People News

Our People: Paul Cooper.


Shaping the best spaces for schools.

Paul is our Schools and Academies lead. Alongside an expert team, he helps create inspiring learning environments across the UK. 

When I was a child…

…I dreamed about the night sky and I was fascinated with aviation. I never thought I’d end up working within the built environment!

During my degree I went on placement at Great Ormond Street hospital with the facilities and development team – it was there my love for building services was born.

I joined Hoare Lea…

…nearly 10 years ago and I work in our Cambridge office. I am an Associate Director and the Sector Lead for Schools and Academies.

As Sector Lead, I work closely with governmental departments and other professional organisations to guide the future of school design.

I enjoy working with schools…

…as they add social value to the wider community and help shape children’s lives.

Everybody has memories of their school days; the teachers, the buildings and the lessons. I can still vividly remember it all, despite it being more years ago than I would like to admit!

I’ve now worked on more than 50 schools. I was even involved in rebuilding my old secondary school.

School buildings have a huge impact on…

…the learning outcomes of pupils. There are many elements that need to be right. Classrooms need to not overheat, internal air quality mustn’t cause drowsiness, acoustics should allow a teacher’s voice to be heard clearly, and daylighting needs to provide sufficient natural light but not provide glare or heat in the summer.

We influence every element of the building design to create conditions that allow each and every pupil to thrive.

We are at an exciting point…

… as The Department for Education is pushing for Net-Zero-Carbon schools and we’re working with them to make this a reality.

We also understand that, as schools move towards a zero-carbon future, we need ensure that they remain user friendly.

We must remember that teachers are teachers, not facilities managers. The classroom environment needs to be controlled, responsive and pupil focused.

When I’m not at work…

…I’m a dad to my young children – spare time really feels like a luxury these days!
However, when I can, I love cycling. I believe in the N+1 approach to bike ownership (you always need one more than you have). I also enjoy playing Rugby (badly I hasten to add) and I help to coach my son’s rugby team.