Back to School 2018: £528m of current schools delivering £182m of social investment and opportunities for young people | Wates

As a leading construction partner for the UK education sector, Wates Construction is currently delivering £528m worth of school projects across the UK. Driven by over 100 education experts across six regional businesses, these projects are testament to Wates commitment to the education sector.

Once complete, these projects will deliver over 34,000 new or improved school places and major benefits to local communities including:

  • £740k spend with Social Enterprises
  • £181m local spend supporting the economies of the communities we work in
  • Support for circa 250 apprentices and trainees through hands-on project experience
  • 15,500+ hours of curriculum support to schools.


James Wates CBE, Chairman, Wates Group, said:

“At Wates, were passionate about generating social value wherever we work, and building great places for young people to learn and develop is very much a part of this. We are always aware that our reputation is at stake with each and every project we take on, so professionalism in the way we work and quality in what we deliver is paramount.

Were committed to remaining at the forefront of component-based design for schools, and we are already putting into action some of the innovative concepts set out in our ground breaking Class of 2050 research paper, which delved into the changing nature of education and its infrastructure requirements. All of which will mean schools we build can adapt to evolving needs and deliver on our customers aspirations for years to come.”

Our unique approach to standard school solutions, which we call Adapt, uses common components to quickly form pre-designed, pre-engineered spaces into infinite bespoke schools. It fast-tracks key design elements and allows focus on site-specific challenges, client aspirations and third-party integration ensuring we deliver schools safely to time, quality and budget.

We are constantly evolving our Adapt approach. Since its inception in 2012, we have delivered over 40 Department for Education (DfE) schools worth £500m with a further £528m in development and invested over £2m in its research and development. This continuous improvement ensures we are able to provide a consistent national delivery service, while driving excellence in the performance of our projects and people and raising standards and expectations for exemplary schools construction in the sector.

Our recent update Adapt 2.0, is tested and refreshed to reflect the latest DfE specification. Benefits to DfE/school clients and Wates include:

  • Delivery within DfE funding parameters
  • Faster design/efficient pre-construction
  • Early cost certainty
  • Improved quality
  • In-built compliance and safety
  • Improved buying power through preferred suppliers at lower prices
  • Programme efficiencies


Steve Smith, Wates Education Design Director, commented:

“Adapt is our differentiator in the ever-evolving schools sector and therefore, it too must flex to meet changes in specification and education needs. Our education teams across the business play a fundamental role in fine-tuning Adapt to ensure our school design solutions continue to deliver best value to meet our customers requirements.”


Gary Campbell-Dykes, Wates Education Director, said:

“Wates has successfully delivered £900m of Government-funded school projects over the last decade for the DfE and Local Authority clients. We have responded to changing budgets and tighter programmes to provide new and improved learning environments for more than 100,000 pupils. We have a dedicated education team solely focused on our drive to deliver better schools.

Our Central Education Team, ensures we provide a consistent national service and cost-effective delivery whilst driving excellence and continuous improvement to establish Wates as the DfEs long-term preferred contractor.”

Wates believes that education plays a key part in societys prosperity and social cohesion. Drawing on the views and experience of education sector experts, Wates developed a Class of 2050 White Paper to help understand the future of education delivery, the increasing importance and roles that technology, business and community will fulfil, and how the construction industry needs to react in parallel.

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