Demolition work has started at the site of the old Cardinal Pole Upper School, as the area is cleared to make way for the brand new Ickburgh special educational needs school.

Diggers moved onto the site earlier this month and demolition is expected to be complete by June 2013, when work to build the new school will begin. Pupils will move from the school’s existing building, in Ickburgh Road, Clapton, in September 2014.

The project is part of the council’s pledge to rebuild or renew every secondary and special educational needs school in the borough under its Building Schools for the Future project. The scheme is now in its final phase.

Cllr Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, joined McLaren at the site to see the demolition begin. She said: “We’re now in the final stage of our Building Schools for the Future plan, which will see all of Hackney’s secondary and special educational needs schools rebuilt or renovated. The project has made a huge difference to young people in Hackney; with good quality, fit for purpose schools, pupils feel inspired and motivated.”
“I’m delighted that work is now underway and look forward to seeing the new Ickburgh School take shape.” The new school will boast a hydrotherapy pool, sensory and therapy rooms, a library, drama and music spaces, medical facilities and a landscaped garden.

Representatives from Hackney Council, the Local Education Partnership were on hand to watch machinery tear down the top floors of the old school. When the site is clear, the new school will be constructed using cross laminated timber frame – one of the most eco-friendly building materials available. All timber and steel from old building will be recycled and concrete materials will be recycled and used for the piling matt of the new building.

McLaren has been one of the council’s key partners in the Building Schools for the Future project, working on Urswick and Thomas Fairchild schools. They are currently also working on the second phase of the New Horizon special educational needs school. The company recently won awards for the construction of Thomas Fairchild, being especially commended in the categories of considerate, environment and good neighbour. Their work at Urswick School also saw them pick up the people’s choice award at Hackney Design Awards 2012.

The team working on the Ickburgh School project are planning community engagement events including washing local residents’ cars throughout the demolition period, holding a tea party, supporting Hackney Food Bank by recycling materials and donating them to local community groups – for example, old pews to a local church.