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Ashcombe Primary School

Sunesis Keynes solution for new school to provide value and quality

A Sunesis solution gave a new future for Weston-super-Mare school blighted by damp and a leaking roof.

Two years after a news article on the BBC website highlighted that Ashcombe Primary School ‘has ongoing problems with widespread damp and rot, leaking roofs, dated temporary buildings and even badgers digging soil from underneath buildings’, Willmott Dixon and Scape's standardised concept was able to provide a fast-track, high quality replacement.

Built in 10 months

Looking for value and efficiency, the council opted for a Sunesis Keynes model, which is a single story L-shaped building with a wide central corridor or ‘learning street’ connected to classrooms accommodating 420 pupils with offices on either side.

Being pre-designed, it was built in just 10 months, allowing staff and pupils to move into their new home in the final weeks of the summer term. Timing was a key driver for the school, as they wanted to start the next school year with pupils, parents and teachers already familiarised with their new home.

The fixed price also meant it met the council’s budget for a new school and the super-fast build period included the installation of furniture and ICT.

Clever procurement

By procuring a Sunesis school through OJEU-compliant Scape, North Somerset Council also benefitted from reduced procurement time and savings against fees normally associated with legal issues, design and appointing a contractor.

Challenges for Willmott Dixon team during construction:

  • Working around a Childrens Centre which is open every day
  • Access to the site was shared with the school
  • Communications with the local population

Willmott Dixon managing director in the South West, Neal Stephens:

“When you talk about our industry making a difference to people’s lives, this is what we mean. Thanks to our standardised concept that fitted the council’s budget, pupils can learn and achieve in a quality environment. Everyone is absolutely thrilled with it!”

Councillor Tony Lake:

“At a time when public spending is under more pressure than ever, the Sunesis system has meant we were able to commission a cost-saving school building that didn’t compromise on quality.”

Sunesis has four primary school designs and one secondary school with each developed for a different type of requirement.

Want a Sunesis school? Speak to Tim Carey


  • Sunesis solution provided new environment for 420 pupils
  • Replaced school 'with widespread damp and rot, leaking roofs'
  • 10 months to build with a fixed price
  • 25 Sunesis schools now built across country




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