Britain is facing the worst shortage of school places for decades. This is resulting in overcrowded classrooms, primary schools expanding beyond an optimum size and children travelling further to school.
Government statistics show that the nursery and primary school population has risen steadily since 2009 to reach 4.5 million in 2016. By 2020 there are projected to be 3.97 million children of primary school age attending state-funded schools, including special schools and alternative provision.
The secondary school population rose to 2.76 million in 2016 and is projected to continue rising to reach 3.04 million by 2020, peaking at 3.33 million in 2025.*
Now, however, as official projections show demand rising over the next few years, local authorities have warned that funding pressures, coupled with policies that will prevent them building new schools or forcing existing ones to expand, will take the crisis to new levels.
The LGA has warned that the country faces an ‘emergency’ when it comes to secondary school places.
It said 134,000 children will be without a secondary school place by 2023/24 unless more classrooms and schools are built. By law every child must be given a school place.
Whatever the reason or politics behind the growing continuing crisis, one thing is certain: more schools places are vital for the on-going education of today’s youngsters.
Portable accommodation is one solution which offers a flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional building methods, which can sometimes be expensive and disruptive. It has come a long way from the outdated pre-fab approach and can now even mirror a traditional brick-built or cedar clad façade with an enduring longevity and a high degree of ‘kerb appeal.’
Cedar cladding is proving a particularly attractive option to schools looking for an aesthetically pleasing frontage which is still low maintenance and doesn’t require any treatment or preservative. Planning applications featuring this option appear to be preferred perhaps denoting an environmental twist to local authorities.
With a committed team of dedicated professionals used to working alongside local government departments, Portable Offices develop and construct all types of structures from the every day extension to the more revolutionary facility. But all accommodation fulfils a specific need, whether that is for more teaching accommodation or changing rooms or staff facilities.
Over the past few years, the number of education based solutions has increased and the need is growing as more schools look at ways of making their capital expenditure and budgets go further.
The low maintenance element of portable accommodation is another reason it is so attractive in today’s climate where the building’s integrity and longevity is of vital importance.
Nowadays, portable accommodation or modular buildings offer a turn-key solution to new build needs with fast turnarounds of just six to eight weeks in many cases.