A REPLICA Roman amphitheatre has been created at a school as part of a £50,000 lottery project.

St Helena School in Colchester has strong Roman connections and has the remains of two Roman temples under its site.

The school has now secured £50,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Project under its Young Roots programme.

And the school has created a replica Roman amphitheatre in the courtyard area.

Sarah Caven-Atack, the school’s director of finance and administration, said: “The courtyard is for the school and for the wider community to learn about the history which is beneath the school.

“The school has two Roman temples on the site.

“It is built on the Sheepen area which was an active industrial area for the Romans and then later became an area of a number of temples.”

The school has recently had £2.4 million state-of-the-art science and technology block built as well as new £1.4 million sports pitches created on the field.

Ms Caven-Atack said: “Any work we undertake we have to get scheduled monument consent from Historic England.

“When the science block was built, we had to have the area excavated and lots of coins and piece of pottery were found.

“We hope the amphitheatre will have several uses.

“It will be an outdoor classroom and primary schools will get an understanding of why amphitheatres were built.

“We also hope to get a link up with Colchester Castle and the Roman Circus so people in the wider community can learnt about it.”

Work has also been done in collaboration with Colchester Institute and the University of Essex.

Students at St Helena School are writing a children’s book aimed at youngsters aged from seven to ten which tells the story of how St Helena - who is Colchester’s patron saint - got her name.

The project has been undertaken with support from students at the college and university.

Mosaic plaques are also being designed to go on the amphitheatre and the school is working with the Colchester Museum Service to produce a heritage interpretation board.

The school also hopes to mark out the location of the remains of the Roman temples.

Ms Caven-Atack said: “We have been working with Historic England but we have to be careful as they are only 175 mm below ground.”

  •  The amphitheatre will be showcased as part of an open event which is being held at the school tomorrow.

The event will run from 6pm and 8pm and there will be a representative from Colchester Archaeological Trust and students will be performing in the amphitheatre.