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Top-performing school chooses refurbished building from Foremans

12 January 2017

Foremans Relocatable Building Systems, a member of the Portakabin Group and the UK’s largest supplier of refurbished Portakabin buildings, has handed over a purpose-designed sixth form centre at Higham Lane School in Nuneaton, following completion of a £1.6 million contract.

Higham Lane is one of the highest-performing state-funded secondary schools in Warwickshire, and is within the top 100 of all secondary schools in England.

The new facility is allowing the school to provide a high quality, direct, post-16 progression route for its students for the first time, maintaining standards and outcomes far above national levels.

The sixth form centre has been constructed by Foremans using 52 recycled and refurbished Portakabin modules – a fast and highly sustainable building solution.

The two-storey building was completed less than six months from receipt of order to be open in time for the school’s first intake of sixth form students.

Cranage of the refurbished modular structure was timed for the school holidays to minimise any disruption to teaching.

This is Foremans’ 11th school project with education construction consultants Surveyors to Education who were the designers and contract administrators for the scheme.

Commenting on the project, Ben Elliott, Director of Corporate Services at Higham Lane School said, “This building is an amazing start to our school year. History has been made as for the first time Higham Lane School is now offering post-16 education from our brand-new sixth form centre. It has been wonderful to see our new sixth formers arrive. 

“There is a significant shortage of quality sixth form provision in our area and feedback from our students indicated a strong preference to stay on and study for A-levels at Higham Lane School. 

“The centre is both new and modern but in keeping with our existing facilities. Our staff and sixth formers are really delighted to be working and studying in such a high quality learning environment. 

“The Foremans pre-owned approach gave us significant benefits – it is very cost effective and the building looks brand new. It gave us more certainty to have the new sixth form up and running in time for the start of the new academic year because the majority of fitting out took place off site.

"Knowing that Foremans is a member of the Portakabin Group gave us even greater peace of mind along with their excellent relationship with Surveyors to Education.”

Martin Hier, Director at Surveyors to Education said, “The school is both a statement building and it blends in well with the existing facilities. It is designed to meet the specific requirements of sixth form learning, which includes teaching spaces to accommodate smaller groups. 

“We have a strong and long-standing relationship with the Foremans team and enjoy pushing the boundaries on each education scheme we collaborate on. We take a standard building solution and enhance it to meet the school’s requirements – whether that is for aesthetics or as here, specific classroom sizes. 

“We would definitely recommend recycled modular buildings to other schools and colleges.

"The approach is very sustainable because we are re-using an existing building structure – which is still in perfect condition, and at the same time we can reduce lead times and carbon emissions. Foremans modular buildings are also really flexible so layouts can be reconfigured to meet changing local needs.”

The Higham Lane sixth form centre accommodates up to 300 16-19 year-old students and has 17 seminar rooms, an art room, two science laboratories, and common room with café area.

Some of the rooms have the flexibility to be divided into two separate rooms for smaller group learning.

The building features large amounts of glazing for a high level of natural light, with brick cladding to complement adjacent facilities, and areas of bright red panelling to reflect the school’s colours.

Foremans’ 10 previous projects with Surveyors to Education have included a two-storey school complex at Billingbrook School in Northampton and a single-storey community college building with five classrooms and an IT hub at Winstanley College in Wigan.

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