Headteacher Jonathan Baker said: “It was the best Christmas present the school could have wished to receive.”

The High School has become heavily over-subscribed in recent years and now has over 450 students crammed in a building designed for up to 388.

In the next few years the school is likely to need to grow to over 500 without taking into account the impact of all the new housing developments taking place in the area.

In addition, the original building was completed in the 1950s and is now showing serious signs of its age.

Mr Baker said: “We are really delighted with the news not least because we have been planning and working hard on getting the project off the ground.”

The building already has planning permission so construction work may start as early as Spring.

This is just the first phase of a plan to gradually rebuild the entire school. When it’s finished, the new building, which will be the first part of the school visitors will see, will showcase what the whole new Shipston High School will eventually look like.

Mr Baker said: “We have, however, no intention of taking things any easier and we are already making plans to start a huge fund-raising appeal for the next phase of our project, to build a four-court sports hall for the school and its wider community.”

An artist's impression of the new classroom block.