John Port Spencer Academy Masterplan, Etwall, Derbyshire

John Port Spencer Academy (JPSA) is one of the largest secondary schools in Derbyshire, delivering secondary and post-16 education to more than 2,000 students. Built on the site of a demolished country manor, Etwall Hall, the academy is structured on a ‘green campus’ ethos designed around one of the historic fishing ponds. Faculty buildings are spread across the 19 acre site, set within open green spaces and mature trees and vegetation.

Thinking Buildings worked with JPSA and Spencer Academy Trust in preparing a Premises Development Plan (PDP) to understand how the school could expand to accommodate an additional 380 pupil places to meet the demand in the academy’s catchment area. This study identified the need to expand the Sixth Form Building and Toyota Science Building, construct a dedicated Dining + Kitchen Building, and expand the car parking provision. These developments give the academy a great opportunity to enhance the core of the school site and promote greater use of the external spaces, building on their green campus ethos.

The PDP also identified a number of surplus staff and administrative areas in the existing buildings that could be converted to expand the Art + Design Facilities and create further classrooms without the need for additional development.

The car park expansion was identified as an essential first strategic step in implementing the masterplan, delivering 110 structured and 26 unstructured (overflow) parking spaces. Thinking Buildings secured outline planning permission for the wider masterplan in 2021 alongside detailed planning consent for the car park. The car park and art expansion was completed in 2021, with the Post-16 and Science buildings receiving reserved matters approval in 2022.

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