PLANS for a £6.9million redevelopment to take a secondary school into the 21st century have been given the green light.

Stanway School, in Winstree Road, has won permission from Colchester Council to demolish its dated Gainsborough block and build a new wing featuring specialist art, music and technology classrooms. A new multi-use games area will also be built.

The new block will mean the school is able to increase its student number by 60 pupils each year starting in 2017.

Co-headteacher Jonathan Bland said: "We are very pleased because we wanted to get this through the planning stage as quickly as we possibly could.

"If it got knocked back and needed some tweaking then getting things finished for September 2017 for the extra pupils would have become more difficult.

"For the students here at moment it will provide facilities and classrooms which are purpose built for those specific subjects.

"An example is we will have art classrooms, specifically built for art all blocked together and not spread around the school.

"In the music rooms there will be rehearsal space and we could see bands forming and having places to rehearse.

"For technology it is moving slightly away from traditional subject like woodwork and towards things like using laser cutters and 3D printers.

"The facilities can help move the school into the 21st century.

"The new sports pitch could be something which we look at to share for use with the community, perhaps it will not happen right away but it is something we can look at in the future."

Mr Bland said the school were now putting the contract for the works out to tender, but he hoped the start work soon.

He said: "It maybe work starts next summer and continues in the first weeks back afterwards.

"Hopefully by the time the extra students come in the work will be done and the project will be completed and ready to go."

The scheme has been funded by Essex County Council.