SPENDING on one of the region’s most improved schools is set to top the £3m mark as the transformation of its fortunes continues.

Close to £1m has just been secured which will be spent on renewing roofs and fire barriers at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science (DSMS), formerly Branksome School.

Work is also due to start in May to build a hi-tech, multi-use sports hall which will serve both the students and the local community.

Contractors will begin work on a hi-tech, high-tensile sports hall which will feature four badminton courts and facilities for volleyball, basketball, netball, five-a-side and cricket.

The new facility, due to be completed in October, is expected to be open to the community after school hours, at weekends and in the holidays.

Since the school converted to academy status last year £3.1m has been spent renovating the 7,000sqm 1960s facility.

Work has included new entrance, windows and heating system, renovation of the 25m pool, replacement fencing, investment in IT and classroom refurbishment, conversion of a multi-use quad area, the creation of a garden of contemplation, TV studio and improved stage facilities.

Work is also scheduled to start in the summer to construct a new car park at the front of the building to cater for the increased number of students and community use of the facilities.

The building work has been complemented by an equally radical overhaul of the curriculum and teaching techniques, many of which use the latest developments in technology.

The combined result of improving the learning environment has seen a boost in student academic performance.

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said: “We are approaching the final stages of the complete transformation of the school building which will protect the building for years to come and enable future generations to flourish.

“We are all delighted with the way the school has been transformed.

“With the school being built in the 1960s we are blessed with an abundance of usable space – more so than if a completely new building had been constructed – and the new, smart and well-equipped learning environment contributes greatly to the success of students’ work.”

Word of the transformation of DSMS is spreading throughout the town and Mr Kipling said there has been a sharp increase in numbers applying for places this year.