The £44 million Riverside Schools off-site project – the largest ever in the education sector – has started on site in Barking.
The scheme for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham was awarded to the Portakabin Group and is using a Yorkon off-site solution to deliver an innovative three-school campus.
Now under construction, the 23,000sqm Riverside Schools campus will provide places for 2,645 children from 0-19 years on a six hectare site. The development will integrate provision for nursery, primary, special needs, secondary, and sixth form pupils, and will be operated by the multi-academy trust, Partnership Learning.
The Portakabin Group is the main contractor for this pioneering project. The contract was procured and awarded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham via the Council’s local education partnership, Thames Partnership for Learning. It is funded by the Education Funding Agency.
Commenting at the ground breaking, Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Education and Schools at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham said:
“I am very proud of the team for progressing the project so robustly. The off-site solution will help us to very quickly meet the urgent need for school places and deliver more outstanding schools in a good quality and modern educational environment. This will add to our ongoing work to help every child in Barking and Dagenham realise their highest aspirations.”
Simon Ambler, Director of the Portakabin Group said:
“This is our seventh project for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and follows on from the two earlier phases on the City Farm site near to the Riverside Schools campus, that are now in use. The scheme is one of the largest school projects now under construction in the UK and will create much needed additional school places for one of the fastest growing school-age populations in the country.”
“We are delighted to be part of a major development that will be at the heart of a vibrant new community with design-inspired public places and amenities.”
Designed by Surface to Air and constructed using a Yorkon off-site solution for the curriculum areas, the scheme comprises an 1,800-place secondary school, a 630-place primary school, a special educational needs (SEN) school, and a 55-place nursery.
The use of off-site construction will significantly reduce the programme time. The structure is now in production in York at the same time as the major ground works are progressed on site in East London.
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.