East Markham Primary School Refurbishment – lighter and brighter

  • Project

East Markham Primary School in Newark is located within the small village of East Markham and has around 120 pupils aged from 5 to 11.

The Grade II listed building dates back to 1877 and was in need of refurbishment within several classrooms as well as some office spaces. The overall aim of the refurbishment was to provide a lighter, brighter more modern learning environment for the pupils.

The works, which have been procured through the East Midlands Property Alliance (empa ii) Minor Works Framework, form part of the Schools Capital Refurbishment Programme on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council.

The internal works undertaken have included:

• Raising the suspended ceilings in several classrooms in order to let in more light through the arched windows which were previously covered by the existing ceiling.

• electrical works,

• damp proofing,

• fire alarm upgrades

• painting and decoration

• Minor external works have included roof tiling and drainage repairs.


One of the major challenges of this project was working in a live school environment, which involved working closely with school staff to plan and manage the works to minimise disruption.

A number of safeguarding challenges were managed by the team allowing work to continue, keeping everyone safe.

The school is grade II Listed, and the project team managed this by working closely with the Conservation Officer.

While on site we are committed to making the building project part of the education experience, we achieve this by engaging with the school and their pupils to deliver an open and accessible project, involving all.


Classes were decanted to other areas of the school to allow work to progress and classes to continue as normal. This process was managed by carefully co-ordinating with the school.

All operatives were DBS checked, this was managed by Woodhead and their supply chain partners who have proven experience of working in live school environments.

Woodhead has in house conservation specialists Woodhead Heritage who have a track record of delivering conservation environments. Their expertise and knowledge was avaiable to allow the team to meet the conservation requirements and deliver the project on programme.

Site Manager for Robert Woodhead, Dave Turner, has developed a good working relationship with the school and accompanied them on a trip to the nearby National Holocaust Centre and Museum to allow the staff and students to get to know each other. Dave was asked to judge the schools scarecrow competition.

Key accomplishments

One of the key elements in the success of this programme delivery has been the early involvement, close collaboration and design development between Woodhead and Nottinghamshire County Council. This collaboration enables the delivery of exceptional facilities and has been made possible by using the empa ii Minor Works Framework.

• Finished £30,000 under the original cost plan

• 100% SME Engagement

• 100% of all local spend within 40 miles of site

• ZERO defects at handover

School Engagement

The project team attended the Schools summer fete, pupils took the opportunity to thank Dave and project coordinator Dan Bacon for all their efforts to improve the school, by soaking them in the stocks with sponges and buckets of water.