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Newton Poppleford Primary School

Value | £3,388,340.74

Date of Possession | January 2019

Client | Department for Education/Newton Poppleford Primary School



Newton Poppleford Primary School, in Devon was operating as a 1FE primary with 186 pupils on roll, and a capacity for 210 children aged between 5 and 11 years of age. A nursery for up to 30 children was present on the site, located in a temporary building which was in very poor condition.

The main school was in poor condition and provided a limited amount of the necessary accommodation, which comprised; one classroom, administration, under-sized school hall, limited storage, a library space, and toilets only accessible from the outside. The staff room and head teacher’s office were accessed by a narrow set of steep stairs on the upper floor.

The majority of the teaching accommodation was provided in temporary buildings, which were at the end of their useful life. Dining and SEN spaces were located in a structurally unsound Horsa building directly opposite the main school building.

The strategic vision for the new facility, delivered through the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), was to retain the pupil intake at 210 as a 2 form entry. There was also a commitment to utilise the school for community engagement, which was to be achieved using the School’s playing field for out of hours football.



We were procured by the EFA through their Contractors Framework to deliver the scheme. The commission extended to a full turnkey D&B solution with our involvement commencing from the outset of the project, upon receipt of the EFA’s strategic brief.

The location of the new facility required the provision of temporary accommodation from the outset, due to the immediate adjacency of construction activity to the existing building. Following occupation of the temporary accommodation demolition of the existing buildings took place. The new two-storey facility has a GIFA of 1,211m2 and included provision of all new incoming service connects and external landscaping.

We led the development of the design to ensure all requirements of the EFA Output Specification were achieved, key programme dates were met, planning approval was gained and the scheme was delivered within the affordability envelope set by the EFA.

A key project challenge was the singular access and egress point to site. We employed a specialist traffic management company to implement parking restrictions and road closures when necessary, all in agreement with the local authority and highways team. As considerate constructors, the residents were kept informed of working times to mitigate disruption to their daily lives. Deliveries to site were restricted to specific timeslots to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers, with no traffic movement during school break times nor at the start and end of the day.

The logistics of working around temporary decant accommodation was also a risk to the project. This was successfully achieved through meticulous planning and the creation of a logistics proposal which were developed collaboratively with the EFA and the School. The use of off-site manufacture-led construction processes limited the site activity to an absolute minimum to minimise disruption to the live education environment.

Leading all stakeholder engagement, we developed project solutions to ensure that the needs of all individuals and organisations impacted by the project were considered throughout the development.

All site based activity was delivered in accordance with the Code of Considerate Practice as set out by the Considerate Constructor Scheme (CCS). Project-specific examples of this approach included the provision of a clear communications strategy with all stakeholders. The CCS noted on their audit that; ‘Although a brownfield site, the team are attentive to environmental issues and have good initiatives in place concerning waste, energy and water management.'



Our robust soft landings and quality management procedures were used to provide certainty of quality delivery at Newton Poppleford. To handover a high-quality education facility with zero defects, we implemented our ‘right first time' approach, planning for a defect-free handover from day one. From commencement we ensured the scheme was designed, manufactured and constructed with the operational needs of the new school firmly at the forefront of all activity. As a result, at completion and hand-over of the new facility, the pupils and staff were able to seamlessly transfer into the new school causing minimal disruption to their educational outcomes.

“Pupils will not have to suffer the elements – whatever they bring – when going to the toilet, as they currently do,” said the Headteacher of Newton Poppleford Primary School, Stuart Vaughan. If that isn’t a positive outcome then we don’t know what is! As well as keeping dry all over, the children will also benefit from whole school assemblies, PE in school rather than at alternative venues and in addition, everyone will be able to sit comfortably at lunchtimes.

“With respect to the education of the children during the build, as an outstanding Ofsted-rated school, the senior leadership team have looked at possible impact that may occur, and have made changes to various aspects such as the beginning and end of the day, lunchtimes and for key stage 2 PE, to ensure that the high standards that the school always strives for are maintained during the build.” - Stuart Vaughan, Poppleford Primary Academy Headteacher


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