Northampton International Academy with spaces for 2,200 pupils will open in time for new school year

Northampton International Academy is set to open in time for the next school year.
Northampton International Academy is set to open in time for the next school year.

The long-awaited Northampton International Academy building is nearing completion in time of the next school year.

Headed by the county council, the £46million conversion project is one of the largest of its kind in the country and has been renovated out of the derelict Royal Mail building in Barrack Road.

The project has redesigned the brutalist building to provide up to 2,200 school places with a 400-seat theatre, a rooftop sports halls and classrooms available for out-of-hours community use.

However, the project has been plagued with problems during its construction and is estimated to have run £11 million over budget, with the cash-strapped county council picking up the bill.

Funds were also supplied by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the school will be run by the EMLC Academy Trust.

Northamptonshire County Council leader Councillor Matthew Golby said: “This is an important regeneration project for this part of Northampton which will create much-needed school places right in the heart of the town, alleviating pressure on existing schools.

“It has been a complex but exciting project and I look forward to seeing the pupils moving into their new school building this September.”

For the past two years, the academy's first pupils have been schooled in on-site temporary accommodation, which cost some £3.6million this year.

Joshua Coleman, chief executive of the EMLC Academy Trust, said: “We believe that every child deserves to be the best they can be, and the new state-of-the-art Northampton International Academy will provide the very best learning campus to enable our students to reach their academic goals.

“Specialising in foreign and modern languages, the school will provide facilities for vocational learning in engineering, building, construction and catering as well as modern classrooms fit for 21st-century teaching.”

Northampton International Academy principal Tim Marston said: “The move into the permanent building is something we are really looking forward to, though what the last two years have shown us is that the pupils and the staff are what really makes NIA special.

“We have recruited an incredible team of staff for September and are oversubscribed for Year 7. The whole school community are ready for the next chapter in the story of NIA and eagerly anticipating the world-class facilities.”

In April, councillor Winston Strachan [Castle Ward, Labour] spoke at a council meeting to call the project a "dog's dinner".