News & Insights

Morgan Sindall Construction to deliver innovative primary school in tight city centre site


Morgan Sindall Construction has been selected to build a £7.6 million primary school in Derby city centre which will provide 315 additional school places for the local area.

The main contractor has been appointed by Derby City Council through the current iteration of Scape’s Regional Construction framework, which has facilitated the rapid design and construction of a raft of successful education projects since it was launched in February 2018.

Once complete, the new school will add vital additional primary school capacity to support the major £100 million housing-led regeneration of the Castleward area, on the edge of the city centre. It will also provide 39 nursery places.

Designed by Lungfish Architects, the project has necessitated significant innovation and close collaboration in the pre-construction phase to enable the school to maximise the constrained 5,200 square metre brownfield site, which is currently used as a car park.

The building will be a combination of one and two-storey blocks which will utilise roof-top play areas. It will feature a slide running from the first floor to ground level and a multi-purpose games facility to support active play.

A creative approach to the floorplan and access routes has maximised the available space. Ground floor classrooms will be accessed from the main hall at the centre of the site, which will also act as a full-height lightwell allowing natural light to flood the heart of the building.

Folding and sliding doors in the main hall will allow the room to open up flexibly for assemblies, group activities, indoor play and wider community use.

Use of the land has been optimised for the children’s security, with the design and position of the building making the most of the existing fences and hedgerows. Drop-off and pick-up times will also be safer thanks to the separated pedestrian and vehicular access routes.

Rob Cant, Scape Regional Construction framework director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our successful relationship with Derby City Council and Lungfish Architects by delivering this primary school through Scape Procure.

“A truly collaborative and creative approach during the pre-construction process has enabled the team to overcome the space limitations presented by the inner-city location. As local authorities continue to grapple with the challenge of finding suitable sites to meet the growing demand for school places, many will consider innovative approaches like this. The design is excellent and the finished school will both look fantastic and, more importantly, make a real difference to the primary education offering available to the local community.”

Craig Taylor, associate director at Lungfish Architects, said: “Even though the school is situated on a restricted site, the space for children to learn and play in has been totally maximised. This is a tremendous testament to the team of designers-turned-problem-solvers here at Lungfish, whose skill and ingenuity means that the school will be embedded into the heart of this reinvigorated community.”

“Castleward has the potential to leave a lasting legacy which challenges the current state of inner-city school design and demonstrates what is possible when a pragmatic design led approach is adopted right from the outset.”

  • For more information about this news release please contact Jonathan Daly at Influential on 07881 301437 or email