Aspire Academy
New Development, Education Funding Agency


East Hull-based Aspire Academy was planned to cater specifically for vulnerable students with a wide range of needs, including those at risk of exclusion. The project would be state funded and part of an Education Funding Agency programme independent of local authority control. Driven forward by Andrew Chubb, principal of Archbishop Sentamu Academy, it received strong backing from Government ministers in 2013 and was set to be sponsored by the Diocese of York, which also sponsors Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull. Hull City Council was to play a key role in the development process, supporting the project through the provision of the land on Preston Road, east Hull.


Archbishop Sentamu Academy and Hull City Council were able to mitigate tender costs and time constraints as a result of using the authority’s pre-procured framework vehicle Hull Esteem Consortium. With a strong relationship already in place, Sewell Construction was able to hit the ground running with a local supply chain.

All partners were involved from the outset and weekly engagement sessions were held throughout the design development. This collaborative approach streamlined the development period, accelerating the scheme to an unlikely early financial close. The partners utilised in-house facilities management expertise to ensure the whole life costs ofthe building were considered. This led to intelligent product selection and more affordable building operating costs going forward.


The Department for Education’s capital approval was not granted until several months into the design development. But Esteem and Sewell worked at risk to ensure the scheme was deliverable in the timescales. The client got the building they wanted with finances and risks under complete control.

The purpose built school houses 25 teaching spaces, including vocational learning areas such as a motor vehicle bay, hair and beauty salon and a construction skills space, along with a library resource centre.


The first alternative provision academy school in Hull, and one of 16 in the UK, opened in January 2015.

We delivered a larger building for a lesser cost. The Education Funding Agency set an initial target of £1,632.35 per sqm, based on a 1,991m2 building. The scheme was delivered for £1,513.10 based on 2,087m2. EFA austerity build cost targets were not only met, but beaten.

Use of HU postcode staff and a Hull supply chain benefited the local economy by three times the capital spend.

Alongside the construction programme, the firm sponsored and coordinated a £25,000 personal development programme for 12 pupils from Archbishop Sentamu Academy, working with young people’s charity Catzero. The programme included hands on trade experience and site events to develop the young people’s employability skills.

The incredible acceleration of Aspire Academy was a direct result of Esteem and Sewell Construction's willingness to work at risk for the client in the early stages of the project development. The user engagement and design development process was exemplary, resulting in a fit-for-purpose facility that will greatly benefit Hull.

Laurence Harte PM, Education Funding Agency