‘Ashlyns will benefit from raft of changes’

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A total of 13 new classrooms are to be added to an expanding school to help it cope with a seismic shake-up in Berkhamsted’s education system.

Ashlyns School will have to take on an extra 570 pupils from September as it switches from being an upper to a secondary school. Just 816 pupils go there at the moment.

The changes will make it easier for the school to get funding from the government, as well as freeing up space in the town’s smaller schools for younger children.

But it will mean Ashlyns has to teach children in Years 7 and 8 as well as those in Years 9 to 13, who are taught there now.

To cope with the influx, its disused swimming pool – closed for many years due to subsidence problems – is being converted into four classrooms. They will be used to teach RE and Personal, Social and Health Education.

Its former biology block – also disused – is being refurbished and will be reopened as four new science labs.

There will also be two new maths classrooms and one new history and geography classroom in the main school.

A new music block will house two classrooms and six rooms for one-to-one tuition and group practice.

There will be a new locker area, a playground set aside for younger pupils, upgraded toilets, reception and staff room and a new room for children with special needs.

The school will also gain a full-time medic from September.

The conversion work has already started, as builders move on to the site at the end of each school day and stay until midnight to cope with a tight timetable.

Assistant headteacher Nathaniel Baker, who is leading the changes, said: “It has been really exciting seeing all of the changes happening right in front of our eyes.

“The whole school community is going to really benefit and it’s important to bring an old building really up to scratch.”