Case Study - Ashby Hastings Primary School

Keystone Blog - Case Study - Ashby Hastings Primary School

Ashby Hastings Primary School opened its doors to pupils for the first time at the start of September, welcoming an EYFS class and ready to provide an outstanding education to local children as it grows over the next few years.

Keystone worked with Symphony Learning Trust to manage the new school project from creating the presumption school bid to the building process to opening day.

 Development Background

Ashby de la Zouch is a growing town in North West Leicestershire, and the building of 450 new homes at the Holywell Spring Farm development saw the need for the local authority to increase the number of school places in the area.

With successful schools already in the area, Symphony was ideally placed to bid for the proposed new primary school and retained Keystone to write and manage the bid for them.

CEO of Keystone, Stephen Mitchell, worked with the team at Symphony Learning Trust to pull together the relevant information for the bid, understanding Symphony's culture and ethos and articulating how the children attending the school and the local community would benefit from a school run by the trust.

The bid made the shortlist, and Keystone worked with Symphony to prepare a presentation for the final evaluation process and prepare for the assessment panel.

Symphony was awarded the new school in February 2021, and Keystone contracted to manage the school build.

The Building Process

Operations Manager Lisa Jones worked with Symphony, Leicestershire County Council, and builders Wilmott-Dixon to ensure that the build went according to plan; that they were able to overcome any hurdles quickly and opened on time.

Lisa and the Keystone team managed and advised on the build from aspects such as the use of rooms and general design of space, forward planning for school health and safety,and ICT and audio-visual setup. The Keystone team ensured that the contractor the Department of Education requirements was met, queried decisions,and pushed for resolutions on issues that would impact the school moving forwardsLisa played a role in ensuring that the utilities were connected and confirmed that all parties were working in the school and future pupils.

Of the project, Lisa said: "it was a great opportunity to work with the team at Symphony to ensure that the build was not only open on time but also worked in a way that would be easy to maintain moving forwards.

The eco-friendly and sustainable design, in keeping with the local landscape, meant that building this school was a fascinating project.

I worked with the trusts' central team to make sure I had their vision in mind whilst building a good relationship with them. Knowing that we were helping to ensure that this was right for them was an absolute pleasure, and the feedback has been fantastic.

Opening a new school can be a very time-consuming process with the paperwork side alone; when you add in the health and safety aspects, Ofsted and contractor management, it is easy to become overwhelmed if you haven't had experience of this type of project. I like holding those difficult conversations with suppliers and contractors as it's important for me to know that the school is happy and gets what they need. If I can help to make sure that their needs are met and, in turn, the children's needs, I've done my job right."

Keystone is here to support your school or trust with a wide range of school operational services. Our team of friendly school professionals are experts in their chosen field and have years of experience working in schools and trust central teams.

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