Built-in flexibility to adapt to fast-changing demand for school places

Stunning new building offers built-in flexibility to adapt to fast-changing demand for school places across the borough

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has one of the fastest-growing school-age populations in the country and needed to provide a three-form entry primary school to help address the issue.

Riverside School was the third project constructed by Portakabin Group for Barking and Dagenham Council. Designed by Surface to Air Architects, the new two-storey primary school is the first phase of a complex three-stage project.

The scheme has been built as a three-form entry primary school, but with the flexibility for it to be used initially as a secondary school.

In phase two, the building will revert back to a primary school with the construction of a multi-use games area, football pitch, floodlighting and further play areas. The final stage will accommodate a change to a five-form entry primary school, which will see the scheme doubling in size, with a sports hall linking the two buildings.

Cllr John White, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, says: “The Portakabin Group has brought all the key ingredients of a flexible building system to meet our growing need for school places; speed of construction to get the school up and running quickly, strength and longevity to meet the demands of a school site, and best value for money.”

“We are really impressed with the finished building. It definitely exceeded our expectations and feels incredibly solid and robust. The classrooms are spacious and bright, and the corridors are very wide. We particularly like the lovely vibrant design on the outside of the building, which reflects different colours throughout the day and makes the building feel very welcoming.”

Andrew Roberts, Head Teacher, Riverside School

The new building comprises 48 modules measuring 18m long. It was handed over just 14 weeks after the modules arrived on site.

Each module was delivered with a high-performance concrete floor already in place providing the robust finish required for the demanding school environment. Externally, the building is finished in bronze, blue, green and grey.

The building provides 22 classrooms, including science laboratories, art and technology rooms and general classrooms, an ICT room, library, staff room, administrative areas, toilets, full catering kitchen, and a music room with acoustic protection.

Images © Morely von Steinberg

Building Location


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