Work starts on new £5.3 million Derbyshire primary school

Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale (second left) with Rob Cant from Morgan Sindall Construction, Spencer Academies Trust Chief Executive Paul West and Kieran Roberts from Lungfish Architects.

A ground-breaking ceremony has been held to officially mark the start of work on a new £5.3 million Derbyshire primary school which will be open to its first pupils in September 2020.

Derbyshire County Council is contributing up to £2million towards Highfields Spencer Academy near Littleover, which is being built in response to the need for more school and nursery places created by new housing developments in the area.

Cabinet Member for Young People, Councillor Alex Dale attended the ground-breaking ceremony with representatives from developer Morgan Sindall and the Spencer Academies Trust which will be operating the school.

The building, sited off Tutbury Avenue, is a modular structure which will accommodate 210 pupils aged up to 11 and include a nursery.

Councillor Dale said: “We’re very pleased to be working in partnership on this exciting project and making the best use of our resources to provide a high-quality modern school for local children and for use by the wider community.

“We approved the requirement for a new school to respond to the need for more school places due to significant housing developments in the area and also to provide much-needed nursery provision.

“We were pleased to be involved in its design and it is our first whole school modular build – a building innovation recommended by the Department for Education – which makes it quick, efficient and cost-effective and also reduces construction disruption for local residents.”

The school has been designed by Nottingham-based Lungfish Architects and features:

  • single storey 15,500 square foot main building with a reception area and seven classrooms to accommodate 210 pupils aged up to 11
  • a school-managed 26-place nursery
  • large two-storey hall for sport, dining and whole school gatherings
  • a bright, modern modular design built off-site to improve construction efficiency
  • eco-features including natural lighting and ventilation and energy-efficient heating
  • external play areas including a junior-size football pitch
  • a landscaped garden and habitat area creating a biodiverse outdoor learning zone
  • external canopies on the nursery and reception class to provide sun and rain protection for outdoor play
  • a visitors’ garden and allotment area which will also benefit pupils
  • a parking area and cycle storage facilities.

Spencer Academies Trust Chief Executive Paul West said: “Reaching the point where we can officially break ground on the Highfields Spencer site has been made possible through close collaboration with Derbyshire County Council.

“Together we have worked to continue our tradition of creating fantastic environments for children to learn, setting them up with the best possible start in life.”

Housing developers Taylor Wimpey, Miller Homes and Barratt Homes are building 1,200 homes in the Littleover and Findern area. They have contributed funding towards the new school under the terms of ‘developer contributions’ planning agreements designed to create school places for children moving into new developments.

Framework Director at Morgan Sindall Construction Rob Cant said: “Modular building is proving incredibly popular in the education sector as advances in technology mean we can deliver high-quality 21st-century learning environments quickly and with minimal disruption.

“We’re very pleased to be working with partners on another key education project in Derbyshire.”