Bristol Schools

This Bristol City Council PFI project involved the replacement of four of Bristol’s 18 secondary schools in the city’s urban communities, accommodating more than 4,000 students.

BAM PPP, together with its sister companies BAM Construction and BAM FM, worked closely with Bristol City Council and the individual schools to deliver four new replacement schools on the existing sites.

The development included:

  • Bedminster Down School (1,080 pupils): Facilities for 1,080 students, including extensive floodlit sports facilities.
  • Henbury School (945 places for 11 to 16-year-olds): Facilities for 945 students, including a six-lane 25-metre swimming pool, fitness centre, dance studio, and an all weather pitch with floodlights (amenities which were also open to the local community).
  • Monks Park School (now Orchard Schools): Facilities for 1,080 students, including floodlit sports facilities and the retention of the existing City Learning Centre.
  • Portway Community School (now Oasis Academy Brightstowe): Facilities for 945 students, incorporating a 36-student autism centre and a floodlit sports area.

Innovation

SPV General Manager Simon Sheridan outlined some of the features involved in the project:

"The project included a number of innovative design elements. Buildings were designed with a high degree of adaptability and flexibility to allow for future changes in department sizes without any modifications.

"Spaces were created which could be passively supervised to minimise the risk of bullying and extensive sporting facilities were included which could be used outwith school hours by the local community.

"There was also good use of public spaces for pupils such as a library, dining area, an assembly/theatre, and sports areas.

"At Bedminster Down, the existing 1950s school comprised two large terraces for buildings and playing fields, with a 6-metre bank between them. The new school sits on this south-facing bank, making good use of an area of the site that would otherwise be unusable.

"The services strategy was based on natural ventilation and exposed mass, with every classroom having high-level hopper windows and a chimney, providing excellent fresh air, light, and cooling."

Beneficial

As an example of how the new facilities have proved beneficial, since opening, Bedminster has raised educational standards, increasing the number of students attaining five GCSEs, success which has been attributed to the raised expectations of students, staff, and parents.

Simon continued: "At Henbury School, part of the challenge was that the site was of archaeological interest. BAM worked closely with the local Planning Department and archaeological specialists to ensure findings were uncovered carefully and recorded."

Heidi Scott at Bristol City Council commented:

"BAM are good at looking for smart solutions to problems, they don’t just replace what was there previously, but look to improve the situation."

Her Council colleague Bob Rutherford said:

"What we like about BAM is the ‘can do’ attitude – they are open, honest and upfront."