There is a growing problem with a lack of accommodation in English schools, particularly in the primary school sector. A mixture of rising birth rates and localised immigration has derailed Local Authorities’ development plans. Also, Local Authorities’ ability to get a handle on this situation is further complicated by the growth in both Academy and Free Schools, whose intake is not controlled by Local Authority admissions systems.
The UK is facing a dramatic rise in pupil numbers to levels not seen since the 1970’s, and with hindsight the widespread removal of school accommodation places over the past few years can be seen as a big mistake. The government’s own figures show that we will need over 800,000 extra pupil places by 2020, with this rise being driven by the 18 per cent expected growth in numbers within English primary schools. The bulge in numbers will then move through to the secondary school sector, who have slightly more time to prepare for it!
The Department for Education has provided a map highlighting the Local Authority pupil accommodation shortfall hotspots. We list these areas from North to South:
- East Staffordshire
- Cannock Chase
- East Cambridgeshire
- Forest Heath
- A cluster of London authorities inside the M25
High quality, flexible and quickly installed accommodation is available through the use of modular buildings, which are now reclassified as permanent buildings within the latest October 2010 part L building regulations. Statistics recording the ways schools are solving their accommodation shortfalls are being confused because some groups within the education sector still define modular buildings as temporary accommodation. Whatever the government’s problems in recording these developments, it is still clear that modular buildings are a large, growing and essential part of school accommodation solutions across the country.
State school admission arrangements are normally administered by Local Authorities, and legislation underpins the requirement for each LA to provide school places for children in their area. Schools are therefore being required to take pupils despite a lack of capacity, so thankfully modular buildings are available to provide a key solution to the demand for extra classrooms.
The modern and efficient modular buildings which we provide at Portable Building Sales offer a proper and coherent solution for schools. Our buildings can be specified to blend seamlessly with existing school accommodation, and in our experience most of the schools with a shortfall in pupil accommodation have sufficient available outside site space to place extra pupil accommodation.
Evidence links the physical condition of school buildings to pupil’s educational outcomes. Our buildings, and most especially our Clearview range, provide warm and supportive educational spaces, optimised to match the best in traditional building.