Balfour Beatty teams up with Kelvinside Academy for innovation school

A Glasgow secondary school is partnering with contractor Balfour Beatty to deliver Scotland’s School of Innovation – the first of its kind in the UK.

Kelvinside Academy has joined forces with Balfour Beatty as part of a £2.5 million contract to build the new school on its Glasgow West End campus.

Based on an architectural studio model, learning in the new innovation school will be focused on real-world challenges and collaborative problem solving, as opposed to exams and results. The school will be an ‘open space’ for scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, roboticists and industry experts to work with pupils on a range of projects

The building has been described as a “beacon for the construction sector”, and is said to be the country’s first sustainable building designed and constructed using circular and eco-design principles.

A topping-out ceremony was recently held to mark the building reaching its maximum height. It is due to open in August this year.

David Miller, director of Scotland’s School of Innovation commented, “This is a must for Scotland if it is to continue to punch above its weight in the global economy during these challenging times. We truly believe we can and will transform education in the United Kingdom. We live in a rapidly changing world and schools need to provide an education which prepares young people to look at things differently.

“Glasgow is the ideal place for the UK’s first innovation school. The city has a booming tech sector, is home to world class universities and some of the world’s most creative and talented engineers, architects and designers.

“Our partnership with Balfour Beatty demonstrates the company’s desire to address a nationwide skills gap. Although central to pupils attending Kelvinside Academy, we intend for the Innovation School to have an impact throughout Scotland and beyond.”

Hector MacAulay, regional managing director for Scotland and Ireland at Balfour Beatty said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Kelvinside Academy, in a relationship which shares our vision of reducing onsite activity by 25% by the year 2025 and will help us develop our future talent.

“We have worked closely with Kelvinside Academy to ensure a collaborative design process and maximise efficiencies through circular and eco-design principles, which are designed to minimise waste and capitalise on resources. We look forward to successfully delivering this unique project and developing close links between the school and industry for years to come.”

Kelvinside Academy pupils are said to already be benefiting from the partnership, with groups of S4 and S5 pupils shadowing Balfour Beatty’s construction and design teams, attending meetings, and providing feedback and input.