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Shackerley provides top-class cladding system for Ilkley Grammar School

A high school for students aged 11 to 18 with high academic standards, Ilkley Grammar School in Bradford is part of the Moorlands Learning Trust multi-academy trust. Set in beautiful surroundings on the edge of Ilkley Moor, the school can trace its history back to the 1600s. It has a traditional 19th-century main building, along with a host of enviable facilities, including tennis courts, a fully-equipped drama studio and an indoor swimming pool.


To complement this existing estate, the school has put in place a three-year Academy Development Plan, which sets out its goals. To help the school deliver those goals, Bradford Council has invested in extending capacity and enhancing facilities still further with the construction of a new teaching block on the campus.

Designed by Langtry Langton Architects, this three-storey building comprises 15 new English and humanities classrooms, a new dining hall, offices and toilet facilities. Part of the design brief was that the new building should be sympathetic to the local built environment in Ilkley, which is characterised by dark grey slate and cream-coloured Yorkshire sandstone. Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite ventilated facade system in a natural creamy-beige honed LOPAR colourway enabled the architectural team to deliver the design intent of a natural aesthetic in-keeping with the local built environment while offering reduced structural loadings, cost advantages and long-term maintenance benefits as compared to natural sandstone.

SureClad Ceramic Granite

The new stand-alone teaching block is part of a wider build programme at Ilkley Grammar School, which has also involved internal remodelling of the existing school building to create a new layout enabling clusters of classrooms by academic subject.
Tony Hubbard from Langtry Langton Architects explains: “The challenge for the project was to deliver the range, scale and layout of facilities required to increase the school’s student intake, while providing a new building that is both practical and appropriate for the campus in terms of materials, height and style.

“Using local stone would have been the obvious choice for the facade, however, this not only had implications for the cost of the stone but also for the cost of the wider build because of the structural loading, lead times and build times involved. We had never used Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite facade system before. Still, it offered us an excellent match for the aesthetic we were trying to achieve along with significant cost savings on the building structure along with buildability benefits.”

Low-maintenance facade

Shackerley’s creamy-beige LOPAR SureClad Ceramic Granite panels also offered a natural-looking alternative with a stone-like variation.

Brian G Newell, CEO and Founder of Shackerley, comments: “We are finding that SureClad Ceramic Granite in LOPAR is one of our most popular finishes because it provides a low-maintenance, lightweight and technically superior alternative to sandstone while giving the facade a natural appearance.”

Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite also offers a low-maintenance solution that maintains its high-quality appearance over time – even when specified in pale colourways – thanks to the impervious nature of the material. Resistant to discolouration due to U/V or pollution, Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite will not be damaged by the effects of freeze-thaw conditions and is resistant to both graffiti and algae growth. It is also certified as an A1 non-combustible material to BS EN 13501-1.

Tony continues: “This project is a major investment for the council, so we wanted to ensure that the building looks just as good years down the line as it did on the day we handed it over. The choice of cladding materials is essential in this regard, and we were impressed by the longevity of the system in terms of performance, aesthetics and fire safety.”

To create contrast with the pale-coloured LOPAR SureClad Ceramic Granite panels, the Langtry Langton Architects team also specified the Shackerley SureClad system in Rio Black. This colourway has been used to create horizontal details at the top and bottom of each elevation and for the window reveals and soffits.

Tony continues: “The Shackerley team was very helpful and provided fully-mounted samples to aid our product selection process. Being able to specify both facade materials from the same supplier and inspect the samples, which had been pre-mounted using the Shackerley Hang On system made specification much easier.”

Ease of installation

The cladding installation was carried out by Specialist Cladding Systems (SCS) – part of CA Group – which has previously used the same SureClad Ceramic Granite system on previous projects in the residential, leisure and hotel sectors.

Kevin Baynes, Project Manager at SCS, comments: “The lightweight SureClad panels are not only ideal for a lighter structure but are also much easier to handle on site. For this project, we used the SureClad Hang On system, which was very easy to work with and helped us complete the installation of the facade within the business-critical deadline required by the school to enable the increased student in-take.”

Shackerley worked closely with SCS to ensure that the production schedule for manufacture of the SureClad Ceramic Granite panels was used for the Ilkley Grammar School project. The SureClad system was pre-fabricated as installation-ready panels at Shackerley’s ISO 9001-accredited factory in Lancashire, and each fully-traceable consignment was sent to site on a just-in-time basis, aligned to the installation schedule.

Kevin continues: “Shackerley made it easy to identify each panel on the installation schedule. We found the company very easy to work with, which helped the project run smoothly.”

A modern twist on tradition

The new teaching block at Ilkley Grammar School has now been completed, in time for the new school term. The project is a contemporary addition to the school’s new building but continues a tradition of quality and educational achievement that dates back 400 years.

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