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Baby boom boost for Portakabin classrooms
YORK-based Portakabin is attributing a record number of orders for classrooms to increased demand for school places.
In the last year the Huntington modular-building specialist has accommodated up to 10,000 pupils in around 400 interim classrooms after receiving orders from more than 300 primary and secondary schools.
The firms says the biggest demand has been for primary school facilities, particularly in the London area, however projects spanned from Tyneside to Cornwall.
Robert Snook, director and general manager of Portakabin Hire, said: “The use of a modular solution speeds up the build process and so allows schools, colleges and local authorities to respond to the urgent need for additional places more quickly.
“By completing most of the building work before getting to site, we are able to radically reduce programme times, improve the safety of school sites and ensure much less disruption to teaching.
“There is also no compromise on the quality of the classroom accommodation just because the buildings are for short-term use.”
David Laws, Minister of State for Schools, has announced the need for 417,000 additional school places by 2015 to help address the impact of rising birth rates across the country.
According to the Office for National Statistics, more babies were born in the UK in 2011-12 than in any year since 1972, which will have a significant impact on primary school places.
The Local Government Association has said some areas will face a 20 per cent shortfall in places by 2015 and around 1,000 of the local school planning districts will be over capacity by 2015-16.
Portakabin designers have worked to ensure their facilities are suitable for tender as all are designed and constructed to permanent standards and in line with the latest Department for Education guidelines for teaching and learning.
There is also now the option for buildings to be clad to create a more permanent appearance and to help integrate the facilities on an existing school site.
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