An Outstanding Learning Environment for a Two Form Primary School
Pyrford Primary School in Woking was the first school to be handed over in the £28 million Surrey and Kent batch of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) that was awarded to the Portakabin Group. The PSBP was established to address the needs of those schools in the worst condition across the country.
A new 480-place school was required in time for the start of the new academic year. The existing dilapidated 1960s school buildings would then be demolished.
The scheme was constructed by the Portakabin Group using a Portakabin Design and Build advanced off-site building solution to create an outstanding learning environment. It was designed by architects Surface to Air in line with stringent Department for Education teaching standards.
The use of off-site construction halved the programme time for completion and occupation, ready for the start of the new academic year. The approach also avoided any interruption to teaching at the school which was immediately adjacent to the site.
As main contractor, the Portakabin Group was responsible for all elements of this three-phase project including the off-site construction and fitting out of the main school building, construction of a steel-framed multi-purpose hall, asbestos removal, demolition works, landscaping, and car parking.
To minimise on-site work during school term time, the Portakabin Design and Build modules were pre-installed with a high performance concrete floor with excellent acoustic qualities and a robust, highly durable finish.
The project was a challenging redevelopment on a constrained, rural site immediately adjacent to the existing school. By using the largest Portakabin Design and Build modules, Portakabin halved the number of units required for even greater efficiency. Each module weighed up to 20 tonnes and was craned into position from an adjacent cricket pitch in just seven days over the school holidays to avoid any interruption to teaching.
The project involved detailed logistical planning for the cranage phase and the transfer of all furniture, books and legacy equipment from the old building to the new school in time for the start of the new autumn term. The original school building was then removed by Portakabin. An existing children’s centre and nursery on the site remained in use throughout the redevelopment, further demonstrating the flexibility of off-site construction.
The new two-form entry school is designed to have high levels of natural light to improve concentration levels, and increased access and space for outdoor play and learning.
Externally the building has been finished in a materials palette of brickwork, neutral white render, and panelised metal in white, dark grey and subtle blues to complement the rural surroundings.
“We just love our new school! It is bright, light and very spacious. The teaching areas are wonderful learning environments for children and we now realise what poor conditions we had to endure in our old buildings for so many years.”
“The Portakabin team has been brilliant throughout and the finishing and attention to detail is to a very high standard. We also 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. We are all very happy with the end result.”
Kathryn Krynicki, Head Teacher, Pyrford Primary School
“We are very happy with the new school for Pyrford Primary. The quality of the building is very good and we are looking forward to the successful delivery of the other Priority School Building Programme projects in the Surrey and Kent batch and to achieving even greater efficiencies with the use of off-site construction.”
Richard Crosby, Project Director, Education Funding Agency
The project achieved a Considerate Contractors Scheme (CCS) rating of A1.