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Etonbury Academy Sixth Form- Refurbishment of Facilities

  • Client: Etonbury Academy
  • Location: Bedfordshire
  • Sector: Education
  • Services: Building Surveying, Structural & Civil Engineering


A major expansion programme at Etonbury Academy has taken the school from four hundred students to a capacity of over one thousand places over the past three years. From September 2016 the Academy became an extended secondary school for students aged 9-16, delivering a full Key Stage 4 curriculum and, in an overwhelming vote of confidence from the community, the vast majority of students elected to remain at the school to continue their studies. In line with their exponential growth, the school wanted to expand into being able to provide A-Levels with a new 6th form. 

The school, part of Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST), needed a complete refurbishment of the of the old junior block which was built circa 1970 to enable their vision.   

The Brief

Barker were instructed to draw up several options for the new 6th form, including an option to extend the old junior block. Three options were designed and presented to the school. It was decided that a full refurbishment of the existing block would be the most suited due to budget constraints, providing a new efficient internal layout that maximised the space for the new 6th form students. The design ensured that there would be 3 classrooms, a common room with a café, study room, staff room, WCs for students and staff and a new reception and office area. 

The Challenge

During the construction phase the team had to be considerate of noise levels as exams were taking place in the adjoining block. As a result, it was agreed with the school and contractor that the roofing works would only take place on exam days after 11am, when exams had finished. Thanks to this flexibility and good communication throughout, no exams were disturbed, and the roofing works were still completed in accordance with the programme. 

The Outcome

The works were completed 6 weeks early and to a high standard and finish. The school were able to move in their furniture and set up all classrooms in ample time to welcome their new contingent of A-Level students. All key stakeholders at the handover meeting expressed their thanks to Barker and the contractor AM Builders for providing them with a new 6th form for their new students in September. 

Client Testimonial

“Once again Barker have delivered! As a busy Trust, working with them throughout the project helped alleviate the stresses that come with any build allowing the school to concentrate on developing the curriculum and VIth form offer for their students. A very positive experience. Thank you.”

Alison Austin, Operations Manager BEST

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