Kempston Rural Lower School

Everyone who comes to visit our school is impressed with the calm, light and spacious environment which has been created.

Angela Stanbridge, Head teacher

Introduction

An urgent need arose for a larger primary school in Kempston due to the rise in popularity of this London-commuter belt town and the resulting surge of a new housing development in the area.

Model

Keynes 2fe primary school and nursery

Budget

£4.3m

Framework

Scape Major Works

Construction

39 weeks

Project facts

420

places available compared to the previous 100

29

more local staff employed over past 3 years

10/10

client product satisfaction

Population boom in the London commuter belt

Kempston, a popular town situated just 56 miles from London, needed more school places due to a surge in the local population and a wave of new housing developments.

Moving an ‘Outstanding’ school to a new home that met its high standards

The school prides itself on working to ensure a safe, secure and friendly ethos where children’s academic and social potential can be realised. The staff are fully committed to the ‘Every Child Matters’ initiative and as a result, children are happy and enjoy their time at Kempston.

The existing school in 2013 was extremely popular with local parents, due to its ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating, its impressive SATs results and its friendly and welcoming ethos. As a result, it quickly ran out of space to cater for the growing number of children living in and moving in to the local area and it needed a new home that matched its exceptionally high standards of attainment and achievement.

Maintaining Kempston’s core values during the big move

Head teacher Angela Stanbridge was determined to maintain the school’s core values of creating high self-esteem in all pupils, promoting spiritual and moral awareness, offering an enjoyable and independent learning environment and promoting caring individuals while the transition to the new school building took place.

She said she was delighted with the approach adopted by the delivery team. ‘All of those involved with our new school building, from the project manager to the apprentices, were friendly, honest and approachable – which made the process run smoothly and without any hiccups.”

An immediate need for more school places

The need for more school places in Bedford was urgent, so the time frame for this build needed to be minimal as plans for more housing developments had already been approved for the area surrounding the school.

Open channels of communication

Bedford Borough Council decided to construct a Sunesis Keynes 2FEN school on a site around a mile from the old school building, which meant that all current children would be relocated when the build was complete.

The staff needed the delivery team to be committed to their shared goals for the close-knit local community, which meant keeping parents, residents and children involved in the build process from day one. Communication between the delivery team and the school community was key.

The ‘wow’ factor

Head teacher Angela Stanbridge is delighted with her new Keynes building, not only because it provides the much-needed extra space for more children but also because it exceeded expectations in terms of appearance.

She said: “One reaction that will always stay with me is when one of our first years saw the learning street. She walked along it and was so excited by the big, airy space that she said ‘Wow Mrs Stanbridge, this is like our very own hotel!’ Parents and community visitors alike have had the same reaction!”

Ongoing support

Once the building work was complete, the Willmott Dixon team kept in touch with the school to make sure it was operating smoothly and even returned to add a few extra aesthetic improvements to the playground.

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