The new school will act as a template for future schools in the region

Willmott Dixon is adding to its net-zero school building track record after Leicestershire County Council appointed it for the county’s first net-zero in operation school.

The company will build a new £8.5m 210-place primary school called Hollycroft Primary School at Normandy Way on the outskirts of Hinckley. It’s a key element in the ten-year Normandy Way development where housebuilder Bloor Homes is creating a new community with 850 homes, retail space and community facilities.

Cllr Deborah Taylor, Leicestershire County Council lead member for children and families, said:

“I’m proud to say it will be the first Leicestershire school that will be carbon neutral and pupils that attend will learn in an environment that uses renewable energy, has an ‘A’ energy rating and the latest interactive learning equipment. We hope children will love learning in the new building.”

Willmott Dixon is harnessing energy usage prediction modelling to help the school become net-zero in operation for both regulated and unregulated energy. The project is aiming to succeed in achieving BREEAM Excellent.

The design process being used can be emulated so the council can more efficiently roll-out net-zero primary schools in the future – reducing design time, costs and inefficiencies and waste. Construction includes an easily assembled timber frame that will result in fewer embodied carbon emissions than a traditional steel frame.

Priority has also been given to materials that will enhance the building’s thermal efficiency – such as enhanced fabric walls, floors and roof as well as enhanced performance windows, resulting in lower impact from outdoor temperatures and consequential heating and cooling costs.

Offsite manufacturing will also reduce the number of deliveries to site and halved the projected construction timeframe length for the timber frame erection in comparison to using traditional methods, which will in turn enable the pupils and staff to move into the new school earlier.

The new school is playing a key role in the council’s plan to become a net-zero carbon county by 2045. Nick Heath, director at Willmott Dixon, said:

“Having worked closely with Leicestershire County Council for many years building innovative new schools, we’re pleased to have another important project underway. It will result in a sustainably-focused school that is not only innovative and flexible, but also supports the local authority’s ambitious net-zero targets.
“All over the country, buildings of old have not been designed with the future in mind and this is where our pioneering approach is reinventing standards. Our Energy Synergy™ process will help expose any potential performance gap for the council and consequently offer the opportunity to drive down operational costs – a win for the client and for the environment.”

Willmott Dixon is building the school on behalf of Leicestershire County Council through Procurement Hub’s Major Projects Framework, in a project team that also includes Kast Architects.

Louise Dodds, Client Relationship Manger, Procurement Hub said:

“This is an exciting project that has been procured through the Major Projects Framework. I’m pleased to be able to work with Leicestershire County Council to assist in delivery of the country’s first net-zero school with framework partner Willmott Dixon.”

The school will be run by the OWLS (Oadby, Wigston and Leicestershire Schools) Academy Trust.

Normandy Way Primary School is an Open Doors 2023 venue, an event taking place from 13 to 18 March to showcase the range of careers available in construction. Limited to schools, colleges and educational institutions only, the visit will include a health and safety briefing, an overview of the project, and a site tour revealing external roof and cladding works, as well as the timber frame being erected.

For more details or to book a space, visit: