A CELEBRATION has taken place to mark the start of work on the new Wellington Academy buildings just days after the school was shortlisted for a national award.

The turf cutting ceremony was attended by more than 100 guests and included representatives from Wiltshire Council, construction company Kier and sponsor Wellington College as well as students and staff from the Academy, The £32million school will include a theatre, full floodlit all-weather sports pitch and the latest ICT facilities. Boarding for up to 100 students and facilities for a Combined Cadet Force will also be available.

The academy is being built next to the old Castledown School buildings and will be completed in spring 2011. Once the new school buildings are complete, students will move in and the old school buildings will be demolished to make way for the sports pitch.

Principal Andy Schofield said: "Our students are very excited to see the building work get underway. They know they'll be working in the new Academy during the next academic year. I am delighted with the plans, which will enable us to achieve many of the things we've dreamed of.”

The Academy, which opened in the existing Castledown School buildings in Ludgershall in September, was shortlisted in the best academy category for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Awards, which takes place in London today.