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“I’d been trying to come up with a good solution for my school for 13 years. Now, at last, I’ve found PCS Modulsystem,” says Khalid El Mouselhi, headteacher of Elma School. We catch up with Khalid one February day in 2014, just as the units of his new school building are assembled. The 800sqm-plus building is soon ready, space that will allow the entire school to assemble in one site, in Rågsved. “The new school is far better than anything I’ve had in the past. Of course, part of that is because everything is nice and new. But it’s also thanks to the supplier. Professional service, clever solutions, and great quality – all on much more favourable terms than any other supplier. I’m delighted that I finally found Peo Ekberg at PCS Modulsystem,” says Khalid. “This is how it’s going to be.” Khalid looks at me, his eyes light up and he tries to explain the difference. “Everyone else I spoke to promised great prices at first, but always add things on later. Things start to get complicated, over-worked and in the end, expensive. Peo said just one thing after our call: this is how it’s going to be.” >> Watch how the school was built >> He laughs. “And that’s how it was. Peo stands by everything he says. No messing about, no fine print – just straight forward and professional, and on good terms for my school. I promise, I’ve compared with lots of other suppliers,” says Khalid. Love and dreams Of course Khalid’s school and life’s work is about much more than just money. Khalid came to Sweden in 1988. “For love”, as he says himself. He trained as a teacher in Egypt, and continued his teacher training in Sweden. Since then, Khalid has been a teacher while continuing to add to his qualifications. Whatever it took to bring his dream of a school to fruition. He has taken courses in business finance, headteacher training, and more of his main subjects, such as geography and environmental studies etc. Thirteen years ago, in 2001, he was able to start his own free school, albeit on a small scale. It’s obvious that this has not been an easy journey. “I started in Skarpnäck with rented premises from HSB-housing associations. But it was really hard. A lot of housing associations didn’t like me using their premises to teach. The ones that I still use now are however supportive. But as the school’s activities expanded, there was no space for us to grow in Skarpnäck,” explains Khalid. Rågsved had the answer Khalid found the solution in the Rågsved area of Stockholm. On land adjacent to Rågsved School, a 450sqm school building from 2009, with help of bought and second-hand prefab units. “At the time, I didn’t know about PCS. The building wasn’t ideal and the foundations could have been a lot better. Renting new units from PCS is both better and cheaper,” says Khalid. “It’s also been very difficult right from the word go here in Rågsved. It’s a tough area with a high immigrant population. But we’ve worked hard and it’s turned out well. Our school works excellently, the pupils learn a lot and go on to good, higher education courses and it’s very popular.” Six new classrooms Quite rightly, Khalid is proud of his achievements and is looking forward with satisfaction to the school being ready in about six weeks. With six new classrooms, a communal room, a workroom and a staff room. “All the pupils from Elma School can then move here. Everyone from pre-school year to final year pupils on one site,” says Khalid. The building that PCS Modulsystem provided for Elma School is a two-storey gable roof structure, built with 20 specially designed prefab units. Each unit is 12 x 3.6m to provide sufficient space for six classrooms of the desired size of 60sqm. “PCS provides what I need, no questions,” says Khalid. Providing pupils with an extra language We make our way up to Khalid’s office and reception area where we look out over the growing school. “We’re also going to make improvements in the playground. We’ll have a volleyball court there, basketball nets there… Khalid has big ideas and he gets a lot done. What makes a school attractive to parents and pupils? “The EU has made it possible for us as a Swedish school to provide pupils with teaching in two languages. We run an international free school, where all teaching is split evenly between Swedish and English, all the way from six to sixteen. This gives our pupils an added advantage in Sweden and elsewhere when they look for work and apply for higher education courses” says Khalid. At the same time, they are working hard to offer home language teaching in other languages. Elma School have pupils from 40 different countries here, and many of them are competent in six languages when they leave us. At the same time as the Elma international free school is thriving and growing, they still have the more traditional Rågsved School as their closest neighbour. “And that’s just fine with us. We don’t compete with each other, and now parents and pupils can choose between two good schools here in Rågsved. It’s good for everyone and lifts the whole area,” says Khalid. New projects already in the pipeline A few days after the interview, this article starts to take shape. We then meet Khalid again. “Now you can you write that PCS Modulsystem has also helped us with a pre-school building. They’re going to erect a pre-school, which we’ll rent on the favourable terms that PCS offers. So we’ll soon be moving the pre-school here as well. The pre-school is also run on a dual-language basis, which makes it easier for the children to make the move to the main school. But of course Elma School is open to all, including those who do not attend the pre-school.” Khalid is brimming with energy. Before the school even has its roof in place, the next project is up and running. Rest assured, this isn’t the last we’ll hear of Elma School and Khalid El Mouselhi.