The opening of Northampton International Academy’s new building, the UK’s largest ever school conversion project, has been delayed until September 2018.
Work to transform the former Royal Mail sorting office in Barrack Road into an all-through school for pupils aged 4 to 18 is well underway, but delays in the project mean pupils will now move into the building a year later than planned.
Plans are in place to provide a high-quality modular building on the site suitable for a full academic year for this September’s new intake, alongside the modular classrooms already being used by the current reception and Year 7 classes.
The handover of the completed building is now due to take place in September 2018.
The school is being delivered by Northamptonshire County Council in partnership with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the educational offer will be delivered by EMLC Academy Trust.
County council cabinet member for children and families Cllr Matthew Golby said: “We are committed to ensuring pupils at Northampton International Academy have the very best standard of education in a modern, state-of-the-art building.
“The reason for the delay is due to technical difficulties which are not unexpected with a project of this size. Northampton International Academy is the UK’s largest ever school conversion project and will create additional school places for 4 to 18-year-olds right in the heart of Northampton to meet the needs of the town’s growing population.
“We are now working closely with the academy sponsor the EMLC Academy Trust and the EFA to provide a high quality modular building suitable for a full years’ education to ensure that the new intake this September are taught in well-equipped, fit-for-purpose accommodation.
“In the meantime, we are working with the contractor to expedite the works where possible for a timely handover.”
Jan Marshall, CEO of EMLC Academy Trust, said: “The Department of Education has visited the school in the temporary buildings and has made very positive comments about the quality of education that is taking place. This is, and will remain, our priority.
“Our first year as Northampton International Academy has got off to a fantastic start and we will continue to focus on the education of the pupils and do our utmost to ensure that the second year continues that success.”