BAM Construction has commenced work on three new schools in the East Midlands, having been appointed to the schemes by the Department for Education under its national education framework, with a combined value of around £65 million.

The three schools are Castle Mead Academy and Avanti Fields School, both in Leicester, plus Derby Cathedral School. They are being developed and delivered mainly via a ‘one BAM’ approach – combining several of BAM’s companies, and in particular, BAM Design.

Derby Cathedral School is a 1200-place 6FE School with 6th form located on the industrial railway siding adjacent to the Great Northern Road. The site is set out with a bespoke new three-storey, predominantly brick-built building with a separate sports block arranged around an entrance plaza. 

Internally the building develops the existing school’s five-house approach. Views of the Cathedral are captured within an ecclesiastical picture window set over two floors.

Castle Mead Academy in Leicester is a 1200-place 8FE new academy, adding to the successful run of schools for the Mead Educational Trust. 

Created on a brown-field site that was the former Kirby and West Dairy, the picturesque site is along the River Soar and of heritage interest, with Friars Mill on the other side of the river. 

This three-storey building was developed with enhanced, vertical standing-seam panel facades to complement the river elevation. To enhance the compact site extensive landscaping was developed to give variety to the student experience.

Avanti Fields School is a new build on a green field site. This is an inclusive Hindu faith school open to students of all faiths and none, including two primary classes and 26 additional nursery places. It will have an integrated sports block.

Avanti Fields describes its culture as fostering curiosity, promoting independent thought and inspiring students to think creatively. Its curriculum allows students to follow traditional academic studies, complemented by the study of philosophy, mindfulness, meditation and yoga.

It is located on the outskirts of Leicester and bounded to the north by a residential area, to the east by Gateway College and to the south a farm.

All three schools will open in the autumn term, 2021.

BAM Design has been an important player for all three schools. It is the lead architect for Derby Cathedral School and Castle Mead Academy and, while Maber is the architect for Avanti Fields. BAM Design is also providing all three schools with structural and services engineering services. 

Sustainability is a key feature, with BAM delivering the DfE’s vision of passive built-in sustainable features such as good day lit and ventilated rooms with high ceilings that access thermal mass and use of hybrid ventilation units to give a controllable classroom environment.

Digital techniques are being used in all three projects leading to co-ordinated design and delivery, identifying and embedding any CDM (Construction Design and Management Regulations) in the model to keep the build and operation of the building safe.

Mott Macdonald is project managing Castle Mead Academy and Avanti Fields, while Aecom is project managing Derby Cathedral School.

“Education is an integral part of our story at BAM. How we go about our work for schools, colleges and universities is a reflection of our consistent collaborative culture, while it also shows the transformative digital construction techniques we employ, as we move towards standardised components and more off-site assembly techniques for example.

“These schools will all benefit from our ability to integrate both construction and design so that we maximise the educational benefits for the pupils and teachers, and consider the needs of their respective communities.

“I’m always pleased when we get to build in the East Midlands, where we built the new headquarters for Derby County Council, and we won our first contracts in Leicestershire in 1955, so our local people, our pedigree and track record here are considerable.”

Dave Ellis, Regional Director