GROUND-BREAKING work to pave the way for two new classrooms has started at a Darlington school.

Skerne Park Academy was granted £350,000 from the Darlington Schools Forum towards the extension which will potentially allow an additional 15 children to join the school each year.

The 400-pupil school, which is under the guardianship of Hummersknott Academy Trust, is also seeking further funding to build a new hall, as well as allowing additional developments at the school.

Skerne Park headteacher Kate Chisholm said: “The school should now be able to accept every child from the Skerne Park area and give them the opportunity to attend their local school.”

Proposed additional developments include an interior renovation as well as alterations to the front of the school to create a more open and welcoming approach to the building.

Ms Chisholm added: “If we receive this additional funding, it will be another boost for Skerne Park, as we will be able to cater for the wider community who will be able to benefit from the facilities outside of school hours.”

Pat Howarth, executive principal at Hummersknott Academy, said: “I am very pleased that work has started on the new classrooms which will provide crucial additional capacity for the school at a time of growth and continuous improvement.”

He added: “The Hummersknott Academy Trust is hopeful that the school is granted any additional money, as this will be of great use to community as a whole, and further add to the school’s facilities.”

Skerne Park officially became an academy early last year, under the guardianship of Hummersknott Academy.

In its most recent Ofsted inspection, Skerne Park was judged to be 'good' in all four inspection categories and was praised for bringing about 'significant improvements in the achievement of pupils'.

The new classrooms mark the latest phase in a series of changes at the school which have included a new school uniform introduced in 2012 and a ‘back to basics’ approach to teaching implemented by Ms Chisholm.