AN independent school is hoping to expand by building a 90-bed boarding facility, new classrooms, outdoor sports pitch and a 250-seat auditorium.

Sherfield School in Sherfield-on-Loddon, pictured, has submitted an application to Basingstoke and Deane Borough council for a ‘scoping opinion’ on the proposed development.

GEMS Education, which runs the school for children aged from three months to 18, intends to submit an outline planning application.

The application said the plans will increase facilities for existing students, attract new students, to “allow for intended growth” and improve the “poor visual appearance” of some of the buildings, by either refurbishing or replacing them.

It said the development is likely to see growth in pupil numbers from approximately 450 in 2011, to a maximum of 890 in five years.

Plans include demolishing the school’s dining room, sports hall and ancillary buildings, with the potential to also demolish the science blocks to open up a courtyard area.

Refurbishments would be carried out on the chapel, to create a sixth-form hub, and sports hall to create a performing arts centre.

New builds would include a 50-metre swimming pool, four-court sports hall, kitchen and dining facilities, outdoor Astroturf sports pitch for football, rugby and hockey, and new classrooms. The school also hopes to build three 30-bed boarding facilities, in three phases.

Dick Jaine, who started as headmaster of Sherfield School in September, said some of the development will benefit the community.

He added: “The 50m swimming pool here would be a hub for the local swimming club, but also from our own point of view, we would offer our students an integrated package.”

Mr Jaine hopes work can begin next year, and said the school is planning other updates in the future, including re-introducing A-levels.

Sherfield sixth-form pupils have been taking the International Baccalaureate, but from September 2013, the school will go back to traditional A-levels. There are also plans to introduce golf lessons, working with Sherfield Oaks golf club, and horse riding lessons, working with Wellington Riding.