School builder aims for £100m pipeline after new appointment

4 September 2017

Fran Cox joins Sunesis from Bedford Borough Council

Sunesis is targeting a £100m pipeline of orders within three years for its pre-designed schools following the appointment of Bedford Borough Council’s head of school infrastructure and partnerships, Fran Cox, as its new operations director.

Cox joins Sunesis, jointly owned by Willmott Dixon and Scape Group, in the newly created senior level role to oversee ambitious growth plans.

Last year the Department for Education forecasted that 750,000 extra school places would be needed in England by 2025 to keep up with the population increase, with 16 consecutive years of rising pupil numbers predicted.

Sunesis has already delivered 28 primary schools since its first school was commissioned in 2011, alongside a further 40 Connect school extensions, creating more than 18,000 new places in total. It plans to deliver over 7,500 school places by 2020.

Future innovation underway includes a new Keynes model that is fully compliant with the output specifications of the Education Funding Agency, a new Connect range of standardised components to provide flexible standalone or classroom extension options, plus a new secondary school offer.

Tim Carey, Willmott Dixon’s national product director, said: “Fran’s arrival is an important next stage of our growth as an established provider of new schools. Her experience at Bedford Borough Council will give us the quantum leap to roll out Sunesis to even more customers, supported by our new ability to licence the system for other contractors to build.”

Sunesis has been a popular solution for authorities including Somerset County Council, Isle of Wight Council, Warwickshire County Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Plymouth City Council, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, London Borough of Croydon and North Somerset Council.

Cox said: “It’s a really exciting time to join Sunesis. There is huge potential and having experienced Sunesis schools as a client, I know they have already been extremely valuable to councils in meeting their chronic need for new school places.”

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