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Replacement of 3 schools with a new purpose built school.

Replacement of 3 schools with a new purpose built school.


In the former mining village of Murton there were three schools – Murton Nursery, Jubilee Primary and Murton Primary Schools, all in close proximity to each other. The primary schools were of different construction – Murton Primary School was an old converted secondary school built in the 1930’s of solid brick construction and the Jubilee Primary School was built in the 1960’s using a system called CLASP. Both schools were in need of much maintenance work. The Nursery School is built of more conventional brick and block construction.

Given the close proximity of the schools and their high maintenance needs, it was decided that they should be combined into one new Community Primary School.
The new Community Primary School has been erected on the playing field of the former Jubilee Primary School which was demolished on completion of the new school. The site of the former Murton Primary School has been sold off to developers for residential purposes. The former Nursery School is to be utilised as a teaching centre for children with special needs.

Building details

Type of buildings Single storey Primary School and Children’s Centre.
Year built/ Floor area (m2)/ Operating hours (hrs, days etc.): Built in 2005-6 / 3060 m2 /open 08.00 – 18.00 Mon – Fri 51 weeks p.a.
Heating and cooling installed Gas fired central heating.
Energy/CO2/Water label 3 schools combined E E F New school B A B

Project description

Aim To reduce surplus accommodation, running costs and CO2 emissions.
Key points The new Community Primary School was designed to accommodate a wide range of age groups, including children from 0 – 2 years old (Child Centre Day Care and Surestart), 2 – 5 years old (Nursery) and 5 – 11 years (Junior), with some Community use. Creating one school to be used by several age groups has meant that the use of the school is maximised, especially compared to a normal single age-group school unit.


_ The new school was built to more stringent Building Regulations than the former school buildings. The stricter thermal requirements of the Regulations have meant that the new community school is more energy efficient, reducing energy consumption and cost as well as CO2 emissions.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example

The high standard of construction of the new Community Primary school has resulted in more efficient use of energy, reduced costs and reduced CO2 emissions.

_ The reduction in CO2 emissions is in line with Durham County Council’s commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. This commitment was made in 2003 when the Council joined the UK Government initiative “Making a Corporate Commitment (MACC2)”, and set a target of reducing CO2 emissions and water consumption by 10% by 2008. The Council is on track to reach the target for water. However, problems have been encountered in reaching the target for CO2 emissions because the use of heat energy is very weather dependent and the use of Information Technology equipment is increasing.

Costs and benefits

Costs & benefit This project was partially funded through the sale of the site of the former Murton Primary School to developers for residential purposes.

Combining three schools into one has resulted in lower running and maintenance costs. There has also been significant savings in energy and water and reductions in CO2 emissions in the first year:
- 314.55 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided
- 1,257,345 kWh energy saved
- 2993 m3 water saved.


Lessons learned Falling pupil numbers meant that keeping three schools open with surplus accommodation was not economically viable. Two of the school buildings were requiring large amounts of money to be spent on maintenance to retain an adequate level of comfort and safety.


_ The new Community Primary School building allows all of the required services to be delivered from one central unit, reducing running costs and emissions. The sale of the Murton Primary site helped to fund the project.

To know more

Organisation name: Durham County Council
Contact: Jeff Kirton
Phone: +44 (0)191 383 3749

Useful info

Arrangements to visit: Contact Jeff Kirton or Graham Garrity (0191 383 3216)

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