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Wates Group has proposed building temporary schools in unused sports halls and community centres to get children back into education during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, the government abandoned plans to bring
all primary school children back into schools before the summer holidays as it
emerged that there would not be enough space to accommodate them while 2m
social distancing is in place. It has since proposed an extended catch-up plan
for England’s schools for the summer and beyond.
Warning that urgent action is required now to avoid a ‘lost
generation’ of students, Steve Beechey, group strategy director and education
lead at Wates, said the firm supported calls to create new school places to
He said: “As a leading national construction firm
specialising in schools, we fully back the proposals to urgently create new
spaces for teaching and get our children back to school. With many unused
community and commercial facilities such as sports halls, offices and community
centres currently lying dormant, these can be rapidly refurbished to create
temporary or permanent sustainable, educational facilities to accommodate a
larger volume of students and teaching staff.
“We would recommend a design solution converting existing
buildings through our proven Adapt Schools Solution approach, which offers a
fast, affordable option for delivering educational facilities quickly with
efficient design and procurement methods. This is an approach which we’ve already
successfully carried out on over 50 sites in the UK working with the Department
for Education, schools and local authorities over the last eight years.
“This model, along with the experience we gained delivering
an emergency special project at the Royal London Hospital to convert two
storeys into 176 additional beds during lockdown in just five weeks, means that
it’s possible to provide a large quantity of new and safe teaching spaces
within the next four to eight weeks.
“We’re keen to engage with the Department for Education on
this solution to ensure we don’t let our young people down at this crucial