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Wates launches improved Adapt School Building Solution

Sponsored: Wates Construction's Education Director, Gary Campbell-Dykes takes the time to look back on another successful year of school building

Posted by Ed Brown | September 10, 2018 | Bricks & mortar

As summer draws to a close, and children across the country head back to school for the start of the new academic year, the time is right to reflect on our current business activity within the schools sector and talk about our updated unique schools solution Adapt™, and what it takes to stay at the forefront of construction in education.

This September, we’re looking forward to doors opening for the first time on our recently completed schools: Atam Academy in Romford, Sir Robert Pattison and Poplar Farm Primary Schools in Lincoln, Moorside Primary in Calderdale and a temporary school delivered for Buller’s Wood School for Boys in Bromley.

Recognising that business can be a force for good and maximising social value is at the very core of our projects and company ethos. This is reflected in the numerous accolades we have achieved, including the first ever UK Social Mobility Award, Construction News’ Contractor of the Year and the Queens Award for Sustainable Development, the only contractor to receive this award twice.

Over the past decade, we have successfully delivered over £900m of Government-funded school projects responding to changing budgets and tighter programmes, providing over 100 new and improved learning environments for more than 100,000 pupils across the UK. We’re currently delivering over £528m worth of schools and proud to be able to say 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.

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’re 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 groundbreaking ‘Class of 2050’ research paper, which delved into the changing nature of education and its infrastructure requirements" - James Wates CBE, Chairman


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

Over the last decade Wates has been an active partner for the DfE, delivering schools under their Building Schools for the Future (BSF), Free Schools, UTCs and Priority School Building Programmes and three consecutive frameworks including their current High Value Construction Framework. We played a pivotal role in developing the new school standard, working on the pathfinder project at Campsmount Technology College cited in the Sebastian James Review, helping set the current environment for efficient design and construction of public-funded school buildings.

Moreover, at Wates we believe that education plays a key part in society’s prosperity and social cohesion. Drawing on the views and experience of education sector experts, we’ve undertaken research to help forecast the future of education delivery, understand increasing importance and roles that technology, business and community will fulfil, and how the construction industry needs to react in parallel.

Wates Construction is a family-owned leading UK contractor with a long history of building schools (since 1961) and is a main contractor on the DfE’s High Value Band Lots projects >£12m for the North and South, in addition to providing exceptional education facilities for faith schools, academy trusts and private schools. Wates is committed to the long-term future of the built environment and to leaving a positive legacy for the communities in which it works.

For more information about Wates and schools, please download our brochures or contact

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