Transforming the educational landscape
We have been working in partnership with Bristol City Council (BCC) as part of the Bristol Local Education Partnership (LEP), to transform the city’s educational landscape.
We formed the UK's first LEP in 2006 and made an equity investment of around £4.8 million into redevelop mid to large-scale schools for the city.
The first fruits of this collaboration saw the construction of four new secondary schools under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative. These were completed between 2007 and 2009 and are now maintained by Skanska. With a total construction value of approximately £119 million, the schools’ 25-year operating contract is managed through the UK government's Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
The partnership’s next task was to rebuild and refurbish the city’s secondary schools to create modern, fit-for-purpose education facilities. Between 2009 and 2012, it improved nine secondary schools in the city. A total of 13,600 secondary pupils now benefit from an enhanced learning environment.
Since 2010, the partnership has largely focused on primary schools, helping BCC deliver the additional places the growing city requires. Skanska, Bristol LEP and BCC have now built, extended or refurbished a total of 29 primary schools across Bristol, many in some of the city’s most deprived areas. Over 8,000 new school places have been created, including 1,000 in south Bristol, where there was a significant lack of places.
Recognising the partnership’s achievements, in 2015 BCC extended the partnership for a further five years until 2021, so it can continue to improve Bristol’s education facilities for pupils and teachers alike.
The partnership’s current focus is on providing places for children with special education needs. It has already delivered over 300 such places at five different schools. Creating additional post-16 and early-years places are two further priorities.
Sustainability has sat at the heart of Skanska’s work with Bristol schools since the start, in 2007.
Many of the schools boast green features, such as photovoltaic panels, biomass boilers using renewable fuels, natural ventilation and greater energy efficiency from building management systems.
At May Park Primary, the walls were made from hay bales to provide natural and highly effective insulation.
We also protect Bristol’s much-loved green spaces by re-imagining existing buildings as schools, wherever possible. So far, a former police station and two former office blocks have been converted into new schools. In another example, we avoided building on playing fields by extending a school upwards, creating new classrooms on the roof.
Wherever possible, we use locally based architects and designers. We’re building schools within communities, so local people care as much as we do about getting it right. The supply chain we use to deliver the schools is over 90 per cent local.
When building inside operational schools, we don’t disrupt teaching time. Instead, we take the opportunity to talk to pupils about the construction process and about keeping safe near building sites.
We also act as ambassadors in schools for STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths.
Finding out more
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