THE opening of a new chapter for a Poole secondary school was marked with a turf-cutting ceremony for a £6 million redevelopment.

Pupils and teachers of St Edward’s in Oakdale were joined by the Bishop of Sherborne and the Mayor of Poole to break the first patch of ground before construction begins.

Bishop of Sherborne Dr Graham Kings said: “This is an extraordinary school, sponsored by both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. I am delighted to be part of marking the beginning of this new building project. May the staff and pupils flourish in the enhanced space.”

Mayor Cllr Carol Evans said: “I am delighted to be part of this turf cutting ceremony. This work marks the beginning of a new era for the school and I’m sure the new facilities will be of huge benefit to its students.”

The development, designed by Cube Design and built by Morgan Sindall, will include a new building containing 13 general classrooms, new learning resources and ICT centres, and a new reception area and meeting room at the front of the school.

Science, art and technology facilities will be remodelled, an extra music space and hard court provided, and car parking facilities upgraded. The project should be finished by September next year.

Cllr Janet Walton, portfolio holder for children, families and youth for Borough of Poole said: “This project is a very important step in the journey towards changing the age of transfer in September 2013, when the majority of our secondary schools will welcome year seven pupils for the first time.”

Head teacher Pola Bevan said “I am delighted that everything is on target for our fantastic new buildings for the whole school community.”