SCOTTISH business, Armadilla, a manufacturer of eco-friendly, outdoor living and working spaces, has supplied the largest single order for its Education Pods to a school as it grows this part of its business.
The family-owned firm – a 2020 winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its innovation – started out building and supplying luxury pods to hotels and hospitality groups more than 10 years ago and has gradually diversified into working with schools.
It has just transported six of its specially-built and designed sustainable Education Pods (EdPods) – painted in rainbow colours – from its base in Bonnyrigg on the outskirts of Edinburgh to Freemantles School in Woking in Surrey – a distance of over 400 miles. The order worth from the Surrey County Council school for children and young people with complex social communication needs is Armadilla’s largest to date from an education provider.
Armadilla was founded in 2010 by managing director Archie Hunter, who has a background in farming and hospitality, and his son Ross Hunter, chief executive, a design engineer. It now supplies clients from diverse sectors across the UK and overseas and employs 35 people.
Sustainability is an increasingly important consideration for all Armadilla clients, including schools. Its pods have natural timber cladding with a 50 year warranty and materials are sourced with the circular economy in mind. Its EdPods are constructed using the principles of Passivhaus buildings. By creating a fully-enveloped, well-insulated structure, energy consumption is dramatically reduced. Smart technology including Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is also used to maintain temperature, humidity and CO2 at optimum levels.
Archie Hunter said: “We’ve been supplying our studio pods to schools across the UK for a number of years and receive great feedback. With more than 30,000 schools in the UK, this is a significant and growing market for us. It’s remarkable how useful schools find our EdPods, for example as chill down rooms for children on the Autism spectrum, as a sensory space, as a structured play area, or as a reading room. We’re continuing to develop this market and see considerable expansion in fulfilling a rapidly increasing volume of orders.”
“It has been great to be able to supply our largest order so far from the education sector to Freemantles School in Surrey, which looks after the needs of a lot of young, neuro-diverse people. The school was particularly attracted to the flexibility of our pods. They were designed to meet their specific requirements, including the request to have them painted in a range of rainbow colours.”
Mr Hunter added that schools have an increasing statutory requirement to provide education to children of all abilities, particularly those who fall under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001. Armadilla’s EdPod has been designed specifically to assist schools in fulfilling these obligations, but he said they are proving useful for schools in myriad ways.
He explained that an attractive aspect of the Armadilla EdPod is that it arrives ready for ‘plug and play’ and because it is modular it can easily be relocated within the school campus or moved to another site.
Freemantles School, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, supports children from the ages of four to 19 years across the county of Surrey. Head teacher, Justin Price, said: “One of the things we love about the pods from Armadilla is their flexibility. We’ll initially be using them as a temporary measure to support us in accommodating an extra class ahead of a new building being constructed. For this period we’ll be losing our sensory circuit space for a classroom. We can use the pods to replicate the sensory experiences that we offer.”
“In the longer term, we’re considering the pods for a range of options, including library, music space and one has been earmarked as an office for the executive headteacher.”
Armadillla has also supplied schools in a number of areas across the UK including Northumberland, London and the Home Counties.
On the hotel and hospitality side, its clients including Jason Vale’s spa retreats in the Algarve, Glamping GMBH in Germany and Riverbeds in Ballachulish.
For more information on how EdPods can benefits schools please visithttps://armadilla.co.uk/education-series