WORK has finally started on a new £25million school, which will share its sports and other facilities with the community.

After months of preparation, including building a new road, workmen have finally started at Woodlands School, Basildon .

Andy White, headteacher of the school, in Takely End, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday to mark the start of the work.

He said: “This is an exciting milestone in the development of the new school. “I look forward to following the progress of the building work and await the finished school with great anticipation.”

The rebuilding of Woodlands looked uncertain after the Government axed Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme, but Essex County Council managed to come up with funding instead.

When the new school opens in 2014, it will offer sports clubs and other groups in the surrounding community a chance to share its extensive facilities outside school hours.

The school is keen to hear from groups which might be interested in using its facilities.

Every classroom at the school will have interactive whiteboards, while halls will be equipped with overhead projectors and screens, plus DVD, satellite TV and sound systems.

Stephen Castle , county councillor with responsibility for education, said: “Woodlands is a large secondary school, serving many areas of Basildon and I’m delighted so many will be able to benefit from this investment.

“It is a priority for me to drive up achievement in the borough and having this wonderful new school will certainly help inspire learning and attainment.”

The new-look school has a new entrance road leading from Nethermayne and will have plenty of open space where football, rugby, cricket, hockey and other sports can be played.

Paul Heather, managing director for Skanska Building, which is doing the work, said: “The groundbreaking ceremony is always an exciting milestone.

“It signifies all the hard work and vision by those involved in this scheme will now become a reality.

“Our relationship with Essex County Council, Andy White and his staff and the pupils, is very important and we are looking forward to celebrating all of the significant milestones on the Woodlands School project."