PLANS to extend facilities at Mountfitchet High School in Stansted are set to get underway later this year.

The first stage of the development is a £2.2m sports centre, work on which is due to start during the summer holidays.

The school also plans to increase the number of pupils from 104 to 180, while plans to increase the number of classrooms and educational programmes are also underway. They will be funded by Essex County Council's capital spending programme for 2004/05.

Head teacher David Williams said: "The school is currently quite heavily over-subscribed. With all the new development coming into the area there's a need for the school to plan for some expansion. The immediate effect is the building of the £2.2m sport centre, which is coming on site later this year and should be completed within two months."

The news coincides with the announcement of Mr Williams' retirement at the end of the summer term.

"It makes sense for the changes over the next few years to be seen through by a new head," he said.

He said he was confident his successor, Jo Mullis, who joins the school in September, would be "an excellent successor" able to "take the school forward to new achievements".

The school's governing body has welcomed the planned changes.

Chairman of governors Derek Poole-Adams said: "This school has a very high reputation for caring for all its students. The leisure centre and plans for growth are bound to appeal to more and more parents and students, so we're having to expand to meet the demand."

June 21, 2002 16:00