Kensington Aldridge Academy
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- Dining hall
- Science laboratories
- Food technology classroom
- IT suites
- Two libraries
- Dance and drama studios
- General teaching classrooms
- Approx. 7,500m2
- 200+ modules
- Dedicated Special Educational Needs centre
Thirteen weeks after Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA) on Silchester Road was closed, a new KAA2 on Scrubs Lane, just over a mile away from the school’s permanent location, opened its doors to nearly 1,000 students.
Known as the fastest school ever built, KAA2 was an unprecedented project from start to finish and took a record-breaking nine weeks to build. Though being built to an extremely challenging timeframe and at times, an evolving design, neither the quality nor function of the new school and its educational environment was compromised. Pupils were to have like-for-like facilities in their new school, which specialises in the performing arts.
Following the unfolding of the tragic events on 14 June, the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) approached consultancy and construction group Mace and modular experts Portakabin to provide a new building for the pupils of Kensington Aldridge Academy, which is located at the base of Grenfell Tower.
Working closely with the ESFA and Mace, engineers at Portakabin designed a temporary six block school, located in North Kensington, just over a mile from the school’s permanent location. “Portakabin and Mace have worked closely to deliver this temporary school to ensure that the pupils of KAA have access to suitable facilities for the next twelve months. It has been a hugely emotional project to work on. It’s been very moving to see everyone in the supply chain move heaven and earth to deliver a fully functioning school for nearly 1,000 pupils. This is a real testament to what you can do when every member of a team is pulling in the same direction.”
Phoebe Leach, Project Director, Mace
Nick Griffin, Project Sponsor, Portakabin says: “Our ability to create the whole building from the ground up, with our own supply chain providing all M&E and fit out, meant that there was no delay in the programme for further procurement. Delivered in time and to budget, these types of builds are what we do, day in, day out – the scale and speed of this (along with the tragic reason behind it) were the exceptional elements of the project.
“The quality of relationship and interaction between all parties was excellent – that is the school management team, ESFA, Mace, LBHF, Portakabin, our suppliers and subcontractors and the whole supply chain – people were not putting up barriers but were actively and creatively thinking together to reach solutions to challenges and were empowered to make things happen without delay. All personnel on site showed commitment and pride and this was noted by neighbours and the local community.
“The whole project, although incredibly fast, was orderly, planned, on programme; hitting all milestones even after the design repeatedly evolved and was safe – speed was not used as an excuse to relax quality, safety or proper governance.” Taking into account the tragic reason behind the project, specialist areas dedicated to providing enhanced counselling facilities for students affected by the tragedy were added, and external vinyl artwork was applied to the building itself, to foster familiarity for the students. The colour scheme remained consistent throughout and furniture from the school on Silchester Road was moved into the new building.
For all intents and purposes, it was a like-for-like replacement school, delivered in time for the start of term with zero compromise on quality. In August 2018, 62% of all A Level results were A*-B and 99.6% A*-E. Nearly 100% of students were able to secure competitive university places.
“I want to congratulate everyone involved in moving Kensington Aldridge Academy to their new site. It is an incredible achievement to build a school of this scale in record-breaking time after such tragic events. It was hugely impressive to see all the organisations involved working together under pressure to deliver a project of this magnitude successfully and minimise the disruption it caused to pupils.”
Justine Greening, Former Education Secretary
Staff and students settled into our excellent new facilities, which replicate what we have in our original building, aiding us to deliver the same rich curriculum to our students for the year and ensuring their education is not impacted by the temporary move.
Priority School Building Programme
As part of the Government’s £4.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), which rebuilds or refurbishes school buildings in the worst condition across the country, Portakabin was awarded a contract to deliver six schools in the Surrey and Kent batch.