Kensington Aldridge Academy has received a special services to education award at the 2018 Tes Schools Awards for its extraordinary response to the Grenfell Tower fire.
“A great school is an important part of a successful community, and for a school to sustain that role and endure within the most tragic and extraordinary of circumstances as those encountered by Kensington Aldridge Academy … is a remarkable story of leadership, courage and resilience.”
That’s how the judges described the school in West London. After being relocated twice within four months as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire, the school was graded “outstanding” in its first full Ofsted inspection in December 2017.
The aftermath of tragedy
The school lost four pupils and one former pupil in the tragic events at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017, and nearly 60 students were rehoused because of the disaster.
That morning, the senior leadership had to rearrange for Year 12 students to sit their AS-level maths exam at Burlington Danes Academy. In the 48 hours following the fire, the entire school timetable had to be rewritten to accommodate lessons at Latymer Upper School and Burlington Danes for the remaining five weeks of term.
When it became clear that KAA would not be able to return to its building in time for the beginning of term in September, the school worked in partnership with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, construction company Mace and Portakabin to design a temporary school for the start of term.
Dubbed “the fastest school ever built”, the project took just 12 weeks from appointment to occupation. The school was built in a record-breaking nine weeks.