Grace Cook Primary School

+ Nursery


Following significant housing to the west of Stowmarket, a new 210-place primary and 60-place pre-school were required to meet the demand for pupil places in the local area.

The new school needed to be located within the Northfield View housing development (previously known as Chilton Leys) and had to be master planned to increase to a 420-place primary and 90-place pre-school.

Key Info

Stowmarket, Suffolk

Suffolk County Council – Children and Young People (CYP)

R G Carter

End User:
Orwell Multi Academy Trust

Project Value:
£6 million

Project Completion:
September 2022


During early engagement sessions with the client and planners we were informed that the school was to be a central point in the housing development and needed to provide a focal point for the local neighbourhood.

Grace Cook has been designed to fit in with the surrounding residential area through the colour choices and fabric of the building. The external appearance offers visual interest and an identity for each area of the school, for example the snapped headers provide texture and the metallic cladding is aesthetically pleasing. With efficiency in mind, we adopted a fabric first approach which resulted in better U-values than required by building control. EV charging points and cycle provisions also contribute to the sustainable site.

Being a BIM Level 2 accredited business, we used our clash detection software to integrate our multi-disciplined services and reduce the design coordination time required on site. Our collaborative approach (both internally and externally with the client, contractor, end user, and Taylor Wimpy) led to the success of this project.

The project’s programme and budget were tight. With unforeseen circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic and escalating costs, our Project Manager worked hard to drive the programme and maintain the budget through value engineering, regular progress meetings, and excellent supply chain engagement.

Local residents were updated throughout the project via monthly newsletters and posters featuring QR codes to enable them to gain further information. Before the school was officially opened, children were invited to spend time on the site and find out how their new school was built. Following a community consultation, a decision was made to name the school after Alice Grace Cook, known as Grace Cook, a British Astronomer. In addition to being an inspirational role model for the pupils, the naming of the school after Stowmarket’s pioneering female astronomer provided a strong link to the history of the town.


“I wanted to thank you for all of the work that has been done to get Grace Cook Primary School open. I know it’s been a big team effort. It is an amazing design and we are thrilled with the building. You have kept me informed and up to date, and found a way through the many challenges. It has been a real pleasure working with you.”

Anna Hennel James, Chief Executive Officer, Orwell Multi Academy Trust


Grace Cook Primary School + Nursery offers a modern, fit for purpose learning environment and central community hub.

The school has helped to ease pressure on local schools due to the increased housing in the area and will be able to accommodate future expansion to meet further population growth.

Our client and end user are very pleased with the project and have particularly praised the high quality of the build.

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