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Pick Everard to help deliver more than 2,500 school spaces in Bedford

19 Feb 2024

Sean Conneely

Sean Conneely


Showcasing its commitment to educational development, Pick Everard has revealed it will be helping deliver more than 2,500 school spaces across the Bedford region over the next two years.


Having worked with Bedford Borough Council for the past decade, Pick Everard is on track to assist the needs of an ever-growing and diverse population. The programme has a projected construction cost of more than £100 million, and includes one of the largest SEN schools in the country, the Rivertree Free School, which is set to complete in August.

Delivering 200 SEN spaces, the project runs concurrently with the construction of Willow Grove Primary School in Wixams, providing 840 new primary spaces when released. An extension to Wixams Academy secondary school will also be welcomed to the community in September, delivering 900 additional spaces.

"We’re immensely proud of the work undertaken with Bedford Borough Council to improve school facilities and increase the number of pupil places in the region. The programme’s success has been greatly influenced by a collaborative approach with the entire delivery team, combined with our shared dedication to delivering community value."

— Sean Conneely - director at Pick Everard

Two further projects are also on track for completion in 2025. These include Bedford Academy creating 300 additional places and Wootton Lower School, which is undergoing conversion into a primary school; with an extra form of entry creating 300 additional places.

Moving into 2026, there will be further works on Wootton Upper School turning it into a secondary school with an additional 450 pupil places. Further school extensions are in the feasibility phase.

Pick Everard’s work with Bedford Borough Council has included a package of services, consisting of project management, cost management, NEC supervisor and health and safety services. The work undertaken will be accelerated through the SCAPE Consultancy direct award framework, designed to drive collaboration, efficiency, time and cost savings on construction projects, and will, operate under the Perfect Circle banner.

Along with contractor Willmott Dixon, Bedford Borough Council and Pick Everard will take part in the Build UK Open Doors event in March, in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. The programme of works undertaken by the trio has been imbued with social value, with pupils helping design a ‘Shedspace for your Headspace’ wellbeing area at Grange Academy in Kempston last September.

Sustainability has also been key, aligning with the council's declaration of a climate emergency, with all new school buildings now being designed as net zero carbon in operation.

In addition to the educational work, the relationship between Pick Everard and Bedford Borough Council has also seen it undertake cross-sector operations in the region, with healthcare centres, heritage works, residential, and commercial projects amongst its portfolio, alongside the new railway station in Wixams.

"We are making significant strides in addressing the need for school places in Bedford, thanks to a collaborative effort that includes the team from Pick Everard. We are focused on creating inclusive, innovative environments that will inspire learning and nurture talent. These schools are set to make an enormous difference to so many children and families for many years to come."

— Tom Wootton - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Matt Hall, national director at Pick Everard said: “We have a longstanding relationship with Bedford Borough Council, who have ably committed to developing and meeting community need in a number of areas. Local authorities are under immense pressure amidst cuts in spending power over the last decade, so to be able to provide our expertise and assistance, through quick-to-market and value for money procurement models, is of huge benefit. The future looks bright for the community in Bedford."

Victoria Brambini, managing director of Perfect Circle said: “Building on the excellent relationship that our partner Pick Everard has established with Bedford Borough Council, it’s great to see that we have been able to continue providing expertise to support this development programme. Not only meeting our aims of leaving a legacy in the communities that we work in, but also making it efficient for local authorities to procure and commission us, alongside being assured they are getting the highest standard of professional services in the market.”

Stewart Brundell, managing director at Willmott Dixon said: “We are proud of our collaborative, ongoing relationship with both Pick Everard and Bedford Borough Council. This unified partnership has allowed us to utilise our individual expertise, knowledge and skills to deliver together a number of fantastic projects which will benefit the local community for many years to come.”