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Portakabin Group awarded UK’s largest ever education sector off-site contract

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has awarded what is believed to be the largest ever off-site contract in the education sector, to the Portakabin Group – a £44 million project to deliver an innovative three- school campus.

The 23,000sqm Riverside Schools scheme is one of the largest school projects now under construction and will provide additional places for one of the fastest-growing school-age populations in the UK. The campus will have capacity for around 2,700 children from 0-19 – integrating provision for nursery, primary, special needs, secondary, and sixth form.

The Portakabin Group is main contractor for this pioneering project.

The contract has been awarded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) via the Council’s local education partnership (LEP), Thames Partnership for Learning. The project is procured by LBBD and funded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). The architects are Surface to Air and the three free schools on the campus will be operated by the multi-academy trust, Partnership Learning. Constructed using a Yorkon off-site solution for the curriculum areas, the scheme will accommodate a 10-form entry secondary school, a 630-place primary school, a special educational needs (SEN) school, and a nursery. It will also offer extended provision outside school hours and for wider use at weekends and in school holidays to contribute to the local community. Commenting on the project, Roger Leighton, Chief Executive of the multi- academy trust, Partnership Learning, said, “We have had a very good first- hand experience of the Portakabin Group’s off-site solutions as our schools currently occupy two earlier phases on a site near the planned Riverside Schools campus. We have been really impressed with the quality of the finished buildings, the speed of construction, and just how far off-site technology has now advanced.”

The use of off-site construction will significantly reduce the programme time. The project has been scheduled to complete the primary and SEN facilities at an earlier stage, in time for the start of the 2016/17 academic year to meet the urgent demand for places in the Borough. The rest of the campus will be completed late Spring 2017.

The Riverside Schools scheme is being developed in the Barking Riverside regeneration area, which is close to Barking town centre and part of the Thames Gateway development. Early phases of substantial housebuilding have already been completed with further plans for 12,000 new homes increasing the need for education provision. The overall vision is for the creation of a vibrant new community with design-inspired public spaces and amenities.. World record-breaking bag made at Wiltshire school

Pupils at Fitzmaurice Primary School in Bradford on Avon were excited to be involved in a world record held on the school premises in September. The record was the brainchild of Paper Bag Co Director Jon Marling along with Tom Vaughton from Varn Media in Wiltshire. They asked the school to see if they would like to host the record and give the children something to achieve over a special week focusing on world records in the classes. Creating a bag this size was truly a feat of logistical strategy and also physical endurance for the core team of adults involved. The children at the school helped with elements of the task. During the day of the world record attempt, the children decorated the bag and helped with its construction. With the record now ‘in the bag’ the paper from the huge object is being made into smaller souvenir bags for the children to take home. The message by Paper Bag Co was that recycling paper is a lot easier and more environmentally friendly than plastic in light of the new tax on plastic bags. Headteacher of Fitzmaurice School, Tracey Dunn said: “Being involved in a world record on the school grounds will have forged some life-long memories for the children and this was a very inspirational event to show them what can be achieved. For the week around the record attempt we discussed world records with the pupils in depth. The children painted pictures on the bag of a world record that has been achieved or one they would like to achieve one day. We also took professional pictures of the children beside the gigantic bag they helped build, so parents can purchase them and raise funds for the school.”

The record breaking dimensions of the enormous bag were 22.50 metres long, 15.41metres wide, 3.36 metres deep.

In an attempt to get a double world record on the day the organisers also asked if the children would like to go in the big bag to achieve an additional new world record for most people in a bag – 272 people in a bag to be precise. 10 November 2015

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