Academy reaches major construction milestone
Chairman of the Academy’s Lead Sponsor the Aldridge Foundation, Sir Rod Aldridge, the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Charles Williams, and Leader of the Council, Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown were amongst guests at the official “Topping out” ceremony to mark this milestone in the progress of the building.
The £27 million Academy will provide much needed school places for children in the area, as currently more than 30 per cent of students have to travel outside the Royal Borough for their secondary education. It will open with the first group of 11 year olds (Year 7s) only in September and, once fully open, will have 900 places for 11-16 year olds and up to 240 places for sixth form students.
First admissions to the Sixth form will be in 2016 and the Academy will also include a borough-wide resource centre for up to 20 children on the autistic spectrum.
There will also be entrepreneurial ‘pods’ to help students and members of the community develop business ideas, a concept reflecting the ethos the Aldridge Foundation. The charity’s academies combine a strong academic focus with the development of students’ entrepreneurial skills, and provide support and training to help develop business and social enterprises in local communities.
Cliff Thomas, Regional Director of Bouygues UK’s Construction Central North team, said: “The Academy will not only provide an excellent learning environment but will also have state-of-the-art facilities that will be available for community use outside of school hours. These will include a sports hall, a 350-seat theatre and a dance studio, plus industry-standard radio and television studios.”
Sir Rod Aldridge said: “This is a major landmark in the development of our exciting new Academy, which will deliver high standards of education for local children and bring real benefits for the local community. Our open evenings last September attracted a fantastic amount of interest and I was struck by the real sense of excitement amongst the hundreds of parents and children who came along.”
“I have no doubt that Kensington Aldridge Academy will be an exceptional school offering exceptional opportunities for our students.”
Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown, Leader of RBKC, said: “Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the North Kensington community as we can really see the Kensington Aldridge Academy begin to take shape. By gifting the academy the site and contributing £10.4m towards the building, we are committed to ensuring that all of our children are able to access high quality secondary provision locally.”
Principal David Benson said: “Our aim is to create a school which has the very highest standards – in terms of facilities, academic teaching and life beyond the classroom. We will develop our students into confident, articulate young people whose education fully equips them for university or the career of their choice. I am really looking forward to welcoming our first students in September.”