The Cooper School, Bicester

  • Cooper School Bicester 3

  • Cooper School Bicester 2

  • Cooper School Bicester

Oxfordshire’s first zero-carbon school building.


Sustainability was a prime objective for Oxfordshire County Council in this showcase educational development which was the first zero-carbon school building in the county. The state-of-the-art teaching complex includes a new science block extension incorporating three laboratories and a stand-alone, two-storey sixth form centre with classrooms, ICT facilities, a common room and study areas. Beard has also created a new café, reception area and interview rooms within the complex.

The new complex uses eco-building technologies in its construction to lower emissions and reduce energy bills. These include improved insulation, high performance GRP windows, air source heat pumps for hot water and heating and a 273m² array of photovoltaic panels to provide electricity. The structure itself uses a lightweight steel frame and eco-friendly materials, all of which can be recycled.


  • Environmental: it was important to Oxfordshire County Council and The Cooper School that the new scheme achieved the prestigious Eco School accredited status
  • Health and safety risks: with construction activity going on in two separate areas on a busy school site, health and safety systems had to be rigorously followed by everyone on site and high-risk operations had to be carefully planned around peak periods such as during school drop-off and pick-up times


Beard’s project team worked with the school and local authority to achieve ECO School status: Key activities included focusing on waste reduction and recycling where the Beard team monitored all aspects of the construction process as well as those of supply chain partners. The team also provided advice on managing costs while maximising the sustainability of the buildings.

The scheme was completed on time and within budget.

 “Students and staff are delighted with the new facilities which extend our ability to support students in the local community. Throughout the year-long project, Beard has been an exemplary construction partner. The team understand the needs of a busy school environment. A collaborative approach has enabled us to function normally without disruption.” 

Ben Baxter, Headmaster



Oxfordshire County Council

Contract value

£2.3 million



Quantity surveyor


Contract duration

9 months

Form of contract


Procurement Method


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