A HIGH school in Clacton is set for a massive expansion that will see its sixth form centre moved to the site of a former college.

Clacton County High School has unveiled plans to expand to cater for the growing number of pupils leaving primary school.

The school has been working with Essex County Council on the plans, which would see its sixth form relocated to the Tendring Education Centre, based at the site of the former Bishop's Park College in Jaywick Lane.

The move will create room for the expansion at the school's site in Walton Road, including a new ten-classroom block and four-court sports hall.

County Hall has asked Tendring Council to transfer some land from the existing Vista Road recreation ground in order to increase the playing field space at the school.

Neil Gallagher, executive headteacher, said: “This is a truly exciting development for the school and the town.

“Clacton County High School is a community school with a mission to raise the aspirations of our young people.

"Being able to extend our provision, particularly at post-16, will make a huge difference to the opportunities for our young people locally.

“For several years the demand for places at the school has outstripped our capacity.

"These developments would ensure that children can access a local secondary school place and the sixth form centre would provide a local centre of excellence for our community.”

The school said the number of children in Clacton’s primary schools has been increasing for several years, meaning more places will also be required at secondary schools in the area to meet this need in the future.

Tendring Council said it is working closely with the county council on the project to improve access arrangements at the back of the school and to provide a new state-of-the-art all-weather pitch at neighbouring Clacton Leisure Centre.

Carlo Guglielmi, deputy leader of the district council, said to ensure Clacton residents do not lose public open space, it is proposed that some land at the Tendring Education Centre, between Rush Green Recreation Ground and Jaywick Lane, will be transferred to the district council and access created for the public.

Mr Guglielmi said: “The education of our young people in Tendring is so important, and supporting improved qualification and skills attainment is one of our corporate priorities.

"Providing first-rate leisure facilities is also a priority, and the use of open space land in the potential scheme is an important consideration – including protecting its use for education in the future."

A public consultation on the Vista Road land transfer is set to start at the end of July before a final decision is made by the council's cabinet and the school plans to consult on its expansion plans in September.

The sixth form could move to Tendring Education Centre in September 2020, and the additional buildings at the Walton Road site completed for September 2021.

Market Field Special School is also currently operating on the Jaywick Lane site and this would continue alongside County High's sixth form centre.

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “I very much hope that the plans to expand County High will come to fruition.

“The school is popular and successful, and the expansion would allow more parents to be offered a place at their preferred school, as well as improving facilities at the leisure centre for the wider community.”

The former Bishops Park College, which cost £25million to build, opened in 2002, but the failing school was amalgamated into Clacton Coastal Academy in 2009.