Early Years Teaching Facilities

Northumberland County Council successfully secured funding to create four early years teaching facilities located within Northumberland, to provide 300 two- and three-year old children with 30 hours of free childcare. Directly benefiting the working parents and under-privileged children in the County, this project has provided them with high quality teaching spaces and given the children the best start in life as possible.

Four projects in total were secured across Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth and Seahouses, with a budget of £2.8m. Faithful+Gould was appointed to provide cost management, employer’s agent and principal designer services.

"The new nursery has provided a great space for us to develop our provision and partnership with other local providers. The creation of an additional 30+ places will be of benefit to the community, particularly for those looking for 30 hours funded places. We are looking forward to further developing the provision to ensure high quality early education for the children of Bedlington” Jane Bushell, Head Teacher of Bedlington

High quality, modern, purpose-built accommodation has been designed and created for the benefit of these communities and, more importantly, this investment has delivered considerably more childcare places to local working parents, giving them the benefits of 30 hours free childcare while providing their children with first-class, early education that sets them up for life.

All of the schemes are built to high safety standards, to ensure safeguarding; including the correct height of fences and a layout that has been designed to reduce the chances of children being in an area that is unsupervised. Each scheme is located within or near to a school which is bringing significant benefits to the children and staff alike. Having the support of the existing schools through collaboration before, during and after construction has created stable relationships between the different education facilities.

Key Challenges & Solutions

Due to the scheme being grant funded, the money had to be spent within strict timescales; therefore a suitable approach to reduce the programme of works was required, whilst delivering within the budget figures. Faithful+Gould proposed that the projects were grouped together and, by using a framework and directly negotiating with a single contractor to deliver the projects, it avoided a protracted procurement process, thus helping to reduce timescales. Also, by grouping the projects into one scheme under the same contractor it meant that we could benefit from additional savings from the supply chain through economies of scale.

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