IT still needs some finishing touches but Parkfield School’s new building is a world away from its previous life in an old office block.

Gone are the gloomy classrooms, endless stairs and playtimes in the car park at Dorset House in Bournemouth town centre.

Now the school’s 410 students are enjoying newly-refurbished buildings at Hurn, next to Bournemouth airport.

The school offers education from Reception to Year 11 and all students are housed in modern, clean classrooms.

A drama theatre is already kitted out to a high specification and sports facilities including a huge hall and Multi-use Games Area (MUGA) will be available for use within weeks.

“We are on the way to being the school we want to be” said Ian Golding, interim principal. “The facilities are great and we now have what I call normal school stuff, like a drama theatre and sports hall – the pupils love it.

“The circumstances at Dorset House were appalling and it is nothing short of a miracle how we managed there – it was awful. The children have more space here than they have ever had and we are confident things will continue to get better.”

The school’s 410 pupils include just 140 of secondary age and

Mr Golding said he hopes the school will gradually make its way towards capacity of 780 in total.

Even when full, the secondary phase will have fewer than 400 pupils making it one of the smallest in the area.

Parkfield is now in the Dorset County Council education area and will be offered as an option to Dorset families this year. Pupils from other areas will also be able to apply.

Now the school is focussing on finding a permanent leader and a sponsor.

Mr Golding is also the Principal of the Oasis Academy in Southampton and will stay at Parkfield until the end of this academic year at the latest.

And school leaders are in talks in a bid to become part of a multi-academy trust.

“We are still trying to find a sponsor but we need to make sure it is the right one. It is an unusual school with an unusual spirit about it” said Mr Golding.

“We have still got some work to do but we are in a different

phase now and we are looking forward. Parkfield has great potential.”