A SPECIAL needs school is set to double the number of primary aged pupils it teaches after a major building project was given the thumbs up.

Kingswode Hoe School, in Lexden, cares for 132 primary and secondary aged children, but demand for spaces has increased.

New classrooms will be created as part of the building project, doubling capacity for primary places to 24.

It is hoped these will be available from September next year.

Work on the new building, in the existing Sussex Road grounds, starts on October 22.

Three demountable classrooms which have been on the site since the early 1980s, will be demolished.

They have housed two classrooms and a music and drama studio.

Principal Elizabeth Drake said: “Now we have actually got planning permission we are incredibly excited.

“Demountable classrooms are never the best places for teaching children.

“They are difficult to heat and become dilapidated because they are temporary buildings.

“It will be so nice to have purpose built buildings.”

The new, two-storey building will include a food technology room and technology room.

Mrs Drake added: “We currently have a technology room which is tiny, so at the same time the new building is going to have a new technology room and our existing technology room will become a base for our Forest School, which is a big part of our primary curriculum.”

Mrs Drake said improved technology facilities would greatly benefit the pupils and the school would be able to use equipment donated to it, such as laser cutters and 3D printers, as there would now be the space for it.

“Technology and food technology are subjects that are really beneficial to children with special needs.

“This will give them more opportunities in school to get better qualifications.”

The rest of the new building will include two classrooms and a new music and drama room. The main school building will be remodelled to house the second primary-age classroom where the original food technology room has been.

Essex County Council, which oversees school spaces, said in a planning statement: “Kingswode Hoe is a special school and demand for places has increased over the years putting pressure on the school’s infrastructure.

“Additionally there is increased demand for Key Stage one provision for pupils with complex needs in Colchester. , which Kingswode Hoe is not able to offer due to the lack of physical capacity on site.

“There are no other alternative schools available for Key Stage one pupils with complex needs in Colchester and the nearest schools able to accommodate pupils are in Elmstead Market and Chelmsford. Both of these schools are significantly over-subscribed.”