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Bemrose School, Derby

New primary school built in just 37 weeks with standardised design

Derbyshire County Council picked our standardised Sunesis design developed with Scape for its new primary facility at Bemrose School - key factors were its quality, speed and the reliability of delivery.

The new Bemrose primary school cost £3.5 million and took 37 weeks to complete. It was constructed on the playing fields of the existing secondary school, giving Derby its first-ever mainstream school for ages three to 18. Initially, there were 30 pupils in the first reception intake, which is designed to hold 315 children by 2020 as it takes in a fresh year group each year.

Primary head Kate Beecroft said:

"This is a wonderful building and probably there is nowhere else like it among other primary schools in the city. The primary building has huge open corridors, stretching as far as the eye can see in different directions and forming wings of the building. These open spaces afford so many opportunities for groups to break-out and use them as additional spaces for IT, science, design and technology and cookery.

"The classrooms we have are magnificent spaces - it is good to have this continuous learning space instead of just being inside a room. It is incredible!"


For Bemrose, Willmott Dixon used a Sunesis Keynes design to create a versatile and efficient building.

The layout is BB103 compliant and consists of 10 classrooms and a nursery. The design supports a year-based structure with a separate year group in each class.

The school incorporates a central ‘learning zone’ between the classrooms in order to provide a heart of the school which brings together all of the individual spaces in the building and enables easy circulation.


  • 91% of waste generated on site was diverted from landfill
  • 42% of supplier spend within 20 miles of the site
  • 85% of supplier spend within 40 miles of the site
  • 94% of supplier spend within 60 miles of the site
  • Renewable energy in the form of an air source heat pump system which supplies the entire building.

In the media

Public Sector Build Journal article


  • Rapid design and construction process of Sunesis appealed to client Derbyshire County Council
  • Versatile layout with central ‘learning zone’ to provide a heart for the school
  • Air source heat pump supplies heat to entire building
  • 37 weeks project completion
  • Provided Derby’s first school to see children through from 4-18yrs




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