New drone images have revealed what progress has been made on a 1,150-place secondary school being built by a busy industrial estate.
Work is now well underway at the Maritime Academy, which is being constructed by Frindsbury Hill in Strood by the Medway City Estate.
The school was approved by Medway Council in September 2021. However, delays on the project have meant that pupils looking to attend the school have been learning at Twydall Primary School since September last year.
A statement on the Maritime Academy’s website said: “The construction of our new school is underway with a completion date of Summer 2024.
“We will be working with our students and our contractors on the layout and design of our school over the next few years as we work in 'unity' to shape our school together.”
The plans for the school were drawn up between the council, the Department for Education (DfE), and the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), which will be running the school in a bid to meet the demand for pupil places in the Medway Towns.
A spokesperson for the Academy said: “The Maritime Academy is set to provide 1,150 much-needed secondary school places in Medway and help meet the future shortfall in the area.
“We were proud to open to our first cohort of Year 7 students in September 2022 and very much look forward to welcoming our next cohort this September. We worked with the Department of Education to provide an excellent provision in temporary accommodation whilst our permanent school site is being constructed.
“We are pleased to share that the building work is on schedule with the framework being erected in recent weeks. Once completed, the new site will provide a high-quality education for our community with a range of exceptional and modern facilities, delivering on Maritime’s ethos of ‘making excellence a habit’.
“The Academy will house sustainable features, a brand-new Thinking Fitness gym and state-of-the-art classrooms. We look forward to moving into our new permanent home in 2024.”
The spokesman also added that the academy is working with the council to keep disruption in the area to a minimum.
They added: “We are dedicated to providing the best possible learning environment for our young people whilst doing our absolute best to ensure minimal disruption to local residents.
“We are continuing to work closely with Medway Council’s transport department and our architects to mitigate any concerns.”
The Department of Education has also been contacted for comment.
Last month it was revealed that some 800 prehistoric stone artefacts thought to be 300,000 years old were discovered on the site following excavations of the land.
It is understood the Maritime Academy will now look at how to use the discoveries, which were found in deep Ice Age sediments, in its curriculum.
Among the unearthed artefacts are two “spectacular” large flint knives described as “giant handaxes”.
While archaeological finds of this age have been found in the Medway Valley before, this was the first time they have been found as part of large-scale excavation.
The research suggests the site dates back to a period when Neanderthal people were beginning to emerge.
During this period the area would have been a wild landscape of wooded hills and river valleys, inhabited by red deer and horses, as well as the now-extinct straight-tusked elephant and lion.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are delighted to see work progressing on the new permanent building for the Maritime Academy. The school is being built to meet demand for additional secondary school places and will provide a modern learning environment to serve generations to come.
“The Department for Education is aware of concerns over traffic surroundin