The Valley School wins national School Building award


The Valley School in Stevenage has won the ‘2024 School Building’ category of the Education Business Awards, held recently at a ceremony in London.

The award is given to the school that is judged to be the most technically advanced building constructed for the purpose of teaching present and future pupils.

Ashe was awarded the contract to build the £16.9m school as part of Hertfordshire Council’s capital investment in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) school places. The pupils moved into their new home in January this year.

The new building reflects a commitment to sustainable, responsible growth with net zero carbon emissions. It features biodiverse green roofs and solar panels, while pupils have even been able to re-use timber offcuts from the construction to build bird boxes and bug hotels for the school site. It was completed as the council’s third Net Zero Carbon in Operation scheme.

The judges, when selecting the shortlists, research and examine many information sources, such as positive news reports, case studies, Ofsted inspections and information supplied by parents or local authorities to make their decision.

Head teacher David Pearce said: “We were extremely proud to pick up the award on behalf of The Valley School.  We would like to extend a huge thank you to Mace and Ashe who designed and built our new school. It has improved our whole school community with an amazing environment in which to teach our young people, allowing them to learn and prepare themselves for the next stages in their lives. Thank you so much.”

The Valley School was up against stiff competition with four other schools shortlisted: Livingstone Academy, Dorset, Silverdale School, Sheffield, St. Leonard’s Primary School, Staffordshire, The Charter School, London. The Awards are run by Education Business magazine and recognise excellence in the education sector.

Andrew Morris, business development director at Ashe said: “We’re really pleased that this innovative project has been acknowledged by the Education Business Awards. It really is a wonderful example of how we can build new schools that have huge environmental benefits while also providing the ideal educational setting for children with special needs to help them thrive and give them the best possible start.”

Every aspect of the project embraces ways to limit its impact on the environment. The school is constructed using building products which provide maximum insulation such as warm roof cassettes and green roofs to help regulate internal temperatures all year round. The building services and supplies are as energy efficient as possible to enable the building to be net zero carbon in operation. The school is powered by electricity alone and the supply is via the green tariff where 100% of the electricity is generated through renewable resources.

The building design also considers the people who will be using the building. For example, fans can make a lot of noise which can be problematic for those with special needs, so oversized fans run at lower speeds that make less noise and comply with acoustic levels required for SEND facilities have been installed.

Find out more about how Ashe made The Valley a net zero school.