Fresh start for Derby primary school rebuilt after fire

Published: 9 June 2022

Headteacher Lorna Blanchenot and children celebrate the reopening of Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School in Mickleover

Headteacher Lorna Blanchenot and children celebrate the school's reopening

A Derby primary school destroyed by fire in October 2020 reopens today following a £6.9m rebuild.

Pupils at Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School in Mickleover return to their new classrooms on Thursday 9 June, after a purpose-built replacement school was delivered on time and to budget.

The new, single storey building was designed by Lungfish Architects to be built with 58 modular units constructed off-site. The whole school arrived on site on lorries where it was assembled to deliver a high-quality modern school building.

The new building, which sits over the previous school footprint, has been reconfigured to provide efficient teaching and play space for 270 pupils, and a 26-place nursery, for children aged 3 to 7.

Derby City Council appointed Morgan Sindall Construction to build the three-form-entry school. Work began in July 2021 and the construction was completed in just 45 weeks, allowing pupils to return to their building as soon as possible. It also meant minimal disruption to the neighbouring Junior school, which shares site and access routes and utilities with the infant school.

The fire caused “extensive damage” and saw 12 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms from across Derbyshire sent to the scene. It caused a huge loss, with everything in the infant school either being burnt or damaged by smoke and water.

The new school also has sprinklers. Derby City Council signed a statement of intent to fit sprinklers and fire safety measures in new-build schools and primary and secondary schools undergoing significant renovation, refurbishment, or extension for projects undertaken by the Council.

Councillor Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Skills at Derby City Council said:

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.

Lorna Blanchenot, Headteacher at Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School added:

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. 

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School staff and community, to Derby City Council and to Morgan Sindall for everyone’s hard work over every single step of journey in getting us back home.

All the children are very excited to begin learning in their new school and the staff have already made it a magical place to learn in and to make our community feel safe, happy and able to reach their full potential.

Richard Fielding, Area Director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: 

Given the extensive destruction caused by the fire, speed to market was absolutely crucial to ensure minimal disruption to the pupils and the local community. Thanks to the SCAPE procurement method and the level of collaboration between the Ravensdale school staff, councils, Lungfish Architects, and our Morgan Sindall team, we were able to turn the project around in 45 weeks and we're now delighted to hand over the brand-new facilities. 

A huge thanks must also go to the neighbouring schools who kindly accommodated the Ravensdale pupils whilst building works were underway. This project really is a testament to what can be achieved when everyone comes together as a community.

Watch the time-lapse video of the construction of the school, by Morgan Sindall Construction.

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