New Standard Designs for Classrooms

Alex Wakefield
A shortage of classroom capacity remains one of the biggest problems facing education authorities across England. Both primary and secondary schools are finding themselves under pressure to accommodate more pupils.

The March 2013 report by the National Audit Office has confirmed the UK-wide shortage of school places. At least 81,900 children in 98 authorities are being taught in temporary accommodation - up from 74,000 in 69 councils in 2010.

New buildings are a luxury that most schools can’t afford. But with higher pupil numbers, local education authorities, head teachers, governors and parents around the country are urgently seeking ways to increase the space in their schools in the most efficient manner.

A traditionally built extension is typically expensive and takes at least two terms before the site works begin. A ‘modular style’ building is quicker but is often considered less satisfactory as a quality learning environment.

Making a difference

Faithful+Gould and Scape have partnered with Derbyshire County Council to develop a new concept called Connect, providing standard pre-designed teaching blocks of between two and six classrooms. These are permanent buildings, not modular, with a design life of over 30 years. They are up to 30% cheaper and six months faster to procure and build than traditional extensions, providing a stand-alone solution, at an affordable price which offers high quality teaching accommodation.

The Connect range comprises pre-designed layouts for Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and secondary schools. Clients can personalise the space with a range of pre-designed, pre-priced optional extras.

This approach to design enables the client to remain in control of budgets and programme, keeps the design process simple and enables the contractor to provide certainty in cost and construction programme.

When money and often time are in short supply, providing this level of certainty can significantly help clients to secure funding and ensure that a generation of children  are taught in the best possible learning environment.   

Benefits of Connect:

  •  Provides certainty on cost and programme
  •  High quality learning environment
  •  Sustainable solution using modern methods of construction
  •  Quality product at an affordable price
  •  Well designed with end user input from an early stage
  •  Quick, simple and affordable, meeting the needs of end users and budget holders alike

The first Connect classroom block has been completed in the Derbyshire High Peak area and others are underway in Bedford, Kingston and Liverpool. We expect growing interest from primary schools, secondary schools/academies and universities – it’s a great way to get a quality learning-enhancing space at an affordable cost.

Written by