Architects come up with marquee to get children back in classroom at Poplar’s Manorfield School
- Credit: Curl la Tourelle Head
Architects have come up with “an outdoor solution” for a school in Poplar to cope with getting pupils back into the classroom.
They are constructing a temporary “pop up” canteen and classroom in the playground at Manorfield Primary with specially-designed marquees for children to keep social distance.
The work starts on Monday morning, June 15, and is hoped to be ready by lunchtime.
“We’ve been inspired by outdoor learning at schools in Denmark,” architect practice director Wayne Head said.
“We came up with the idea of transferring some teaching into temporary structures using large tents like marquees at festivals.”
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Wayne, who set up his Curl la Tourelle Head practice in Shoreditch 25 years ago, is still cautious about the success of any pop-up classroom idea.
“This is by no means our answer to what classrooms should look like in the future,” he admits. “This project is to rethink how schools can be designed and used beyond Covid-19.”
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The pop-up at Manorfield is his first in east London, a canteen with flexible meeting designed to keep the two-metre social distance rule between pupils.
It could be the template for other schools to reopen this month, although the education secretary Gavin Williamson has told MPs today that many not be able to have all their pupils back for a month before the summer holidays.
Manorfield has been kept open during the lockdown as a hub for Tower Hamlets Council, helping out “families in challenging circumstances”. It has been looking after 35 children from 11 schools, all vulnerable or those of key workers.
Headteacher Paul Jackson campaigned last year to “break the cycle of malnutrition and obesity” in Poplar to give deprived children a better start in life. He ran two half marathons to raise funds to complete new cooking facilities at the school in Wyvis Street.
“Completing this work is vital to break the cycle of malnutrition and obesity,” Mr Jackson said at the time. “This school is in one of the most deprived areas of the country and serves an underprivileged community.”
Now the pop-up classroom by the architects in Hoxton is a temporary solution to get Poplar’s children back into education when life gets back to normal.