Portakabin builds temporary school academy next to Grenfell Tower

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Portakabin builds temporary school for pupils of academy next to Grenfell Tower

A temporary secondary school is being built to accommodate students of Kensington Aldridge Academy, a school next to Grenfell Tower, which has been shut ever since the devastating fire last month.

UK company Portakabin is using its modular construction system to build the school just over a mile away, next to Wormwood Scrubs – an open space in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Including a dance studio, art rooms and science labs, the structure will temporarily replace the Aldridge Foundation-sponsored school, which specialises in performing and creative arts.

Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA) first opened three years ago, but has been closed since the catastrophic fire last month and is expected to remain shut until April next year while forensic examinations continue at the scene.

Its distinctive green-panel-clad buildings were designed by London Studio E Architects – the same firm that oversaw the £8.7 million refurbishment of Grenfell Tower. These buildings still need to have ventilation systems checked and be cleared of debris.

Kensington Aldridge Academy principal David Benson has released some basic images showing what the temporary school will look like

During the final few weeks of term, KAA students have been taking lessons at the nearby Burlington Danes Academy and at Latymer Upper school.

David Benson, KAA's principal, wrote to all parents last week to give details of the "fairly fast moving project", which is being built over the next eight weeks while students are on summer break.

"The temporary school is going to be a pretty amazing facility," said Benson in the letter. "The word 'temporary' doesn't really do it justice. It has exactly the same number of classrooms as KAA does. It has all the specialist rooms we need to deliver our full curriculum."

It will be the latest in a series of school buildings that Portakabin has built, like this one in the London Borough of Harrow

The school reports that the new design will include five two-storey blocks of Portakabin buildings, while early renders suggest that the design will echo the distinctive green hues of the existing academy building.

The temporary blocks will house "a complete school" with a dance studio, a drama studio, two art rooms, two music rooms, two design technology workshops, science labs, a food tech room and two libraries.

960 students are enrolled to begin the new academic year at the temporary school.

York-based Portakabin have assigned a team of 70 people to work on the project and will deploy a further 150 for on-site delivery. The cost of the new school will be published by the Department for Education after the project's completion.

The fire broke out at Grenfell Tower in the early hours of 14 June 2017. The total number of people who died has still not been verified, but is said to be at least 80.

Since then, safety checks have been carried out on tower blocks across the UK, and many have had their cladding stripped off – as experts claim flammable panels contributed to the spread of fire at Grenfell.

Photograph of Grenfell Tower and Kensington Aldridge Academy is courtesy of Getty.