New school UCL Academy set to move into Swiss Cottage building after long delay

A new Swiss Cottage school forced to go a term without a permanent home will have to wait until the new year to move into its new building.

The UCL Academy was due to open in Adelaide Road for the start of the academic year this September.

But after a series of delays from construction company BAM the school has been forced into temporary accommodation for the past four months and is now set to move into the new building on January 14.

Principal Geraldine Davies said: “I feel more confident that the deadline we have been given is a deadline that will be met. We are pretty confident that we will be teaching in the new building in January.”

The new deadline follows a period of increased scrutiny on the BAM development from Camden Council after the contractor failed to meet the last deadline for completion on October 26.

BAM were forced to delay the building’s original opening date when a sub-contractor, electrical company Airedale Electrical, went into administration in July.

Cllr Angela Mason, Camden Council’s cabinet member for children, said she was “deeply disappointed” by the delays.

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She added: “BAM is responsible for delivering the project and the council is doing everything in its power to push for the completion of the project in time for students to start the new term in their fantastic new premises on January 14.”

Since September, the school’s pupils have been split between temporary sites, funded by BAM, in Brondesbury Park and at Birkbeck, University of London in Bloomsbury.

The school, sponsored by University College London (UCL), has 180 year seven pupils, based at Brondesbury Park, and 120 year 12 pupils who spend three days-a-week on the Birkbeck site.

Pupils began their Christmas holiday on Tuesday and Ms Davies believes that they will not be returning to their temporary classrooms in January.

“All the boxes have gone, there’s nothing on anybody’s shelves and we are just ready to be in that new building,” she said.

“The staff have done a great job and the pupils are wonderfully behaved.”

A BAM spokesman said: “We couldn’t be more distressed about [the delay] ourselves but the guys on-site have worked ferociously hard to hand the building over.

“The school will get state-of-the-art facilities that will change people’s lives.”