STUDENTS at a Westcliff school are now enjoying a new £3million teaching block.

St Thomas More High School, a boys’ school for ages 11 to 16 with a mixed sixth form, has opened its new state-of-the-art teaching block, with pupils learning in specialist teaching rooms.

The £3million building also has more facilities for young people with special educational needs.

It was designed by Ingleton Wood, a property construction firm, and has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible, with the installation of solar panels.

Ingleton Wood, which specialises in the education sector, has also designed an internal fitness suite and outdoor tennis courts which will replace an old playground.

Gemma Ackred, headteacher at the St Thomas More High School, said: “The staff, governors and most importantly the students are delighted with the new teaching block at St Thomas More High School.

“The building is light, spacious and airy.

“The design has placed the students’ needs at the heart of the space.

“It is accessible and comfortable.

“It has the feel of a college or university environment that suggests a school that invests in its learners.

“It will support building respect and excitement for learning and provide an outstanding school environment for many years to come.”

Southend Council funded the project, after the school borrowed £3million from the authority.

The council, who is helping provide additional student places at the high school, are set to gain the money back through pupils’ growth funding.

Anne Jones, councillor for children and learning, said: “The council is fully committed to offering the best possible education for all of its students.

“Many of our schools are going through expansion projects, with others set to take place over the coming years.

“By funding this energy efficient expansion, we have been able to increase the number of students able to attend St Thomas More High School, and we are delighted that the works have now been completed, and to such a high standard too.”

Paul Cavalier, a partner at Ingleton Wood, said the firm was delighted to be involved in the design process.

He said: “Ingleton Wood is proud to have worked with St Thomas More High School to deliver much-needed future student places for Westcliff and the wider borough of Southend.

“Our core business revolves around providing the best education and public service buildings and facilities.

“And that’s whether through our long-standing work with schools, Southend Council or Southend University Hospital.”