Who would be a headteacher or school business manager right now? Because nowhere is the issue of space being more keenly debated than in the education sector. With schools being encouraged to work towards a staggered return to the classroom, most are faced with the pressing and challenging concern over how to safely and intelligently accommodate pupils, teachers and support staff.
The main crux of the debate seems to centre around the push and pull of whether the 2m social distance should be reduced to allow more pupils to group together or whether to reduce class sizes. Space is a concern that is only new in this specific context as we know that space within schools is always at a premium. We know that there just isn’t the availability to conjure up an extra classroom or 10 – as they’re all already in use.
Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The availability of school staff, the sheer number of pupils, and the sizes of school classrooms and corridors, combined with the need for social distancing measures, mean that the government’s calculations simply don’t add up.” [The Guardian, 11 May, 2020]
However, there’s a Midlands-based manufacturing and rental company called Smart-Space that works extensively within education, providing additional, sometimes temporary, space for all sorts of reasons.
One such example is a temporary school hall to allow for the major refurbishment of a primary school hall in Lincoln.
They turned to Smart-Space for a temporary replacement which was erected on their playground during half-term of last year.
The beauty of what Smart-Space can do is that there is little in the way of preparation needed, especially if you only need the building on a temporary basis
Another school in Leeds suffered an arson attack on its sports hall so they called in Smart-Space for a temporary replacement to be built on one of their car park areas during the summer.
Smart-Space buildings have been used for a number of different educational applications to great effect, such as skills rooms, dining halls and even to reorganise a school’s layout to allow for a permanent, brand-new sixth form centre.
A recent article also covered the issue of the atmosphere and experience for children.
One headteacher commented: “We have to balance that sense of how we can be safe with humanity, otherwise we run the risk of creating schools that horrify children and they never want to walk into them again.” [Independent, 14 May, 2020].
Clearly, the way the coming months are managed places all sorts of pressures on schools, some of which aren’t as obvious to people who aren’t immediately faced with the responsibility to manage them.
The beauty of what Smart-Space can do is that there is little in the way of preparation needed, especially if you only need the building on a temporary basis.
We can put everything together very quickly and we can take it away just as soon as you don’t need it any more – with no minimum-term agreements.
Smart-Space doesn’t want to burden any organisation with strict terms and conditions, especially now, when no one knows how this is going to play out in the future.
Imagine a vast space, as large as you need, without any pillars or obstructions. You can zone it, make it multi-purpose, reorganise storage to free up an existing room – literally anything you need.
It becomes useable space within just a few days – from the basic shell to a fully finished facility ready for you to use, in a finish to suit you.
Whatever your school needs are, they can make it more bearable, safe and hassle-free.
During lockdown Smart-Space has built a showroom classroom at its central Midlands base which makes it convenient to safely visit and appreciate the substantial nature of the buildings they supply, and they also have other reference sites as well which are featured in their case studies.
Smart-Space sources its materials from the UK and their teams of staff are all directly employed so they have been able to continue working ‘business as usual’.