ox Close Nursery Schools.

The contractor behind the construction of a new primary school in Spennymoor, which will replace the existing Ox Close Primary and Ox Close Nursery Schools, has shared the latest images from the site as the project nears completion.

North of England contractor, Esh Construction, is working in partnership with Durham County Council to deliver a two-storey school that will open in September 2024 and have capacity for up to 630 pupils in addition to a nursery unit. The new school will be called Springmoor Grange School and will be located on the Durham Road site of the former Tudhoe Grange Comprehensive School.

Passers-by can see the latest progress externally, with brickwork, rainscreen cladding and curtain walling all substantially complete, allowing the perimeter scaffold to be taken down to reveal the new building. Photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed on the roof which will allow the school to generate its own solar energy.

The fit-out internally, including first and second fix joinery, is well underway and will create 21 teaching classrooms, a nursery, learning community suite, library, office spaces, staff room, toilet facilities, changing rooms, hall, and dining and kitchen facilities. Fixed furniture is also being installed, including classroom kitchens.

First fix mechanical and electrical works are well advanced and over the coming weeks, the focus will be on finishes and decoration as Esh Construction moves towards final handover.

The site car park is complete and work is ongoing off Spennymoor’s Durham Road to form new entrances into the school.

Grant Watson, Construction Manager for Esh’s commercial build division, said: “At Esh, we are proud to work within the local community to deliver a brand-new primary school that will benefit the local area for years to come. Working alongside Durham County Council, the school is being delivered to ensure that children in the area have the best facilities to learn and develop in their early school years.

“Throughout the scheme, we are working hard to maximise the social and economic benefits for the local area – to date, 91% of the workforce are from the North East region, 166 apprentice weeks have been delivered, and 24 veterans have worked on the project.”

The project is being designed and funded by Durham County Council and will ensure school provision in Spennymoor keeps pace with growing demand for places.

Anna Bowden, Acting Executive Headteacher at Ox Close Federation, said: “It has been great to witness the progress of Springmoor Grange School over the last few months and we have continued to work alongside Durham County Council and Esh Construction to ensure that the project is of maximum benefit for the children of Spennymoor, their families and the wider community.

“The new school will enhance our current provision, whilst also building upon the high standards, strong community ethos and wraparound care that Ox Close Primary and Ox Close Nursery Schools are noted for. It is a very exciting time and we are looking forward to moving and welcoming the children this September.”

Plans to refurbish the former St James’ Primary in Calton have been given the go ahead, paving the way for the opening of Glasgow’s fourth Gaelic school.

Council planners have now approved the city education department’s bid to revamp — and extend — the B-listed Green Street building.

It is expected to be completed by December next year and open in January 2026. Pupils are currently being taught at North Kelvinside Primary.

Permission was previously granted to demolish part of the “derelict” school. The revamp of the remaining building presents “a vital lifeline for one of Calton’s most significant heritage assets”, the plans stated.

Under the scheme, the former primary school, which has been empty since 2009, will become part of Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig a’ Challtainn — Calton Gaelic Primary School.

There will be 12 classrooms and two general purpose rooms, reusing the original classroom spaces. A multi-use games area will be provided too.

The project also includes an extension, to be built on what was the original playground. It will have an assembly hall, kitchen and a drama and performance classroom.

It was reported in September last year that the council would have to spend up to £11.6 million on the project, up from an initial estimate of £8.25 million, due to the building being in a worse condition and inflation.

Overall, the school is expected to cost £22.8 million, with funding also being provided by the Scottish Government.

Plans submitted by education services stated the school is “in a derelict state” and will “require substantial renovation work.”

“With St James’ fulfilling the requirements for Glasgow’s fourth Gaelic medium school, the project presents a vital lifeline for one of Calton’s most significant heritage assets and may play a part in energising regeneration of other historic assets in the area,” they added.

The new Gaelic school would join Glendale Primary School in the south and Govan Gaelic Primary School and Glasgow Gaelic School in the west.

Calton Community Council supported the proposal as it will “see the historic building reused in a sensitive and appropriate manner.”

No off-street parking is included in the plan. There will be four accessible spaces, two accessible drop-off bays and one bus bay. Parking for 89 bikes will be provided.

Planners reported the proposal would “salvage a substantial listed building which is one of the remaining pieces of cultural heritage of the Calton area and would make use of a prominent brownfield site that had fallen into significant disrepair.”

Previous plans for demolition covered toilet extensions and a section to the rear of the school building. Emergency works had already been carried out to the roof to “avoid uncontrolled collapse and halt further distress to the building.”

The school, built in 1885, was used until 2009 when remaining pupils were moved to Alexandra Parade Primary.

Source: STV News

Contractor Clegg Construction has completed a £5.9m renovation scheme to transform Maltby Grammar School, near Rotherham, into a community resource and education centre.

During the course of the project, Clegg invested more than £3m into the local economy by using local labour and materials wherever possible.

Nine former Maltby Grammar School students, as well as a number of people from the Maltby area, were part of the workforce.

Pre-construction director at Clegg Construction, Ross Crowcroft, said: “We are pleased to have handed over the repurposed and renovated Maltby Grammar School to Maltby Learning Trust.

“The building has had a distinguished past and now has a bright future as a superb community resource, providing local services and learning facilities.

“Clegg Construction takes pride in supporting local communities wherever we work, which has been aptly demonstrated by our commitment to the local economy in the Maltby and South Yorkshire area and the people who live there.”

During the course of the renovation, Clegg worked with clock repair and dial restoration specialists, Smith of Derby Ltd, to repair the clock tower at Maltby Grammar School – getting it working again for the first time in 10 years.

The renovated Maltby Grammar School will accommodate local services, support wellbeing, employment and enterprise, and provide substantial learning opportunities.

The building will also extend Maltby Learning Trust’s post-16 specialist facilities and create an incubator space for training, apprenticeships and start-up support in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Maltby Learning Trust CEO, David Sutton, said: “We are thrilled with the work that Clegg Construction has done to renovate and refurbish the former Maltby Grammar School Building.

“The trust will now be working to fit out the interior of the multi-purpose building to make it suitable for our sixth form, business, and community audiences.

“This project will make a huge difference to the area by offering a space for people to learn, reskill, work, and thrive. We are looking forward to opening the building later in the year with a series of events.”

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

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 provided £4.5m towards the project.

Other members of the team involved in the scheme included Self Architects, engineer GCA Ltd and employer’s agent and project manager Cube.

Source: The Business Desk

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.


CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE AIM WEBSITE

 


 

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.


CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE LHC WEBSITE

 


 

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.