CONSTRUCTION work on a new £21 million secondary school in North Swindon is continuing apace, with local dignitaries today gathering to mark the ‘topping out’ stage of development.

In building parlance, a topping out ceremony is traditionally held when the last beam is placed atop a structure during construction.

In this case, the Great Western Academy’s last beam was in fact a nut screwed into place by North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.

Mr Tomlinson said: “To have this £21 million facility built here in the heart of the community is something Swindon can be very proud of, and something we can showcase to our neighbours.”

Sponsored by New College Swindon, the three-storey building will provide study and teaching facilities for the delivery of a full secondary and post-16 curriculum with a major focus on computing, business, enterprise and technology.

The building work is due to be completed in July 2018, ready for the Academy to open in September 2018 for its first intake of Year 7 and 12 students.

Neil Dorrington, construction director at BAM, who last year built 20 schools all over the country, said: “Every school we build is different. For us, it’s about meeting the people involved with it and how we can tailor it to suite their requirements.”

Neil said that the one thing he always look forward to the most is seeing the smiles on the faces of the teachers when construction is complete.

Applications for a place in Year 7 can be made through the Local Authority’s Admissions process by October 31 and for Sixth Form by applying directly to the Academy by December 22.

Graham Davis, the first principal of the Academy, said: “We are excited to see the progress that is being made and have been encouraged by the positive engagement with the families of prospective students.

“We look forward to welcoming our new students next September.”