Preparation underway to hand back UK’s first ever PFI

Victoria Dock Primary School is celebrating its 25-year anniversary next year, which means the UK’s first Private Finance Initiative (PFI) Primary School will soon be officially handed back to Hull City Council to become part of The Constellation Trust estate.

Sewell Group – the school’s PFI partner – has been managing and operating the building since day one, leaving the Head Teacher and staff to focus on delivering education. This successful formula has resulted in Victoria Dock being one of the most successful and sought-after primaries in the city and is recognised as a PFI national exemplar, having been described as a ‘model to follow’ by four Secretaries of State for Education over its 25 years.

The partnership has grown in many ways over the years, with Sewell Construction and Sewell Facilities Management forming strong relationships with the staff and pupils. The team have become valued members of the Victoria Dock family, especially Paul Beulah who has been a Facilities Officer based at the school full time for 13 years.

He said;

“I started at the school in July 2009 and have seen a lot of children, school staff, Sewell staff and contractors come and go over the years.

“A lot of changes have also been made to the building itself including expansions to accommodate its popularity and oversubscriptions every year.

“Victoria Dock Primary School has been a huge part of my life for over a decade and being part of that has always made me feel happy, safe, and content.

“I look forward to seeing what the future holds and I’m hoping to transfer across to the Academy so I can continue being part of the team!”

Over the past 12 months, Sewell Facilities Management have been undergoing preparation works to ensure Victoria Dock Primary School is handed back in excellent condition and fit for the future.

Tom Farrow, Operations Manager for Sewell Facilities Management said;

“Over £100k worth of lifecycle works have been completed to an agreed standard set out with the Department of Education, Hull City Council and The Constellation Trust.

“This major programme of works has allowed us to future-proof the building for the next 25 years. Works have included the replacement of old boilers, full redecoration, updated flooring, repointing of brickwork, gutter repairs, and replacements, as well as replacing all lights with LEDs.

“This partnership has been a perfect example of cross-functional excellence between our Sewell brands, with Sewell Facilities Management, Sewell Construction Services and Sewell Education Hull working hard to provide a seamless service for Victoria Dock Primary to ensure we deliver the award-winning, world class service we’re known for.

“Our long-standing relationship with the school has been built over a significant amount of time, testament to long-servers Julie Harrison, Cleaner for 11 years, and Paul Beulah, Facilities Officer for 13.

“I’m proud of all partners involved who promised to be in it for the distance and support the school as a proper partner – 25 years later, we’ve kept that promise and will continue to do so.”