Hundreds of students from Bedford’s St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School are to benefit from a new pastoral and special needs block, project managed by Ingleton Wood, with cash from the ‘fizzy drinks’ tax.
Ingleton Wood was commissioned to bid on behalf of the school for £400,000 towards funding the project, from the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF) for 2018/19 a pot of money that benefitted from the recently enforced tax on sugary drinks.
Chief Finance Officer at the school, Jane Stringer, said: “We chose Ingleton Wood as they are a multi-disciplinary firm and could design and manage the whole project.
“Plus, they had already built a block of 12 classrooms for us. We had such a great working relationship with them and they did such a good job for us previously that we had great confidence in them managing this block.
“The fizzy drinks tax is a fantastic pool of money for excellent projects. The expertise of the Ingleton Wood team was essential in making our bid successful.”
She said the block will have 4 classrooms, medical rooms and space for the school’s hearing-impaired facility. It will be used for children with special needs and for pastoral care meaning the whole school will benefit.
The tax is designed to encourage drinks manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of their drinks or pay a maximum of 24p for 8g of sugar in 100ml.
It came into force during the early part of 2018 with money destined for building projects that met the criteria. Having won the funding for the school, Ingleton Wood is preparing for the build, with its team of project managers, quantity surveyors, mechanical, electrical and structural engineers.
The firm, which has offices in the City of London and across the East of England, specialises in educational building projects. It will spend nine months working on the project, most of it in the background, with the work beginning onsite in April and scheduled to complete in August this year.
David Williams, building surveyor and a director at Ingleton Wood, who oversees the project, said: “This kind of work is very satisfying. So many young people benefit from this type of build.
“The biggest challenges will be managing a building site while taking steps to ensure the students and staff are as unaffected as possible. We have a lot of experience with these types of build, so it is all in a day’s work for us.”
Cash from the HPCF is designed to be spent on improvements to school facilities including physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing and medical conditions.
Alterations can include improvements to kitchens, dining rooms, changing rooms, playgrounds and sports facilities.
Pupils enjoying their new learning space. Photo credit: St Thomas More Catholic School