Students at Burnham Grammar swapped their pens for spades this week, stepping out of the classroom to mark the start of the school’s redevelopment.
Wates Construction commenced its build on the new school facilities, marking the milestone with a ground-breaking ceremony.
Students from the school stepped out to join the Wates Construction team, including Jonny Wates, senior staff, the DfE, Joy Morrissey MP and governors on site as the contractor began work on the new 8,321sqm facility, which is set for completion by Autumn 2021.
Construction work will see the creation of a new three-storey ‘superblock’, which will provide secondary education for over 1050 11-18 year old pupils. The design of the new building has placed large communal spaces at the heart of the school, surrounded by state–of-the-art teaching facilities.
Following the completion of the superblock, which includes teaching, learning, performing arts and drama studios and sports facilities, the school’s old buildings will be demolished with the area returned to sports fields in Autumn 2022.
Wates Construction was appointed to deliver the project by the Department for Education/Burnham Grammar School as part of the Department for Education’s Priority School Building Programme and Condition Improvement Fund.
Alec Jackman, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction Southern Home Counties, said: “We’re delighted that the school’s pupils joined us to break the ground on the exciting new facilities Wates is creating for Burnham Grammar.
“We understand the impact learning environments can have on the development of young people and attainment levels which will be a central focus to our approach and insight throughout the process. We will be drawing on our 11 years of experience as a trusted contractor for the education sector here in the Thames Valley Region to ensure the quality delivery of this new school building.”
Alec continued: “Wates is delivering six schools in the Thames Valley area as part of the DfE’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) Thames Valley A and B batches including Brakenhale School in Bracknell.”
“Given this track record, it was great to see parents and stakeholders’ positive responses at the development’s public consultation, who were impressed with the design and reassured by our methods which minimise disruption and disturbance to residents and the school throughout construction.”
Alec concluded: “We’re implementing innovation in offsite manufacturing to minimise disruption in the build, which will see a number of elements modularised; including the building’s electrical, mechanical and plumbing services.”
Dr Andy Gillespie, Headteacher of Burnham Grammar, said: “It is fantastic to see work starting on our new buildings. The project will deliver first-class facilities for our students for many years to come.
“This is the biggest construction project in the School’s history and will transform the site into an inspiring campus environment. We have developed a strong and positive relationship with Wates during the design stage and look forward to that continuing as the new building takes shape.”