Could you tell us a little about the history of Scotts of Thrapston?
Scotts of Thrapston was founded at the beginning of the 19th century by James Scott. In 1920, James employed several members of staff to manufacture a wide range of timber products. It was during
the 1930s that the business began to flourish as the company’s skilled craftsmen became in high-demand at the beginning of the Second World War.
It was also around this time that Scotts began making and designing timber summerhouses for British gentry. Since then, the business has continued to grow and evolve into a brand that has become synonymous with modern building techniques and master craftsmanship.
With over 95 years’ worth of experience, Scotts is now a leading joinery specialist spanning four generations producing anything from equestrian buildings and summerhouses to specialist timber
products and education buildings that provide the ideal learning and leisure environments.
How are you currently working with schools across the country?
Currently we are working on various projects across the country to deliver sustainable educational buildings that create the ideal learning space for pupils. For example, we have constructed a new building at a school in Corby where additional classroom space was needed. Already featuring high-end facilities the classroom needed to be completed to a comparable standard in just a six-week time period.
When it comes to sustainability, how have the attitudes of independent schools changed in recent years?
As a business we have noticed an increased awareness in the importance of sustainable buildings. Education budgets are always under scrutiny, so more emphasis has to be placed on finding energy-efficient solutions that can save schools money. Investing in a sustainable building with modern energy features is a cost-effective way of saving on energy costs. A focus on green-energy and cutting carbon emissions in our daily lives has also raised the profile of sustainability.
Headteachers are now also more mindful of the benefits that a modern classroom can bring to a child’s ability to learn. This has meant that more independent schools are now considering sustainable buildings and have a greater understanding of how modern day structures can lead to an increase in the student’s performance.
How can a building’s design impact positively on the learning experience?
The design and construction of a building can have a dramatic impact on a child’s ability to learn. Lighter, brighter and more spacious rooms create a more pleasant learning environment, which can benefit students and teachers alike. We always consider the form of the building to create high ceilings that allow fresh air to freely circulate in the room. Exposed engineered timber frames and ceilings can also create a more appealing aesthetic in comparison to other, more dated areas of a school. This fresh perspective can be an inspiring change of scenery for pupils, allowing them to learn in an interesting new space.
How do you combine traditional craftsmanship with the latest technology to create the most efficient classroom space?
Improvements in modern-day building techniques allow us to create the ultimate learning environments for pupils. Although we still rely on the master craftsmanship of our joiners to construct the majority of buildings, advances in technology such as the use of engineered timber allow us to create structures that are stronger than ever and built to last. Utilising materials such as glue-laminated timber, in which timber is essentially packed together, means that you can now achieve solid, structural strength comparable to steel and concrete.
Air-source and ground-source heat pumps also give teachers greater control over the temperature of their environment, using heat efficiently through sustainable means. Other improvements such as the use of solar panel photovoltaics reduce the need for energy consumption.