We launched the Pop-up Schools initiative in May 2020 to address the challenges schools would face in maintaining social distancing and Covid-safe learning environments. Our proposal was for a series of pop-up, tent-like structures, each of which is arranged to follow the two-metre social distancing rule between pupils, with the adaptability to host different classroom setups. We proposed reusing resources such as marquees and portable bathroom facilities from outdoor festivals that would otherwise be dormant during the current pandemic.
Since then, we have delivered Pop-ups at schools across the country. The temporary provision liberates existing internal school space, taking the pupil load off circulation areas, and also enhances air-flow, contributing to individuals’ wellbeing.
Simple and adaptable, the concept can be applied to different outdoor settings; from football pitches to pedestrianised areas and neighbouring parks. We also suggest opening up and using public spaces in unconventional ways that might not be thought of previously; for example, maximising the use of closed residential streets and encouraging safe community integration as lockdown eases.
Feedback has been hugely positive from schools and the press. We are continuing to develop the initiative with a semi-permanent naturally lit modular pop-up suited to rapid deployment.
“We are using the Pop-ups for additional and breaktime dining space to keep our bubbles intact. This has enabled us to keep within the Department for Education guidelines and keep staff and students separate, and consequently better protected from the virus. These additional spaces have also meant that we could keep to our timetable – operating breaks and lunchtimes at the same time as previously, rather than a loss of timetabled learning time.
“We are very happy with them and I know both Heads wish we could keep them for ever!”
Lucia Glynn, Head of Operations, BMAT Academy Trust