Swiss Cottage special needs school hit by second round of delays after construction company fails to deliver on time

Children with special needs will be delayed from moving into their new school building for a second time after a construction company once again failed to meet delivery dates for completing the project.

Pupils at Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN School have been told they cannot move into the premises in Adelaide Road, Swiss Cottage, until October 8, almost a month after their original moving in date of September 11.

Building contractors BAM had originally delayed the start of term until October 1 but just days before told Camden Council the school would not be ready.

Cllr Angela Mason, cabinet member for children, said: “The delay to Swiss Cottage special school is completely unacceptable for this very vulnerable group of children and also a wholly unnecessary situation. I am deeply disappointed that Swiss Cottage special school has been delayed.

“Our primary concern is the children and making sure they get the best possible educational provision to meet their needs.”

Headteacher Kay Bedford said: “We are devastated at the further delays. We are working very hard in a very challenging situation.

“Staff and children have risen to the challenge magnificently over the last two weeks. It is soul destroying, and we are concerned about the effect these delays are having on our families.”

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Pupils are temporarily based in six sites in Kentish Town, Camden Town, Bloomsbury and Islington.

The council has offered to subsidise a week’s holiday for children to give respite to parents.

It has paid �250,000 to cover the costs of temporary accommodation and holidays, and intends to recover the costs of temporary accommodation from BAM under its contract.

A BAM spokesman said: “We are very close to handing over Swiss Cottage special needs school. We have been working flat out to overcome the unexpected difficulties we encountered

“We would like to say sorry to parents and children about these delays which we realise have been very difficult for them. We are paying the costs of alternative accommodation for the pupils and teachers and helping Camden to minimise the disruption.”

Cllr Mason added: “Whilst officers questioned continually whether BAM’s programme was achievable, BAM would not confirm that dates would be missed in time to make suitable alternative arrangements.”