Noel-Baker with St Martins School

The project was part of the Building Schools for the Future programme and co-located Noel-Baker Community School and St Martins Special School alongside a new vocational learning and sports building which also served the local community. The shared vision was for a building that captured the identity of each school whilst enhancing the developing relationship between them.

A central dining atrium and cafe is the central focus of the new campus. The learning spaces of both schools are arranged in butterfly shaped clusters surrounding ICT rich learning plazas. The St Martin’s spaces are of a more intimate, family scale creating a series of safe and supportive environments each matched to the specific needs of the pupils. In Noel-Baker they are light, exciting places for staff and students to work together in a more informal and adult way.

The scheme won a RIBA East Midlands Award  and a Client of the Year Award for the aspirational brief which delivered the innovative learning environments.

The new buildings are exciting, full of light and full of learning. Every day I am genuinely stunned by the sense of space & opportunity that presents itself.
Mal Kerr, Noel-Baker Headteacher

Stakeholder engagement

The Building Schools for the Future programme prioritised consultation with all stakeholders and our engagement with the schools included “twilight sessions” to reach all school staff as well as design workshops with students.

Because of the complex needs of the St Martin’s students, a range of visual and interactive engagement activities were developed in collaboration with the school so the students’ input could be gathered without generating stress or anxiety.

Our staff and students have been involved in the design and development of the project from day one with builders and architects, so we have always felt part of the process: this certainly helped us to adapt to the new learning environment from day one…
Gary Dodds, Headteacher St Martins School
Our internal spheres work so well for the school and our vision for the co-location of the two schools has started very positively. …In simple terms, learning and working on this new campus is a privilege for all of us who have experienced working in more challenging environments and buildings.
Gary Dodds, Headteacher St Martins School

Our Team

  • Carol Lelliott
  • Stephen Golding
  • Antonia Khayatt
  • Richard Smyth
  • Raymond Cheung

Project Team

  • Client: Derby City Council
  • Structural Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering
  • Services Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering
  • Landscape Architect: Fabrik
  • Sustainability Consultant: Buro Happold Engineering
  • Acoustician: SRL Ltd
  • Fire Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering
  • FF&E: Honeycomb Architects
  • Education Consultant: Ian Moore, IPW
  • Contractor: Balfour Beatty
  • Photography: Andrew Haslam


  • Winner: RIBA Regional Award East Midlands
  • Winner: RIBA Client of the Year Award East Midlands
  • Finalist: LABC Building Excellence Awards
  • Shortlisted: Education Estates Awards - Innovation in Teaching