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Prefab nation: 1,300 temporary classes in creaking system

Pupils suffer as new schools prioritised and repairs are sidelined

SCHOOL prefabs are mushrooming despite a promise to eliminate the need for any school to use them as a long-term accommodation solution.

There are now 1,300 prefabricated buildings at schools around the country - a rise of 300, or 30pc, in just two years - as pupils and teachers suffer delays in badly needed building works.

The ongoing demand for new schools to cater for population growth has pushed many promised refurbishments down the priority list.

While most prefabs were often intended for short-term use in start-up schools, many have now been around for years, with no immediate hope of their replacement.

Last week, the Department of Education announced 42 new start-up schools and published a major list of progress in 341 school building projects. But schools that have already endured significant delays will hold off on celebrating.

Despite increases, the budget is not keeping pace with demand at a time of unprecedented growth in pupil numbers, as well as the need to replace or upgrade existing school building stock.

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