BUILDING work has started on a £190,000 classroom block and other facilities at Lewtrenchard Primary School which will cope with an expected increase in pupil numbers over the coming years.

Year 6 pupils at the school have been helping contractors Midas Construction mark out the boundary of the building, using surveying equipment.

The new specifically designed foundation block, for reception and Year 1 pupils, will include a new classroom, toilets and storage area.

Midas will also reinstate and refurbish the original school hall that currently accommodates the existing reception class and a small assembly room that doubles as the school dining area.

The reinstated assembly hall will provide enough space for all the 78 pupils to meet together for morning assembly and lunch, while providing a new facility for school drama productions and physical education in bad weather.

Meanwhile the school's friends' association is helping to fund resources for the new block which will be completed in time for the new academic year in September.

The project has been financed with the school's own funds and help from Devon County Council.

Headteacher Keith Urro said: 'We were conscious that with the new housing being built in this area the school would not be able to cope with the expected increase in pupil numbers.

'The new classroom and refurbishments will mean we have extra pupil capacity and all the facilities to deliver the national curriculum.'

Mr Urro added that he had been keen to involve the pupils where possible in the project as it covered several areas of the national curriculum, including maths, design and technology, geography and science.

The children also learned about the importance of safety and safety clothing in a building site context.

Divisional director at Midas, Nalin Seneviratne said the aim was to cause minimal disruption to everyday activities at the school while the work was in progress.