IT has been a long time coming, but today a school community is celebrating the start of a new chapter.

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Chantry High School, in Mallard Way, is one of 261 schools selected by the government to be rebuilt under the Priority School Building Programme.

Students arrived at school today to learn the news which will see south west Ipswich benefit from a completely new school to replace current buildings, which are 50 years old.

Headteacher Andrew Fell and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer spoke of their joy at the announcement of the government’s multi-million pound scheme.

Mr Gummer, who has been a firm backer of the bid to rebuild, said students deserved to learn in newer facilities.

He added: “Chantry School is finally going to have building which it deserves.

“It is good to see that all of our hard work has come to fruition.

“I have fought like a dog for this and the people of Ipswich, this community, the students and the staff really deserve this.

“I won the election in the very early hours of May 6, 2010, and the first letter I wrote was to (education secretary) Michael Gove. I didn’t even have headed paper then but it said that Chantry High School deserved this.”

Andrew Fell, headteacher, said: “It is great news.

“We are hoping for a new building of around 7,000sq m.

“It will be in this site because luckily we have a lot of room here.

“This will allow us to raise aspirations and expectations and I think this is a massive boost not only for the school, the students and parents, but for the whole of Ipswich.

“This is all happening in a big year for the school – our 50th year – and in a year when we will start as an academy.

“It is almost like the start of a new chapter for us all.”

It is hoped that the work on the new school will be completed within two to three years, giving us another reason to celebrate the fact we live in Ipswich - the focus of our I Love Ipswich campaign.

It is the second boost for Chantry High in a matter of months – the school is set to become an academy later this year following a sponsorship agreement with Suffolk New College. Dave Muller, principal at Suffolk New College, said he was delighted that the school was set to get the funding and the new building it requires.

The Ipswich high school was selected by the Department of Education out of the 587 schools which applied, alongside Great Cornard Upper School and Technology College.

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