Portakabin completes new Worcestershire school

A new, purpose-built alternative provision (AP) primary school in Kidderminster has been completed and will open its doors to students next week. 

This is the second project to be awarded to Portakabin under the Department for Education’s (DfE) MMC1 framework.

Compromising of eight classrooms, associated hall and resource spaces, Unity Academy is an AP primary school, educating young people in Worcestershire County away from their mainstream school environment. 

It is run by the Rivers Church of England Academy Trust.

AP schools provide education and support for children who are not able to attend a mainstream school due to reasons including illness, behaviour or exclusion. 

Unity Academy supports primary aged children who have SEMH - social emotional mental health - needs.

The trust and council required a specialist resource to accommodate 60 primary school students from schools across the local community, in need of additional provisions. They will be supported by approximately 25 members of staff.

Kate Brunt, CEO/chief principal of the Rivers C of E Multi Academy Trust (MAT), said: “Rivers MAT are delighted to have worked closely with Portakabin to complete Unity Academy, our 16th school within our trust, but our first specialist provision to cater for SEMH needs.

“This has involved great teamwork between the Department for Education, Worcester Children First, Portakabin and our own team. 

“Working with Portakabin has been a dream. Their professionalism and communication have been first class which has enabled the building to have been completed and handed over before the set date.

“This provision is a facility that is desperately needed within Worcestershire, and everyone is so excited to see it opening in September and the team are raring to go.”

Thanks to the entire school building being manufactured using modern methods of construction (MMC), the custom-designed modules were able to be precision built by Portakabin at its manufacturing facility in York and successfully transported in convoy and installed in Kidderminster earlier this year.

James Pearson, divisional MD at Portakabin, added: “We were able to build Unity Academy using new, extra-large modules. 

“The modules were specifically designed with our in-house engineers and product design experts to meet the exacting requirements of today’s education market.”

At 3.6m wide and 18.75m long, each module is larger than the standard Portakabin offering to maximise offsite fitout and meet pre-manufactured value targets set by the DfE. 

Large windows maximise daylight and offer an improved teaching and learning environment for both pupils and teachers.

The completed site also includes a commercial standard kitchen, a MUGA - multi use games area - external pitch area, car park with EV charging bays and photovoltaic panels on the roof. 

Wildflowers have also been planted around the school to improve biodiversity as well as bat and bird boxes and two bug hotels.

An official opening ceremony was held earlier this week.

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