Education estates investment drives boost

Watson Batty Architects has announced a considerable boost to its Education sector portfolio with a number of new instructions across the UK.

Since the Government committed to increase its allocation for upgrading schools, which includes £1.8 billion for the 2024-25 financial year, we have seen a surge in business that now accounts for 32% of total turnover. This includes major newbuild projects for national contractors including Tilbury Douglas, ISG and modularbuilding specialist Algeco UK.

Recent instructions include the design and delivery for a new science block at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby and a new 1,200 place 11- to 16-year-old school for the Northampton School for Boys. Planning consent was recently secured for a replacement school at Beacon Academy in Cleethorpes, Tees Valley SEND School, Leeds City Academy and works are due to commence on a replacement building for Hempland Primary School in York.

We are also working with the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Loughborough University to provide several new specialist health, science, and engineering facilities.

As an appointed Technical Advisor for the Department of Education, we employ a highly skilled team that specialises in all aspects of learning sector estates design ranging from early years, primary, secondary, and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (#SEND) through to further and higher education.

Peter White, Managing Director said, “We are a 48-year-old, award-winning practice with considerable skills in all manner of projects across all built environment sectors. However, in recent years we have honed our ‘learning’ sector expertise in line with the Department for Education procurement strategy and formed strategic partnerships with a number of contractors to secure a strong pipeline.

“It is rewarding to see the growth of net zero carbon in operation projects in our education portfolio with a fabric-first approach taking precedence. We see strong potential in delivering better educational facilities, and in particular, much needed SEND provisions, nationally through upgrading existing stock and with the aid of modern methods of construction.”

“Indeed, the recent £850 million cash pledge by Government to improve accessibility for people with SEND is driving new upgrades to existing estates nationwide. Watson Batty is known for its specialist expertise in this area.”

Watson Batty designed The Vine SEND College for Leeds City Council with a particularly challenging brief to support students with severe disabilities. The now completed two-storey building allows students to access a broad curriculum and specialist spaces including rebound therapy, a physiotherapy suite, sensory rooms, hydrotherapy pool, and extensive life-skills centre. Teaching areas contain hoists to allow students to freely access a range of spaces and easily transition between different activities.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris malesuada, mauris faucibus posuere lacinia, magna lorem consectetur nulla, quis sagittis justo nulla eu felis.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.