Department for Education

Building Use

6 Whole Schools

Procurement Method


Why hire from portakabin

Project Features

  • Dedicated Special Educational Needs facilities
  • Landscaping and outdoor play areas
  • Modular Multi-Purpose Hall
  1. The Requirements

    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. All six schools would be produced off site and would replace the current facilities, which would then be demolished and removed. Wanting to create outstanding environments for teaching and learning, the offsite approach to the scheme would reduce the build programme, much to the benefit of the children’s education by reducing disruption during construction.

    Designed by specialist architects, each school would have state-of-the-art education facilities to replace sub-standard accommodation in poor condition. The designs, which have been developed in close collaboration with teaching staff, will maximise natural light and ventilation, and feature two two-storey classroom wings. These are separated by a central ‘street’ which runs the full length of the building and provides good passive supervision and zones for informal learning. The buildings will also have high levels of natural light to improve concentration levels, and increased access and space for outdoor play and learning.

    Throughout the scheme, Portakabin was able to develop a modular multi-purpose hall for two of the schools following learnings made on site while the programme progressed.

  2. The Solution

    The design of the schools meant they were built over two storeys and made up of 30+ modules. The modules were manufactured and fitted out offsite at the Portakabin manufacturing facility in York while foundations and groundworks continued onsite in preparation for the modular building to be craned into position during the school holidays. This flexibility is a valuable benefit of using off-site construction. Minimising on site disruption is critical for these schools.

    Once in place, the module interiors were finished on site and included; full interior decoration, joinery works, lift installation, internal light wells fitted between floors, full kitchen furnish, ICT placement, new incoming mains services and construction of partition walls.

    The team at Portakabin had over 40 operatives on site each week to ensure the children were in their new school in time for the start of term. Designed with a modern learning environment in mind, the school has teaching spaces for reception, infants and junior pupils as well as a multi-purpose hall, kitchen and food science teaching room as well as a play area and landscaped gardens outside.

While working on this batch of schools, the design team at Portakabin looked to improve the delivery programme by replacing a traditionally built hall with a modular one. This exciting new product now comes as part of its full turnkey school solution; a modular hall suitable for events, sports and assemblies. Both Culverstone Green and Priory Fields Primary School benefitted from this.

Traditionally built structures can take up to 14 weeks to build whereas the modular solution designed by Portakabin is manufactured and installed with six weeks.

The space is designed to work in line with the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) requirement for primary school halls (180m² and ceilings of at least 4.5m in height) and it far exceeds this. The hall is also fully compliant on acoustics, lighting and floor finishes and can be designed to order, fitted with any additional fixtures such as fitness or AV equipment.

Now schools, colleges and universities can benefit from a modular double height space; considerably reducing time on site and in turn, any disruption to students.

We really appreciated our tour of the factory in York to see our school being built at first hand – an experience which we could then share with the children. Parents and governors have been really delighted and astonished with the new facilities and what has been achieved in just a few months.

Kathryn Krynicki, Head Teacher, Pyrford Primary School

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