New facilities to enhance 21st century learning

The University of Brighton Academies Trust is a network of 15 academies in Sussex, spread between Hastings, St Leonards, Shoreham, Burgess Hill, Lindfield and Crawley working in partnership. The Academy trust believes education transforms lives which is why each academy has a rich curriculum to ensure that pupils meet their potential and are inspired to continue learning.

The Trust’s central operational services, allows the network of academies to work collaboratively in areas such as Finance, HR, Estates and ICT to benefit from improved contracts and rates as well as insights and efficiencies, empowering educators to concentrate on their core activities of teaching and learning.

Each Academy manages their own budgets and has the freedom to raise additional funds to support their pupils and the wider community.

The Brief

The University of Brighton Academies Trust, as part of their on-going development of facilities, secured government funding; school condition allocation (SCA) to upgrade their science labs and classrooms to vastly improve the learning ability of their pupils and the teaching environment for their staff, contributing towards their value, mission and vision.

In Feb 2020 Innova Design Group was approached to tender for the Full Turnkey refurbishment works, at both The Burgess Hill Academy and The St Leonards Academy, which included 7 laboratories, 17 classrooms, Washrooms and Welfare areas and more…..

Turnkey works encompassed new fire doors, dropped Ceilings, LED Lighting, Flooring, M&E Works and Decoration with the refurbishment planned to commence soon after selection of the winning tender by the 1st April 2020

From site survey to design, quote and preparation of the final tender documents, within 4 weeks Innova was appointed to carry out the complete refurbishment works just as national COVID 19 lockdown hit the UK. The project was subsequently put on hold for 3 months.

The Solution

In June 2020 Innova’s team started on site. Working closely with Burgess Hill Academy to an agreed phased schedule, Innova designed, manufactured and installed the complete renovation in 11 weeks including the additional challenges of working during lockdown.

The successful delivery of the project was attributed to a number of key factors including working in partnership, communicating effectively, providing the flexibility to adapt to changes and managing any risks, bi-weekly meetings to monitor the progress of the project to plan and budget.  The additional lockdown challenges meant Innova’s key processes had to be modified to facilitate video conferencing, social distancing, additional risk assessments, plenty of notices and arrangement of sanitising facilities to ensure we followed the latest government guidelines to keep the project team safe and well.

Each laboratory at The Burgess Hill Academy has been installed with a peninsular layout, providing optimum work spaces and ample scope to maximise storage.  This type of lab design promotes collaboration and makes it easier to switch teaching between practical and theory work..

In contrast The St Leonards Academy preferred the service pedestal lab layout because it offers much more flexibility than a fixed-bench setup. As it is only the pedestal, housing the services that is in a fixed position with a loose tables arrangement.  The tables can easily be re-configured to cater for specific, day-to-day requirements. This not only improves access for both pupils and teachers, it promotes collaboration by making it easier to cluster benches together to accommodate practical group work.

The teacher demo area  in all the laboratories provides a focal point for educators to demonstrate experiments and with plenty of drawer, cupboard and Gratnell tray storage means the classrooms can be kept clutter free.

General classrooms at The Burgess Hill Academy, were equipped with classroom tables, bespoke teacher desks with bookcases, and storage units as required.

By adapting to change during national lockdown, with the ability to plan effectively and deliver the project with an experienced In-house design and manufacturing team, means we can provide genuine value for money.

The new facilities at both academies  will ensure the quality of teaching is enhanced and that students’ are equipped with the necessary 21st century skills to progress to college education and beyond. The staff and students are delighted with the results.

The University of Brighton Academies Trust is impressed with Innova’s capability of delivering a large scale project in a short time scale and to budget during national lockdown.  We have been invited back to carry out further work in 2021.

No matter what the challenges we face, Innova has the power to deliver large scale projects to budget and on time!


Innova can deliver large scale projects to budget and on time. Contact us on 0161 477 5300 or complete the form below:

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