‘It has to be ready’ Headteacher says new school building will open in September 2017

Artist's impression of the Northampton International Academy which is being built  in the former Royal Mail office on Barrack Road, Northampton. A science lab. NNL-150909-120914001
Artist's impression of the Northampton International Academy which is being built in the former Royal Mail office on Barrack Road, Northampton. A science lab. NNL-150909-120914001

The headteacher of a new school in Northampton town centre says a new building “has to be ready” for next September next year.

A report due to be discussed by Northamptonshire County Council cabinet members next week has revealed the conversion of the former Royal Mail sorting office in Barrack Road, which will house Northampton International Academy, has become a “significant challenge”.

Former Royal mail sorting office, 55 Barrack Road, Northampton. ENGNNL00120131007142350

Former Royal mail sorting office, 55 Barrack Road, Northampton. ENGNNL00120131007142350

The building work is being financed by a £34.7 million grant from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) but the county council says it needs to enter into a number of “urgent contracts” in order to make sure the building is completed by September 2017.

A group of 150 Year Seven pupils at the EMLC Trust-sponsored school are currently being taught in temporary classrooms at the back of the site, and 30 reception children are being taught at nearby Castle Academy.

The school, which will eventually provide more than 2,000 places, will double in size next September.

Talking to the Chronicle & Echo, Roger Whittall, principal, said, if the building wasn’t completely finished, the pupils would still be able to move in.

Artist's impression of the Northampton International Academy which is being built  in the former Royal Mail office on Barrack Road, Northampton NNL-150909-120938001

Artist's impression of the Northampton International Academy which is being built in the former Royal Mail office on Barrack Road, Northampton NNL-150909-120938001

He said: “It has to be ready for next September. We have no room to expand on the temporary site.

“A plan B could be that part of the building is open to us when we move in September.

“We would like it to be fully complete and we have to ensure the specialist areas such as the sports hall, cafeteria and theatre are complete.”

Mr Whittall said the temporary site had provided a “unique” experience for pupils and staff.

He said: “I have found the pupils and parents to be very aspirational.

“We have managed to have a set of standards and routines and everything we do is about creating a team ethos.”

A open day for parents of prospective pupils in September 2017 is being held at the school on Monday (October 10) at 6pm

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