Work starts on £44m three-school Barking campus

Simon Ambler, director of the Portakabin Group, Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for education

Simon Ambler, director of the Portakabin Group, Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for education and schools, Roger Leighton, chief executive of partnership learning, Helen Jenner, director of children�s services and Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of the council, at the groundbreaking - Credit: Archant

Work on an innovative £44m three-school campus is underway.

The groundbreaking for the project – which will provide places for about 2,700 children aged up to 19 years old – took place on Friday.

Once complete, the 23,000 sq m site in Barking Riverside will be operated by a multi-academy trust, Partnership Learning, and will include a nursery, primary and secondary school, as well as a special school.

The primary and special needs facilities are scheduled to be finished by the start of the next academic year, with the remainder of the campus expected to completed in late spring 2017.

The project is the largest ever off-site contract in the education sector and is unusual in its approach to integrate three schools on one site to offer stimulating and cohesive learning.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for education and schools, said the development would help the council to “quickly meet the urgent need for school places and deliver more good and outstanding schools in a good quality and modern school environment”.

Simon Ambler, director of the Portakabin Group, which is carrying out the construction, said: “We are delighted to be part of a major development that will be at the heart of a vibrant new community, with design-inspired public spaces and amenities.

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“It will be a fantastic new education facility for the local community.”

The project is part of £68m investment across the borough accross the next three years.

As reported in last week’s Post, demand for school places in the borough is expected to rocket and the council is preparing to provide for an extra 5,500 primary pupils and 7,800 secondary pupils by 2021.

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