A Hendon school has celebrated the completion of the first stage of expansion plans that will see it provide education for children from three to 18.

Pupils and teachers at St Mary's and St John's CE Primary School in Prothero Gardens were joined by MP for Hendon Matthew Offord to officially open the two new Year 1 classrooms.

Mr Offord thanked pupils and staff for inviting him to cut the ribbon, adding how impressed he was by the new classrooms.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for the children. Good school buildings mean a better learning environment for pupils.  I didn’t have a great education myself so I want other people to have one. The new classrooms are bright, spacious and pleasant.”

The new classrooms are the first stage in the school’s expansion into Barnet’s first state-maintained school to provide education from the ages of three to 18.

The school will open a secondary school in Sunningfields Road for pupils in Years 5 to 8 in September 2014 and will later open a school for pupils from Year 9 to Year 13.

Mr Offord added: “The school expansion is a great idea, and will bring great benefits to the local area.

“This is an exciting time for the school and for the pupils.”

Headteacher Dee Oelman said how delighted pupils and staff were with the classrooms, which were bright, spacious and equipped with modern ICT facilities.

She said: “The two old classrooms were dreadful. Now the place where they were will be transformed into a staff room and assesment area and the staff room will become another classroom.”

“The increasing population in Barnet means new school places are needed. The expansion will be a huge opportunity to bring the benefits of a Christian education to the community of Hendon. We're an inclusive school at the centre of the community and its fantastic we are able to expand." 

She added the opening of the Sunningfield Road school would enable younger children to access specialist teaching available to the older children and the younger children to benefit from the increased pastoral care and guidance, adding it would ease the transition from primary to secondary school for children who might find it difficult.

Parent governor Afua Budu added: “My daughter Chelsea has been talking a lot about the new classrooms, she is very happy about them. The expansion is a good thing for the children, and the school is thriving.

"My daughter will benefit from the expansion; I don’t have to worry about finding a secondary school place for her.”