One in 15 pupils taught in temporary classrooms

LESSONS: Larkrise Primary School teachers, Steph Capon, left, and Fiona Clark with pupils, from left, Josh Mattinson, Maryam Hamid and Kai Mattinson, all, 10

LESSONS: Larkrise Primary School teachers, Steph Capon, left, and Fiona Clark with pupils, from left, Josh Mattinson, Maryam Hamid and Kai Mattinson, all, 10 Buy this photo

First published in News
Last updated
Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

ONE in every 15 children in the county has been taught in a temporary classroom in the last year.

And teachers are warning the use of them could be affecting children’s learning as they can be “damp, leaky and cramped” and pupils feel “cut off” from their classmates.

Figures released by Oxfordshire County Council show 5,475 county youngsters are having lessons in temporary buildings – 205 in Oxford – an increase from last year when there were 5,129 across the county.

The highest recorded was 5,815 pupils in temporary classrooms in 2010.

There are 84,741 children at state-maintained primary, secondary and special schools across Oxfordshire, which means 6.4 per cent are taught in non-permanent classrooms – or every one in 15 children.

The county is trying to cope with a huge rise in demand for primary school places, with a 14 per cent increase expected over the next four years.

At Larkrise Primary School, two classes are taught in temporary rooms, as pictured, but building work on extending classrooms is due to start after the school breaks up for summer tomorrow.

Steph Capon has been teaching a Year 5 class at Larkrise in a temporary room for the last academic year. She said: “It prohibits children learning effectively. It’s damp, doesn’t smell particularly nice, frequently leaks, and cramped.

“The temperature is very hard to regulate and it is often too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

“I was really sick and had lots of chest problems this winter and the children in my class had lots of illnesses. I am sure it is because of the conditions in the room – it is like an incubator for bugs and it cannot be properly aired.”

Her colleague Fiona Clark has been based in the temporary classrooms for four years.

Mrs Clark said: “Both staff and children feel very cut off from the rest of the school in these buildings. We are not part of the school community.

“We have temporarily moved out of them into the main school again and the children just suddenly feel so much more a part of the school.”

Temporary rooms are usually brought in as part of school expansion projects, or to address a need for extra school places.

The county council said the number of pupils having to use these rooms will be reduced in the long-term as building work is completed.

But with a number of housing developments planned across the county there will be a forecasted 95,748 pupils across primary and secondary come 2018 – an extra 11,000 children.

New schools are planned as part of the developments and some schools are being expanded, such as Windmill Primary School which is going to increase its intake from 60 to 90 pupils a year.

County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The current figure is largely a reflection of our ongoing efforts to increase capacity at schools to ensure sufficient places in future.”

Didcot schools have the highest number of pupils being taught in temporary classrooms, with 765 children at both primary and secondary level.

Didcot Girls’ School teaches 315 pupils in temporary rooms.

Headteacher Rachael Warwick said: “We do have some temporary classrooms on site, but we only use one or two of them for classrooms.

“The majority of the temporary buildings are used as additional office spaces, storage spaces or additional work spaces for our art students.

“It is expensive to have temporary classrooms removed from the site and it is useful to use the additional space for the purposes already mentioned, but, happily, we do not need to use them as classrooms.”

In Thame, all but one school in the town is having to teach pupils in temporary rooms, with a total of 520 pupils in those classrooms.

King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage has more than 260 children taught in those rooms.

County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “It was expected.

“We have had to expand a lot of schools because we have had massive migration into the county. We did think we would have to put children into temporary accommodation until the schools can be expanded.

“I don’t think children care. As long as they are well looked-after, well-fed and well-taught, I don’t think they really care where they are.

“We put adult heads on children’s shoulders. When I was a child I was taught in a church hall and it never occurred to me it was a church hall until years’ later.

“As long as it is warm in the winter and cool in the summer I don’t have a problem with it. And it is temporary.”

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Comments (18)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:17am Mon 21 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said:
“I don’t think children care. As long as they are well looked-after, well-fed and well-taught, I don’t think they really care where they are.
Typica Tory toff, don't give a toss about working class kids, as long as her and her cronie kids go to posh schools with all the facilities why should she care what other kids have to be taught in. Tory Boy Dave must be loving it.
County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “I don’t think children care. As long as they are well looked-after, well-fed and well-taught, I don’t think they really care where they are. Typica Tory toff, don't give a toss about working class kids, as long as her and her cronie kids go to posh schools with all the facilities why should she care what other kids have to be taught in. Tory Boy Dave must be loving it. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -3

10:52am Mon 21 Jul 14

snert says...

Let's be honest, the kids won't care. I was taught in them and unless it was pointed out to you then you didn't know any difference. I didn't care. I didn't feel cut off. To say that kids only care that they are well looked after, well fed and well taught is a bit stupid. I remember being a kid and going to school was "just something you had to do". All I looked forward to was play time. A temporary hut or a a classroom, I didn't care about. They were a bit chilly in the winter but you put a jumper on and got on with it.

I went to college and one of the blocks was called T-Block which we found out stood for "temporary block". It was an area in the grounds filled with temporary huts. When I joined the college they had been there 20 years. They were there another 10 after I left.
Let's be honest, the kids won't care. I was taught in them and unless it was pointed out to you then you didn't know any difference. I didn't care. I didn't feel cut off. To say that kids only care that they are well looked after, well fed and well taught is a bit stupid. I remember being a kid and going to school was "just something you had to do". All I looked forward to was play time. A temporary hut or a a classroom, I didn't care about. They were a bit chilly in the winter but you put a jumper on and got on with it. I went to college and one of the blocks was called T-Block which we found out stood for "temporary block". It was an area in the grounds filled with temporary huts. When I joined the college they had been there 20 years. They were there another 10 after I left. snert
  • Score: 7

12:13pm Mon 21 Jul 14

WitneyGreen says...

snert wrote:
Let's be honest, the kids won't care. I was taught in them and unless it was pointed out to you then you didn't know any difference. I didn't care. I didn't feel cut off. To say that kids only care that they are well looked after, well fed and well taught is a bit stupid. I remember being a kid and going to school was "just something you had to do". All I looked forward to was play time. A temporary hut or a a classroom, I didn't care about. They were a bit chilly in the winter but you put a jumper on and got on with it.

I went to college and one of the blocks was called T-Block which we found out stood for "temporary block". It was an area in the grounds filled with temporary huts. When I joined the college they had been there 20 years. They were there another 10 after I left.
Absolutely right. Let's stop calling these semi-permanent structures 'temporary classrooms' and just call them 'classrooms'. At our school, it was a joy to have lessons in the warm, well-lit, well-equipped 'portacabins' as they were (obviously) newer and better than the old, damp, cold 'permanent' building!
[quote][p][bold]snert[/bold] wrote: Let's be honest, the kids won't care. I was taught in them and unless it was pointed out to you then you didn't know any difference. I didn't care. I didn't feel cut off. To say that kids only care that they are well looked after, well fed and well taught is a bit stupid. I remember being a kid and going to school was "just something you had to do". All I looked forward to was play time. A temporary hut or a a classroom, I didn't care about. They were a bit chilly in the winter but you put a jumper on and got on with it. I went to college and one of the blocks was called T-Block which we found out stood for "temporary block". It was an area in the grounds filled with temporary huts. When I joined the college they had been there 20 years. They were there another 10 after I left.[/p][/quote]Absolutely right. Let's stop calling these semi-permanent structures 'temporary classrooms' and just call them 'classrooms'. At our school, it was a joy to have lessons in the warm, well-lit, well-equipped 'portacabins' as they were (obviously) newer and better than the old, damp, cold 'permanent' building! WitneyGreen
  • Score: 9

12:18pm Mon 21 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

You all miss the point.... Not all these temporary classrooms has heating or cooling, many are not big enough for all the children and equipment., and some leak during bad weather. We are supposed be be a wealthy nation and yet do not have adaquate buildings to teach the kids in.
You all miss the point.... Not all these temporary classrooms has heating or cooling, many are not big enough for all the children and equipment., and some leak during bad weather. We are supposed be be a wealthy nation and yet do not have adaquate buildings to teach the kids in. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -4

12:35pm Mon 21 Jul 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

always the cheap option... its amazing how "permanent" these "temporary" huts become after a while.
always the cheap option... its amazing how "permanent" these "temporary" huts become after a while. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 3

1:59pm Mon 21 Jul 14

mytaxes says...

Teachers should get on with job of teaching children (sorry students) so that they leave school with at least a basic knowledge of reading, writing and numeracy. I am sure the constant strikes are doing more harm than temporary classrooms.
Teachers should get on with job of teaching children (sorry students) so that they leave school with at least a basic knowledge of reading, writing and numeracy. I am sure the constant strikes are doing more harm than temporary classrooms. mytaxes
  • Score: 1

2:06pm Mon 21 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

mytaxes wrote:
Teachers should get on with job of teaching children (sorry students) so that they leave school with at least a basic knowledge of reading, writing and numeracy. I am sure the constant strikes are doing more harm than temporary classrooms.
And what proof have you got, or are you just another lapdog for the Tory Toffs?
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Teachers should get on with job of teaching children (sorry students) so that they leave school with at least a basic knowledge of reading, writing and numeracy. I am sure the constant strikes are doing more harm than temporary classrooms.[/p][/quote]And what proof have you got, or are you just another lapdog for the Tory Toffs? HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -6

2:36pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said:
“I don’t think children care. As long as they are well looked-after, well-fed and well-taught, I don’t think they really care where they are.
Typica Tory toff, don't give a toss about working class kids, as long as her and her cronie kids go to posh schools with all the facilities why should she care what other kids have to be taught in. Tory Boy Dave must be loving it.
Ok I know that Labour voters like you never take any information on board: if you did you might start voting for a worthwhile party. Perish the thought. But, although I'm wasting my breath, here goes. In 1997 the public sector ate 38% of GDP. Brown had made that figure approach 48% 13 years later. And still....look at the state of us. As Liam Byrne said, it's all gone. Your lot blew it and we got jack spit in return.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “I don’t think children care. As long as they are well looked-after, well-fed and well-taught, I don’t think they really care where they are. Typica Tory toff, don't give a toss about working class kids, as long as her and her cronie kids go to posh schools with all the facilities why should she care what other kids have to be taught in. Tory Boy Dave must be loving it.[/p][/quote]Ok I know that Labour voters like you never take any information on board: if you did you might start voting for a worthwhile party. Perish the thought. But, although I'm wasting my breath, here goes. In 1997 the public sector ate 38% of GDP. Brown had made that figure approach 48% 13 years later. And still....look at the state of us. As Liam Byrne said, it's all gone. Your lot blew it and we got jack spit in return. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

4:52pm Mon 21 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh
But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -3

6:18pm Mon 21 Jul 14

mytaxes says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh
Perhaps you could ask your Labour friends in the city why Labour allowed council tax to increase by so much when they were in power? Why are they increasing it year on year when they are cutting basic services?
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh[/p][/quote]Perhaps you could ask your Labour friends in the city why Labour allowed council tax to increase by so much when they were in power? Why are they increasing it year on year when they are cutting basic services? mytaxes
  • Score: 5

7:51pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh
The tax "take" at 45% + NI Tax is GREATER than the stupid class war Brown 50%. But then the 50% was just another piece of pathetic electioneering. Labour really is garbage, but no doubt the Good Soldiers will get them back in next year to finish the destruction of 1997-2010.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh[/p][/quote]The tax "take" at 45% + NI Tax is GREATER than the stupid class war Brown 50%. But then the 50% was just another piece of pathetic electioneering. Labour really is garbage, but no doubt the Good Soldiers will get them back in next year to finish the destruction of 1997-2010. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 0

8:39pm Mon 21 Jul 14

mytaxes says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh
Do you forget that Gordon Brown abolished the 10p tax rate which hit some of the poorest workers?
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: But the Tory toffs can find money to give tax cuts to their millionaire friends! Doh[/p][/quote]Do you forget that Gordon Brown abolished the 10p tax rate which hit some of the poorest workers? mytaxes
  • Score: 2

10:15pm Mon 21 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

I keep forgetting the Tory toffs stick up for the working class, how silly of me. They should be thankful for the bedroom tax, even though they may want yo move to a smaller property they can't because there ain't any, but still get punished. They should be thankful that when you lose your job, you can not claim unemployment benefit for a month. Council tax going up, because the Tory toffs have cut back the money councils recieve ! Doh
I keep forgetting the Tory toffs stick up for the working class, how silly of me. They should be thankful for the bedroom tax, even though they may want yo move to a smaller property they can't because there ain't any, but still get punished. They should be thankful that when you lose your job, you can not claim unemployment benefit for a month. Council tax going up, because the Tory toffs have cut back the money councils recieve ! Doh HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: 0

10:36pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

I was taught in "huts" in Primary 4, 5, 6 & 7.

In High School it was "huts" for some Maths, English, Biology, Art and Religion classes.

They were all properly heated, had better light and ventilation than the main blocks (windows on both sides of the room). I don't recall any leaky buildings.

For as long as there are peaks and troughs in the number of children attending schools, there will be a need for temporary classrooms.
I was taught in "huts" in Primary 4, 5, 6 & 7. In High School it was "huts" for some Maths, English, Biology, Art and Religion classes. They were all properly heated, had better light and ventilation than the main blocks (windows on both sides of the room). I don't recall any leaky buildings. For as long as there are peaks and troughs in the number of children attending schools, there will be a need for temporary classrooms. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 2

1:20am Tue 22 Jul 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
I keep forgetting the Tory toffs stick up for the working class, how silly of me. They should be thankful for the bedroom tax, even though they may want yo move to a smaller property they can't because there ain't any, but still get punished. They should be thankful that when you lose your job, you can not claim unemployment benefit for a month. Council tax going up, because the Tory toffs have cut back the money councils recieve ! Doh
Class war rools eh? No wonder we keep going round in circles, but of course you lot know where there's magic money buried and Miliband will dig it up. Spare us please
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: I keep forgetting the Tory toffs stick up for the working class, how silly of me. They should be thankful for the bedroom tax, even though they may want yo move to a smaller property they can't because there ain't any, but still get punished. They should be thankful that when you lose your job, you can not claim unemployment benefit for a month. Council tax going up, because the Tory toffs have cut back the money councils recieve ! Doh[/p][/quote]Class war rools eh? No wonder we keep going round in circles, but of course you lot know where there's magic money buried and Miliband will dig it up. Spare us please Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 3

11:51am Wed 23 Jul 14

bart-on simpson says...

And I thought temporary classrooms was to due to the number of children of school age swelled by new housing developments and the offspring of EU migrants.
And I thought temporary classrooms was to due to the number of children of school age swelled by new housing developments and the offspring of EU migrants. bart-on simpson
  • Score: -1

4:33pm Fri 25 Jul 14

The New Private Eye says...

bart-on simpson wrote:
And I thought temporary classrooms was to due to the number of children of school age swelled by new housing developments and the offspring of EU migrants.
Correct Barton, nearly a million extra non-English kids in our schools. We cannot cope.
[quote][p][bold]bart-on simpson[/bold] wrote: And I thought temporary classrooms was to due to the number of children of school age swelled by new housing developments and the offspring of EU migrants.[/p][/quote]Correct Barton, nearly a million extra non-English kids in our schools. We cannot cope. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 0

9:23am Sat 26 Jul 14

the wizard says...

I think you guys need to stop the political bleating as the teachers here are the real focus. Most of us have been schooled in whatever era since WW2 and have at some point ended up in huts/prefabs/tempora
ry classrooms.

Surely the fault if there is any lays firming at the feet of the planners who have a talent for not looking at future demands. My grades were fine, and those of my children who all have professional roles had lessons in prefabs/huts/tempora
ry buildings. The fact remains that if a child of scholastic age wants to progress, they get on with it. Perhaps these two teachers should not be blaming the classroom for the problems but should look inwardly at their own performance in dealing with the problems and in the immortal words, try harder, next year in raising their standards and their ability in dealing with the problems. We all have work place related likes/dislikes, the answer is to raise yourself and get over it, perhaps these teachers should do the same. Bleating to the press about their problems does little or nothing in their favour, but putting pressure on the school governors via parent signed petitions may do more, and its all about bringing pressure on those who actually can make the difference. There is a legal minimum temperature to the maintenance of that is surely the responsibility of the Head teacher and care taker staff. The ultimate responsibility lays with the governors who should maintain the school as fit for purpose.

As for Blair/Brown/Cameron, there is little to distinguish between the three, all of them useless, warmongering idiots who were/are/never will be, in touch with what the country really needs, a REAL leader, who knows and understands what the general public really want., which is value for money and the real deal from government, something we've not had for a very long time.
I think you guys need to stop the political bleating as the teachers here are the real focus. Most of us have been schooled in whatever era since WW2 and have at some point ended up in huts/prefabs/tempora ry classrooms. Surely the fault if there is any lays firming at the feet of the planners who have a talent for not looking at future demands. My grades were fine, and those of my children who all have professional roles had lessons in prefabs/huts/tempora ry buildings. The fact remains that if a child of scholastic age wants to progress, they get on with it. Perhaps these two teachers should not be blaming the classroom for the problems but should look inwardly at their own performance in dealing with the problems and in the immortal words, try harder, next year in raising their standards and their ability in dealing with the problems. We all have work place related likes/dislikes, the answer is to raise yourself and get over it, perhaps these teachers should do the same. Bleating to the press about their problems does little or nothing in their favour, but putting pressure on the school governors via parent signed petitions may do more, and its all about bringing pressure on those who actually can make the difference. There is a legal minimum temperature to the maintenance of that is surely the responsibility of the Head teacher and care taker staff. The ultimate responsibility lays with the governors who should maintain the school as fit for purpose. As for Blair/Brown/Cameron, there is little to distinguish between the three, all of them useless, warmongering idiots who were/are/never will be, in touch with what the country really needs, a REAL leader, who knows and understands what the general public really want., which is value for money and the real deal from government, something we've not had for a very long time. the wizard
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree