CONSTRUCTION of a new secondary school in Bicester has started following a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

The Whitelands Academy, run by the White Horse Federation, is set to open its doors to 600 pupils next year on the Kingsmere Estate.

The 5,210sqm school will have 26 classrooms, as well as special educational needs facilities including a garden, a four-court sports hall, sports pitches and a multi-use games area.

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It will also have outdoor social spaces such as allotments and quiet areas.

Oxford Mail:

Mark Pausey of construction firm Kier, Bicester councillor Dan Sames and David Maine of the White Horse Federation. Picture: Ric Mellis

Since 2011, more than 6,000 new places have been created in Oxfordshire secondary schools and with Whitelands Academy expected to open next year, the county council strive to meet the demand.

Entirely new schools have been created in the county such as the Space Studio in Banbury, Bicester Technology Studio, Heyford Park Free School and Aureus School in Didcot.

The Swan School in Oxford is the next school due to open this year, with temporary buildings in September, and

nine more new Oxfordshire schools due to open by 2023.

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for education Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: “Bicester is a growing town and there has been careful planning to ensure that Whitelands Academy begins its life as a new Oxfordshire school to meet new demand.

Oxford Mail:

An artist's impression of the new Whitelands Academy. Pic: ADP

“We are proud of the fact that we do better than the rest of the country in terms of getting parents and their children their first choice of school.”

Other features at the school include a main hall linked to a drama studio, a dining area with a covered seating area, basketball courts and parking for cars and cycles.

Oxford Mail:

Whitelands Academy will be the second school run by the White Horse Federation in north Oxfordshire, alongside Gagle Brook primary in Bicester and West Kidlington Primary and Nursery.

Federation CEO Nicholas Capstick said: “We are proud and deeply excited to be the sponsor of The Whitelands Academy.

"We relish the opportunity to ensure it becomes a true centre of academic excellence."