• Summer Fields School, Oxford

    Summer Fields is a full-boarding and day school for boys aged 4−13, set in 70 acres of beautiful grounds and situated close to Oxford city centre. Darke & Taylor has been engaged for a number of years to manage and undertake all of Summer Field’s electrical works, both day-to-day and project-based.

    Summer Fields School, Oxford


21st century upgrade urgently required: Darke & Taylor (D&T) was engaged after the school’s full-time electrician had retired. Unfortunately, any electrical work had been done on a piecemeal basis, with the electrical system added to bit by bit over the years.

Mains change project: The central distribution board was very old and in urgent need of replacement. This was a large project since the school’s entire electrical system was dependent upon an out-of-date busbar from the mid- 1950s, with attendant asbestos issues.

The reliance on the busbar meant that the mains supply had to be turned off every time the school wanted to add a circuit. This caused significant disruption to the school, not least because a number of teachers lived in flats on the school grounds and were connected to the school’s mains.

Ongoing maintenance requirements: After the previous electrician retired, the school wished to outsource the role of electrician; it wanted reassurance that it would remain fully complaint with legislation, without the hassle of managing the function day-to-day.


A clean slate: D&T began by undertaking a survey of the whole site and produced a detailed set of schematics. The school’s new management who wanted everything ‘done properly’ in accordance with best practise and H&S legislation.

Project management involving specialists: D&T sat down with school’s management to identify their needs going forwards and designed a new electrical system accordingly. A specialist contractor was called in to strip out the asbestos and D&T replaced the old busbar with new switchgear.

Although this changeover was undertaken in the summer holidays, D&T still had to set up temporary power supplies to the teachers’ flats − this called for significant planning and co-ordination.

D&T flexibility: D&T supplies an electrician for three days per week during term-time to keep on top of all compliance work and day-to-day jobs. During school holidays, D&T is on site full-time, to undertake more significant remedial work and special projects.

“We now have the services of our fantastic electrician, who has enabled us to fulfil our day-to-day maintenance and compliance requirements and carry out our projects. I would recommend them as a company − we have been very happy with their excellent service.”

James Kirk, Operations Director & Clerk to the Governors

Technical overview

Darke and Taylor are employed direct by the School to carry out essential planned preventative maintenance and compliance electrical works. This includes emergency light testing, fixed wire testing and PAT Testing.

D&T also carries out and reactive electrical works when needed, whether on a large scale (upgrading all lights to LED over a three-year period) or on a smaller project-specific basis (such as relighting main drive, or installing an electrical supply to the treehouse) and has also worked on the school structured cabling network that is at the heart of the school’s ICT systems.

Project details

CLIENTSummer Fields School, Oxford

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