With many local councils facing a shortage of school places over the coming years, they are looking at a number of options. Building completely new schools can take time, which in some instances will take too long to meet the immediate need.
Other options involve increasing capacity at existing schools to enable them to accommodate more students. One effective and cost-efficient way of achieving this is to use shipping containers as new classrooms.
Government figures estimate that we will have 8,022,000 students in English schools by 2023. This will be an increase of around 880,000 students from current levels and result in a need for more and larger schools. The shortage of school places is already affecting large parts of the country. By 2018, councils warn that 60% of regions in England will not have enough primary school places.
This means that schools need to assess how they can best meet this increase in demand. One viable route is to covert unused space into additional classrooms. This could include non-teaching areas as well as using container hire contracts to increase space.
Shipping containers are an ideal solution to the lack of classrooms and enable capacity to be increased quickly. They bring many benefits to councils and schools without impacting on the quality of teaching or the facilities for students.
Without the requirement for traditional building methods or difficulties with the planning process, containers can be erected quickly. As soon as the space has been made ready, a container can be lifted into place and used almost instantly. They can be used as single-storey structures or stacked together to make more efficient use of the space.Shipping containers are also considerably cheaper than a traditional building and can be sold or returned to the container hire company when they are no longer required. They are ideal for use in school environments, and their strength makes them exceptionally durable.
If necessary, they could remain on the site for 30 years without deteriorating. The containers have been designed for use at sea and can withstand the harshest of environments, so they can stand up to the country's weather conditions.
As more schools look to increase the number of places they can offer, containers will become more widespread on sites across the country. They provide the speed and flexibility that our current education system requires to accommodate increasing pupil numbers.