Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA2) – The Fastest School Ever Built

Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA2) – The Fastest School Ever Built


We had to develop a plan very quickly and then despite changes to specification of the project, stick to that plan as much as we possibly could. It was remarkable how closely we stuck to the original plan. Making sure we maximised the amount of fit out that happened offsite, away from the customer site, was really key. And the amount of work that had to be compressed into a short time scale meant that had we not done that, there was a danger we would have had an unmanageable site with too many people on it. The sheer speed of the project is remarkable. The short space of time that we’ve had to get all this completed, at this quality; I don’t think there’s anything out there that can match us. Portakabin is very responsive. We have the people in Portakabin that are willing to drop everything. I’m from Cambridge so I’m not actually based in London. But I’m here! We’ve got people from Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds – everyone has been so willing to pitch in and help. That it’s almost like an instinct to go and help rather than it being an effort. That helps us be as responsive as we are to emergencies like this. For me personally, it was when I realised that other people thought it was special. The fact that the school were impressed with the progress we were making and the fact that the ESFA and members of Government were aware of the project and were saying good things about us. At that stage, I realised we were doing something quite unique and special. I visited site one day and the first two people I met were normally based in our Leeds Hire Centre. When I got onto site I met a man from Peterborough. As I walked around, I met dozens of people from all parts of the United Kingdom; from our Scottish business, from all places east and west from the hire business and I suddenly realised that this was quite a unique job. It made me feel really good that we’d risen to the challenge and everybody had pitched in to help out. It was a complete secondary school. There were 33 teaching rooms, an IT suite, two libraries, music and art room, a dining hall, science laboratories, textiles, food technology, everything you’d find in a normal secondary school. Plus they had a particular focus on Special Needs. There was a specialised Autism block that we needed to provide. And the key for us was that all of that could be brought together quickly without any compromise to quality. In a short space of time, we’d been able to give them everything they needed and to a really high standard. For those children, their education was not damaged by this change. On a professional front, getting recognition from the Secretary of State was important and perhaps realising that there were very few businesses in the United Kingdom that could deliver that size of project in that time was very rewarding.

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