Joseph Leckie

Joseph Leckie Academy in Walsall has replaced outmoded and poor performing accommodation with its new energy efficient build.

The Project

The original 1930s school building has been replaced with a purpose-built 725 m2 structure, designed by Seymour Harris Architecture. The new building has been constructed by contractors, Speller Metcalfe, and offers space for modern classrooms, special education, reprographics, and administration facilities. To ensure the new building achieved a high level of thermal performance, the Kingspan OPTIM-R Rainscreen Cladding System was installed by sub-contractors, Sky Green Ltd, helping to create a warmer, more comfortable learning environment. 

25 mm OPTIM-R Rainscreen System
120 mm Kingspan Kooltherm K15
Building Owner:
Joseph Leckie Academy
Seymour Harris Architecture
Speller Metcalfe
Sky Green Ltd
The design aimed to provide an attractive and robust building that helps to define the aspirations of the school through some striking sculptural features and a meaningful approach to building efficiency. In order to create the architectural vision for the building, we chose the Kingspan System as it allowed creative flexibility as we designed and detailed the envelope, whilst maintaining the high levels of insulation required for the project.

Joe Harris, Associate Director from Seymour Harris Architecture


Building materials were carefully selected to meet both the design requirements and to ensure they are efficient for the building’s life cycle. The school was also designed to target an air permeability value of 5 m3/hour per m2 @ 50 Pa and a ‘B’ rated EPC. 

139 m2 of the Kingspan OPTIM-R Rainscreen System was specified for installation behind the cladding system within the perforated aluminium feature window pod locations, as it can achieve an aged thermal conductivity of 0.007 W/m∙K, which is five times better than other commonly used insulation materials. This was installed alongside 675 m2 of the Kingspan Kooltherm K15 Rainscreen Board in a 120 mm thickness to the main wall elevations, offering thermal conductivities as low as 0.021 W/mK. This optimum thermal performance was essential to achieve excellent airtightness to reach the school’s targets for energy efficiency.
We were aware that constructing a new building on the site was going to be a challenge, with numerous constraints including restricted access and the need to maintain the operational integrity of the school. The Kingspan OPTIM-R panels were delivered to site ready to use and were easy to handle, making it easy to plan in the installation.

Adrian Speller, Sustainability Director from Speller Metcalfe

Minimal disruption

It was essential that the build programme was planned effectively to prevent any problems with access to the site, especially during school hours when it was likely to be busy. The entire build was carefully phased to allow the school to continue as normal, despite ongoing works. 

Kingspan’s specialist technical team helped to streamline the installation by providing detailed system layouts and instructions for the project. The Kingspan OPTIM-R vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) do not require cutting which meant it was quick to install behind the cladding. The Kingspan OPTIM-R Flex strips were also included with the system, which were delivered in the same thickness as the VIPs, to fill in any gaps around the fixings and brackets.  

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