Pick Everard helps deliver more than 2,500 school spaces in Bedford

  • 27th February 2024

A number of projects have been completed or are underway as part of efforts to increase capacity at schools across Bedford

Having worked with Bedford Borough Council for the past decade, Pick Everard is on track to assist the needs of an ever-growing and diverse population.

The programme has a projected construction cost of more than £100m and includes one of the largest SEN schools in the country, the Rivertree Free School, which is set to complete in August.

Delivering 200 SEN spaces, the project runs concurrently with the construction of Willow Grove Primary School in Wixams, providing 840 new primary spaces when released.

An extension to Wixams Academy secondary school will also be opening in September, delivering 900 additional spaces.

“We’re immensely proud of the work undertaken with Bedford Borough Council to improve school facilities and increase the number of pupil places in the region,” said Sean Conneely, director at Pick Everard.

“The programme’s success has been greatly influenced by a collaborative approach with the entire delivery team, combined with our shared dedication to delivering community value.”

In the pipeline

Two further projects are also on track for completion in 2025. These include Bedford Academy, creating 300 additional places; and Wootton Lower School, which is undergoing conversion into a primary school; with an extra form of entry creating 300 additional places.

Moving into 2026, there will be further works on Wootton Upper School turning it into a secondary school with an additional 450 pupil places.

And further school extensions are in the feasibility phase.

Pick Everard’s work with Bedford Borough Council has included a package of services, consisting of project management, cost management, NEC supervisor, and health and safety services.

The work undertaken will be accelerated through the SCAPE Consultancy direct award framework, designed to drive collaboration, efficiency, time, and cost savings on construction projects, and will operate under the Perfect Circle banner.

Along with contractor, Willmott Dixon, Bedford Borough Council and Pick Everard will take part in the Build UK Open Doors event in March, in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.

The programme of works undertaken by the trio has been imbued with social value, with pupils helping design a ‘Shedspace for your Headspace’ wellbeing area at Grange Academy in Kempston last September.

A greener approach

Sustainability has also been key, aligning with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency, with all new school buildings now being designed as net zero carbon in operation.

In addition to the educational work, the relationship between Pick

“We are making significant strides in addressing the need for school places in Bedford, thanks to a collaborative effort that includes the team from Pick Everard.” Said Tom Wootton, Mayor of Bedford borough.

“We are focused on creating inclusive, innovative environments that will inspire learning and nurture talent.

“These schools are set to make an enormous difference to so many children and families for many years to come.”

Matt Hall, national director at Pick Everard, adds: “We have a longstanding relationship with Bedford Borough Council, which has ably committed to developing and meeting community need in a number of areas.

“Local authorities are under immense pressure amid cuts in spending power over the last decade, so to be able to provide our expertise and assistance, through quick-to-market and value-for-money procurement models, is of huge benefit.”

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