THIS £25 million school will be the at the heart of Wichelstowe and offer state-of-the-art facilities for its students.

And yesterday, the Adver got an exclusive look inside the Deanery CE Academy ahead of the first intake of at least 120 Year 7s in September.

Principal Linda Culling is particularly proud of the school’s 440-seat theatre and drama studio, which have been developed to a professional standard with the help of Prime Theatre and Stage Electrics.

And she showed off its Sports England-certified astroturf and indoor sports hall with 160-seat viewing gallery, which will provide Swindon’s hockey team with a new base.

Ms Culling said: “We want this to be an exceptional school that doesn’t specialise in a particular subject but instead focuses on helping students live life in all its fullness. So, no matter what they’re good at – science, sports, drama, maths – we will bring out the best in them and help them excel.

“There are a lot of amazing facilities here and I will never let any of them go to waste, we’re going to make the most of them and want people to use them as much as possible.

“This is my first time as a principal and I’m so excited to start. I see it as a huge responsibility and a brilliant privilege.

“I want some of the first students here to go on to Oxford and Cambridge, and I hope what we have can be used and shared to improve students all over Swindon.”

At its fullest, 1,470 students will dine in a food court called Agora, worship in the school chapel, meet in common areas with lockers and sofas for each ‘house’, and study in a lecture theatre nicknamed The Egg.

There are classrooms full of computers and Smartboards, and 12 science labs, quiet rooms and provisions for SEND students.

A Kingfisher Academy primary school and nursery is still being developed next door and once it’s done in 2020, the entire campus will cater for children from two to 18. It will offer many of its facilities for use by the local community.

The Deanery Academy includes a coffee shop and library.Community spaces in one wing of the school can be used for fitness classes and business meetings while students are being taught in lessons. The theatre will host evening performances with an overflow area and upstairs bar.

Ms Culling added: “Part of our philosophy is teaching children how to behave outside the school environment, build strong relationships and offer empowered learning. Trust, honesty and openness are really important. My office for the last year has been the Waitrose coffee shop and now I plan to spend most of my time in this one, meeting parents and forming strong relationships because I want this school to feel like a big family.”

The Deanery Academy is the newest member of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust and was built by BAM Construction from August 2017 with most of the funding provided by the Education Funding Agency plus £9m from Swindon Borough Council. It will offer the only dedicated Church of England secondary provision in the Swindon area.