A "topping out" ceremony was held at Teddington School yesterday - and marked the halfway point in the £36m redevelopment.

School staff, dignitories and representatives from construction firm Mace Plus attended the ceremony where the last concrete was laid and a special tree branch nailed to the building to “ward off evil spirits”. Project manager John Fraser, who works for Mace Plus, which is rebuilding the Broom Road school, said work was going “extremely well”, when he spoke at the ceremony to mark the “topping out” of the building - when the development’s highest point is reached.

In September 2008, Richmond Council agreed to revamp the school by knocking down the existing buildings and putting up a whole new school on a different part of the site at a cost of £36.75m, with nearly £12m coming from the authority’s funds.

Mace Plus started work later that month and has built the shell of the new building on one of the school’s all-weather hockey pitches.

Mr Fraser said: “We pay respect and give thanks to all involved to date and to those directly involved in raising the building.

“We attempt to ward off evil spirits and wish the building good luck.

“The project is going extremely well to date and today we reached a key milestone when the mains power into the building was turned on."

Nick Whitfield, director of children’s services and culture, described the planned building as “magic” and Mr Weeks said it was an absolutely fantastic school.

“One of the best in the country and no less than our pupils deserve,” he continued.

“We have always had the highest hopes for this project and now that we can actually see the building take shape we are even more excited about what it will mean for the educational opportunities for children.”

He paid tribute to the staff, governors, parents and children who had helped with the project and said the team from Mace Plus had been “superb”.

“The site is great, the relationships and great and everything is working well,” he added. “The building is half way there and I can’t wait to get into it.

“We have created something special and everyone has made a contribution.”