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Penwortham Priory Academy – Laboratory refurbishment

Laboratory refurbishment to enhance science learning

Based in Preston, Penwortham Priory Academy has some of the best educational facilities of any school in Lancashire. As part of a £750,000 investment project, Penwortham wanted to enhance science learning by extensively remodelling their existing laboratories to create cutting edge learning spaces.

"We now have a learning environment in Science that is exciting, innovative and engaging, a facility we are very proud of, thanks in no small part to the team at Innova."

Matt Eastham, Headteacher

The old labs, where student Jamie Edwards became the youngest person in the world to create nuclear fusion in 2014, were in need of modernisation to enable students to continue to make their own personal scientific breakthroughs.

The Brief

After working with staff and students at Penwortham on a pilot scheme for our Lab of the Future competition, Innova were delighted to be awarded the contract to help furnish this forward-thinking school transform its laboratories and make them fit for the scientists of tomorrow.

Dating from the mid-1950s, the existing labs were in need of redevelopment to meet the demands of modern teaching and learning methods.

The brief was to create an open plan learning environment to help deliver more cohesive and collaborative teaching approaches in science. The improved facilities would enable more in-depth study and investigation, helping to build students’ enthusiasm for STEM subjects.

The ultra-modern facilities were to include both wet and dry labs, preparation areas and a research area.

Always looking to the future, the school wanted to replace traditional labs in enclosed spaces with a grown up environment to create a workplace feel which would prepare students for life beyond Penwortham.

The Solution

Innova provided a furniture only solution, working closely with the Cassidy + Ashton Architects and contractors F Parkinson to transform the existing space and accommodate a wide range of teaching styles, from collaborative work to practical and theory studies.


Research Area

An open plan central research and collaboration area was designed with flexible tables for group working to encourage independent study. A large, colourful storage wall was designed to exhibit scientific artefacts and fossils along with stylish, futuristic orb display units to stimulate enquiring minds.

To maximise the flexibility of the space, mobile glass screens which double as writing boards were added, allowing staff and students to reconfigure the lab according to their needs.Bright, funky,armchairs, shelving and coffee tables make this a stimulating, exciting place for students to work on projects and exchange ideas. Colourful wall displays, including one based on Jamie Edwards’ remarkable achievement, encourage Priory’s budding scientists to aim high. The addition of a dramatic constellation ceiling adds a real ‘wow’ factor, making this a truly inspiring study space.



Adjoining the research area, wet and dry labs provide teachers with space for practical and theory lessons. The wet lab was designed using Innova’s unique Hot Corners concept, providing both a working classroom and practical laboratory within the same space. With services located on the front face of the units, the layout maximises desk space, allowing sufficient room for both practical and theory lessons.

In the dry lab flexibility has been maximised with movable pod units which allow the desks to be reconfigured to suit different teaching and learning styles.

The fitting of durable Trespa work surfaces throughout the labs ensures they will endure the experimentation and innovation of generations of students and remain resistant to damage from chemical spills and breaks.


ICT Area

An ICT area, complete with sawtooth desking, provides space for online research. The layout is designed to create individual workspaces, guaranteeing pupils sufficient elbow room to conduct their studies.

Prep Room

A large open plan prep room with a central preparation desk provides the perfect space for technicians to prepare for lessons. With lots of perimeter storage units, chemicals and equipment can be stored safely and securely.


Pet Zone

To assist pupils with their studies in biology and encourage a sense of responsibility for animals, a pet zone was created to house hamsters, fish and insects. Perforated perspex cabinets were installed to house the animal cages, giving the Penwortham pets a fantastic new home

VIDEO: Learning Spaces to Inspire Tomorrow's Scientists

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New science facilities designed by a leading education interiors company have won the seal of approval – from the world’s youngest nuclear scientist.

Stockport based Innova Design Group, alongside Cassidy + Ashton Architects and contractors F Parkinson, have created state of the art science labs and a collaborative research zone at Penwortham Priory Academy in Preston, the school where 13 year old Jamie Edwards became the youngest person in the world to create nuclear fusion in 2014.


Are you looking to transform your laboratories? Contact us on 0161 477 5300 or complete the form below: