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Exterior shot of Ravensdale Infants School
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Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School

Budget: £6.9m

Sector: Primary Education

SCAPE framework: Regional Construction Framework (Midlands – Upper)

Client: Derby City Council

Social Value generated: £1,607,603

Waste diverted from landfill: 95%

Client satisfaction: 10/10

Defect free: 100%

On time and budget: 100%

It’s amazing to finally be home and all back together with our staff, children and families all under one roof. Our new school is a fabulous, modern school, and we are really excited and ready to make new memories together here.

Lorna Blanchenot

Headteacher of Ravensdale Infant and Nursery

In October 2020, Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School in Mickleover, Derby, was the victim of a devastating arson attack that left the majority of its structure and contents in ruin.

Overnight, 296 children aged three to seven, found themselves without their school once again, having only just returned from lockdown. Working in close collaboration with Morgan Sindall Construction, Lungfish Architects and other key stakeholders, Derby City Council accessed SCAPE's Regional Construction Framework - one of the most efficient procurement and delivery programmes available to rebuild the school in the shortest timeframe possible.


Within hours of the fire and rescue services extinguishing the flames, Derby City Council had organised an emergency team to manage the crisis. The council appointed Morgan Sindall Construction and Lungfish Architects to assist with the rebuild via our Regional Construction Framework.

Morgan Sindall Construction and Lungfish Architects had previously partnered via the SCAPE framework to deliver Castleward Spencer Academy, Hackwood Primary School and Highfields Spencer Academy – three similar-sized primary schools within the Derby area. We ensured speed and certainty of this appointment via our fully-compliant public sector procurement framework and our dedication to driving collaboration and value for money.

Determined to minimise the impact on the children’s learning, a decision was made to temporarily place all the pupils into a number of local schools – including the three schools newly-built by our construction partner Morgan Sindall Construction. As well as providing pupils and teachers with state-of-the-art learning environments, it also gave them the comfort and familiarity of remaining together in their year groups. For those that were moved to schools in Hackwood and Highfields, it also gave them a first-hand experience of what modular construction could offer.

Morgan Sindall Construction was also able to relieve some of the pressure on the local school network by installing a Temporary Learning Village, initially for the Nursery and Year 2 children, and then the Nursery and Reception children the following September. This was facilitated through our collaborative network, which linked Derby City Council with Nottinghamshire County Council to secure and relocate the temporary teaching facilities being used at the nearby Rosecliffe Spencer Academy. This not only provided the school leadership team with a central hub to co-ordinate their activities, but it also reduced the disruption and stress faced by the parents of the youngest children.

With the care and education of the children secured, attention quickly returned to the task of rebuilding the school. Numerous site surveys and assessments revealed the severity of damage, with the demolition of the existing structure and the design and build of a new school the only remaining option. Looking to reopen the school as quickly as possible, it was decided a modular design, utilising off-site construction, would offer the shortest delivery programme.

Looking to benefit from SCAPE's construction partner Morgan Sindall Construction’s experience and expertise in modular construction, Ravensdale adopted the same design blueprint as Highfields Spencer Academy – a modular school that completed on time and snag free after just nine months, and with a customer satisfaction score of 9/10.

As well as offering vital time savings in the design and pre-construction stages, it also allowed time to carry out further enhancements to the school whilst accommodating for the increase in size. Sitting directly on top of the former site, the footprint of the new single storey building was increased by 300 square metres to be in line with the Department for Education’s recommendations, and the layout reconfigured to maximise teaching and play areas.

Accommodating 330 pupils, the new school features 10 spacious classrooms, a double-height hall, a library, a group and SEN room and fully equipped catering, staff and admin areas. In keeping with the school’s forest ethos, each classroom has their own access to the outdoors plus extensive canopies to allow for outdoor learning.

In total, the school is made up of 58 pre-fabricated modules which were built off-site before being delivered and installed in less than two weeks. This helped ensure the construction of the school completed both on time and on budget in just 45 weeks. Additionally, off-site construction provided minimal disruption to the neighbouring junior school as well as the wider community.

This is a joyous milestone for all staff and pupils at the school and I am pleased to see the school rebuilt to the highest standards, on budget and on time. This has been possible because of excellent partnership working between Ravensdale School staff, the governing body, and school leadership team, Morgan Sindall Construction, Lungfish Architects and the Council. It was deeply upsetting to see the destruction caused by the fire, but these fantastic facilities will help pupils make the most of the first stages of their learning journey. Losing a school has an enormous community impact, and my thanks go to the schools who offered space for Ravensdale children while the building work was ongoing.”

Councillor Evonne Williams

Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Skills at Derby City Council

Given the abrupt nature and the need to get the children back to their studies, it was crucial we acted quickly. As such, we assessed every step of the process to see if further efficiencies could be made to get to site in record time. Thanks to the SCAPE procurement method and the level of collaboration between the Ravensdale school staff, councils, Lungfish Architects, and our Morgan Sindall Construction team, this was achieved. we were able to turn the project around in 45 weeks and we're now delighted to hand over the brand-new facilities. This project really is a testament to what can be achieved when everyone comes together as a community.”

Richard Fielding

Area Director at Morgan Sindall Construction

The collaboration between Morgan Sindall Construction and Derby City Council to get pupils back to their own school has been incredible, and as a team we are extremely proud to have designed the new modular school that replaces the previous facility destroyed by fire. There is an urgency to provide the new school building so that Ravensdale can begin to operate and teach as a whole school once more, and utilising offsite and modular can ensure that we deliver quickly, efficiently, and affordably.”

Craig Taylor

Director at Lungfish Architects

Lungfish Architects are Finalists at the national Constructing Excellence Awards after winning Building Project of the Year at the regional Constructing Excellence Midlands Awards, for the Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School project.

Constructing Excellence Awards 2023
Constructing Excellence Awards 2023 Finalist logo


On time and budget


Waste diverted from landfill


Social Value generated

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