Delivering outstanding educational outcomes for young people requires high quality teaching spaces. Whatever kind of nursery, school, college or university building you need, modular solutions for hire can be easily and quickly integrated into your existing estate.  Here, Chris Coxon, from Algeco, looks at why, with ongoing pressure on capital budgets, more schools are choosing modular classrooms.


‘The secondary school population is forecast to increase by an extra 207,000 pupils by 2026*. That means more classrooms are needed. At the same time, refurbishing old classrooms or reconfiguring schools creates a pressing need for temporary or decant classrooms.
By choosing to hire, schools benefit from a learning environment that’s there for as long as they need it, and without needing to dip into Capex budgets. When the school has finished with the classrooms, they are simply taken away. It really couldn’t be easier.

Greater flexibility
When choosing a modular classroom there are a number of factors to consider. Research shows that fundamentals such as lighting and ventilation are of utmost importance in a learning environment. The HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design)** found that more daylight and fresh air, within an optimised teaching environment, can increase learning capacity by up to 8%. It’s one of the reasons why we incorporate design features such as larger windows in our temporary classrooms.
A whole range of configurations are available, offering light and airy classrooms, with modules stackable up to four storeys high. Flexible, highly effective teaching spaces can be created easily, to your exact requirements.

Minimal disruption

Our modular classrooms are prepared offsite, which means pupils and teachers face minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of the school. Expect fewer delivery vehicles, fewer vehicle movements and a quicker, quieter, safer installation process, compared to traditional construction methods.  It’s also worth bearing in mind that our permanent and temporary classrooms are fully compliant with building regulations and DfE specifications. That includes the latest acoustic and thermal performance requirements.  As you would expect, our temporary, modular classrooms offer full WiFi, 4G broadband and data packages. These are part of our Plug’n’Play solution, meaning your classroom can be online within minutes.
Suitable for all ages, our education solutions include portable nursery buildings and crèches for pre-school age groups. Our portable nursery buildings are configured to meet the spatial needs of the seven areas of learning and development for young children, so there’s no need to compromise on facilities, even if it’s temporary.
Our 360 service provides you with a building fitted with fire safety equipment, such as a smoke detector, fire alarm, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, emergency exit signage, access control and much more.
We can equip modular buildings with a range of safety features for students including finger guards for doors, heaters with a low surface temperature, CCTV, controlled access, taps with blending valves and more.
We offer modular classrooms, lecture theatres for students, laboratories, sports halls, music rooms, toilets and WC facilities, changing rooms, teacher and staff welfare units and storage facilities.
Built-in sustainability  Once you’re finished with your temporary classroom, we’ll remove it for you, refurbish it and use it again. In fact, our modular classroom units can be reused, on average, up to 20 times or more during their lifecycle, which is an efficient use of materials – much better for the environment than building anew each time.
Our classrooms are also up to 96% recyclable, and benefit from a number of features, such as LED lighting and climate control systems, to help reduce energy consumption and maximise comfort all-year round.   Plus, our new range of Smart technology solutions can help your school to save up to 30% on its modular classroom energy consumption, by actively managing the building to reduce running costs.

Decant solution for Mayfield Primary School

Operating as a 315-place primary school with a 26-place nursery, the classrooms at Mayfield Primary School were in a poor state of repair, and inefficiently configured. The existing school buildings were located towards the centre of the site which limited the capacity for external play and team sports.
The strategic vision for the new school was to increase the pupil intake to 420, as a 2-form entry with 30 nursery places.  The project, which was managed by Algeco, involved relocating the reception classroom modular building, decanting pupils into temporary accommodation, and constructing a new, three-storey, 2,214m2 building, complete with drainage, new service connections and hard and soft landscaping.  Manufacturing the modular buildings offsite minimised disruption at the school, while our high-quality temporary classrooms enabled teaching to continue throughout the build process.  The way forward  Whether you’re making space for additional pupils, or need a decant solution while you carry out much-needed refurbishments, or build a new school, we have the right solution for you.
Our temporary classrooms create high-quality, comfortable and inspiring learning environments that enable students of all ages to thrive. With our flexible hire contract terms, you can even spread the cost and avoid the need for capital expenditure. One phone call is all that’s needed to hire a modular building that’s ready for your staff and students.




Ian Rogers, Gilberts’ Sales Director, offers some timely advice to help estate managers be star performers

For many building managers in the education sector, there is a feeling of having changed vocation without realising. Now, they are jugglers, struggling to keep all the balls (budgets, carbon reduction, rising energy bills, Regulatory compliance, pupil health & wellbeing- Covid, flu, Strep A- and air quality) in the air.

Revisiting one strategy could tip the balance in your favour- HVAC. It helps that the Government has announced a further £500m funding for energy efficiency upgrades, in addition to the £1.8b for improving the condition of school buildings and the £1.4b for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme(1).

Department of Education (BB 101) preference is for ventilation strategies that are sustainable. Natural ventilation has for years been the strategy of choice, and the recommendation of the DfE. It also ticks the sustainability box, being natural (as the name implies) and requiring little (if any) energy to function, making a significant contribution towards a school’s carbon footprint.

That has evolved in more recent times towards hybrid ventilation- indeed, this is now the option of choice for the Education Funding Agency. This leads with natural ventilation (which uses no energy and therefore low running costs) providing air changes only as and when required via a low energy fan.

The latest evolution is hybrid ventilation with heat recovery (MFS-HR). One unit provides up to 75% heat recovery whilst still delivering an airflow rate of up to 470l/s to meet requirements.



How it works

Installed through the external façade or window, hybrid ventilation rejects ‘used’ internal and removes the heat to be re-used when supplying pre-tempered fresh external air to ventilate the internal space, providing free cooling or heat recovery with no risk of cross contamination- and therefore completely Covid safe.

A mixing damper within modulates airflow to allow by-pass of air whilst collecting the energy whn required. The integrated low energy fan ensures an even distribution of airflow, controlling CO2 levels and maintaining good indoor air quality (IAQ). The smart Mistrale Control Unit gives individual, automatic room control, requiring no occupier input to maintain the comfort levels within. It does though have a simple override function to allow local adjustment by the teacher/ occupier for any required local control.


Cutting costs

More importantly in the current climate, more importantly for managers trying to balance budgets, MFS-HR does more than deliver Covid-compliant indoor air quality (IAQ). As a stand-alone system there is no ductwork in each zone/classroom, so hybrid ventilation with heat recovery is fast and cost-efficient to install- be it new build or as a refit/refurbishment/upgrade scheme. This also helps future-proof the system as the school estate grows, the system can correspondingly expand with ease.

Having the benefit of heat recovery means there is a reduced requirement for additional, stand-alone heating. When combined with a heat source pump system in place of conventional boilers, the market leading 75% heat recovery reduces the building energy requirements and subsequently the size and cost of any renewable installation.

With an optional water to air heat exchanger integrated into the MFS-HR, typically up to 4kW of heating or 2kW of cooling (depending on flow and return ai temperature) can be obtained, thereby eliminating the capital, material and installation and carbon costs (embodied and emissive) inherent with separate central heating, with all its associated pipework, radiators etc.

Each unit is installed at high level, optimising- and liberating- precious floor space. This also minimises the need for more expensive low surface temperature (LST) emitters.

With schools facing a 100%+ increase on energy bills(2), it is worth noting that MFS-HR can cost as little as £10/annum/zone to operate (depending on fuel tariff). Costs are even less when, as already suggested, installed with PV, wind turbines or other renewables.

In hot weather, the system provides free night cooling, providing internal air ready for the new school day. In winter a morning warm-up can be. Utilised if installed with an I nternal coil option, bringing the classroom temperature up to the preset before automatically switching off prior to occupancy.



MFS-HR can achieve up to 75% heat recovery- almost twice that of any other similar systems on the market.

It can be integrated with heat source pumps with low energy and high efficiency. The whole MFS range makes optimal use of recyclable materials making it low on embodied carbon. It attains air leakage better than legislative requirements – 3m3/HR/m2, and a U value of less than 1W/m2/°C, all combining to further enhance the green credentials with minimal leakage and thermal loss.

Computer modelling of hybrid systems has shown in a typical primary school, all the ventilation performance criteria are met, and an improvement in the Target Emission Rate (TER).

Hybrid ventilation with heat recovery can achieve BREEAM credits, under energy and health & wellbeing, whether in new build, or refurbishment.

With energy bills reportedly quadrupling in the past year, and the Government’s objective of reducing emissions in the public sector by 75% by 2037, MFS-HR must surely be the strategy for low energy, low carbon, healthy educational buildings?







The effectiveness of education provided to students is directly proportional to the quality of the learning environment where the teaching is delivered. Optimal acoustics, thermal performance, air quality, natural lighting, security and aesthetics work harmoniously together to positively impact how students and teachers stay comfortable and focused, and perform academically.

Kawneer continuously invests in façade systems that create excellent learning environments, allowing specifiers to choose from a wide variety of market leading products designed and built to the highest possible standards.

From a suite of products specifically designed for the Education sector, highlights include the AA®190 TB, a severe duty welded commercial entrance door that offers robust performance, the AA®720 SL window, offering great thermal characteristics and slim sightlines, and our market leading AA®100 curtain wall system, which provides a best-in-class performance.

Facing the challenges together

With a vast amount of experience in this sector, helping to create buildings that deliver aesthetic, cost and performance requirements, Kawneer understands the challenges faced by architects, fabricators and maintenance teams.That’s why it specialises in aluminium façade solutions that provide excellent performance, best value, unmatched durability, reduced maintenance and a low carbon footprint.

Kawneer manufactures its high performance aluminium systems at its purpose-built manufacturing facility in Runcorn, Cheshire. These products allow specifiers to meet both the technical performance and cost brief of any project, creating excellent learning environments that provide great aesthetics and optimise natural light and ventilation.

Leading by example

Kawneer is one of very few suppliers with the BES 6001 accreditation, a document proving our products are made with responsibly sourced raw materials. We also have ‘Life Cycle Assessments’ and ‘Environmental Product Declarations’ (EPDs) for our three main systems.

Teachers strive to ensure the experience and knowledge they pass on to a new generation lasts a lifetime. Kawneer wants the buildings it has helped to create to withstand the test of time and ensure they provide comfortable learning environments for all future generations.

Your next education project

We have built up a well-established and successful legacy in this sector, so whether you are looking for a thermally efficient Passivhaus solution, an outward opening cost-effective casement window or a robust entrance door that is tested to a severe duty category, we have the right product choice and combination for your next education project.