Watling Academy

Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Contractor: Glancy Nicholls Architects and Graham

The Brief

Pinnacle worked in collaboration with Glancy Nicholls Architects, Milton Keynes Council, and Graham Construction to develop an FF&E design solution for a new build secondary school, Watling Academy.

Using our extensive knowledge and expertise in FF&E, Pinnacle were able to meet the requirements of the client and provide an outstanding new 1800-place school within the project budget.


What We Did

Watling Academy is a £40m purpose-built secondary school that serves the Western Expansion Area (WEA) of Milton Keynes for 11–16-year-olds. Milton Keynes Council funded the three-story building in the area as part of the Whitehouse Development scheme.

Pinnacle provided the fitted classroom furniture and specialist packages such as design technology equipment, fume cupboards, and bespoke joinery.

The bespoke main reception desk is the first element of furniture a visitor to the school sees. The impressive double-height space incorporates the Corian worktop with a glassed-faced base and sliding glass screen system above. This glass wall allows the reception to be closed off during activities outside school hours. We also introduced branded colours into the rooms in line with the corporate strategy, to deliver a contemporary and inviting place for students and teachers.

The coronavirus pandemic presented obvious challenges during construction. However, the use of interactive visuals and VR facilitated the progress of this flagship project and worked well during our client engagement meetings.

We secured the WESS scheme with Graham and then progressed into collaboratively designing the room types with the architect and council. The use of VR and renders was an important step to ensure that the end user stakeholders could experience the spaces and agree to the layouts before the building was out of the ground. These tools were also very engaging to ensure a prompt sign off of colourways. The end result was excellent, and the school are very pleased with their new home.

Andrew Ball , Lead Project Consultant for Pinnacle