CHANGES are underway at a Ludgershall school which has been told to improve by Ofsted inspectors.

But Wellington Academy principal Mike Milner, who took over the reins in September last year, said he is “optimistic about the future”.

He said despite the school facing challenging factors, including a mobile school population due to 40 per cent of students coming from military families, staff are working hard to turn it around.

“We are doing a pretty good job with the military students, despite extreme cases of mobility,” he said. “One student had been to 13 different schools before coming here,” he said.

The way the school deals with bullying was a concern of inspectors when they visited in January, and the school has since held a Dragons’ Den style event in which students pitched their best ideas on how to deal with any bullying problems.

The school has more than doubled in size since it became an academy five years ago, and currently has about 1,100 students.

The number of pupils could double again in the next few years as 4,000 soldiers and their families move to Tidworth, Bulford and Larkhill as part of the Army 2020 rebasing project.

A new building is being opened at the school in September next year, which Dr Milner says should absorb some of the expansion, but the school does not yet know how many new students to expect.

The £32m academy is sponsored by Wellington College, Berkshire, which has also sponsored a new primary school opening nearby.

Wellington Primary Academy is being built in Oatway Road, ready to welcome new students from September this year.

Joanne Andrews, who is currently headteacher at Durrington All Saints Primary School, has been appointed headteacher and other staff are being recruited.

Dr Milner said: “We hope that it will be something really good for the area, and it is a great commitment from the sponsor.”

He said Wellington Academy will continue to work closely with all its local primary schools as well as the new one. “The new primary academy opening is good for us, good for the area and we think it will be a tremendous success,” he added.