WORK has got underway on the £28 million re-build of Rednock School in Dursley.

The first sod was cut yesterday to mark the start of the ambitious 18-month project.

The ceremony was held in front of the school's 1,400 students, staff, councillors and governors.

Headteacher David Alexander said: "I can hardly believe it. My predecessors have been waiting for a new school for decades.

"Today is a really momentous day in the history of Rednock School."

Apart from four existing buildings, Rednock will have a completely new school, which will be ready by September 2009.

Mr Alexander added: "It will be a state-of-the-art school for over 1,400 students. It really is very exciting for everyone involved.

"Education is about being sustainable and to reflect this we've got wind turbines, a sedum roof, which will recycle rain water to flush our toilets. We want to achieve a carbon neutral footprint."

The new Rednock School, when finished, will also have an all- weather pitch, basketball court, tennis courts, ICT suites and break-out spaces for the pupils to leave lessons and work.

Rednock School was awarded a £20.2 million grant in 2005 from the government and Gloucestershire County Council later secured a further £7 million from the Department of Education and Skills (DoES) to pay for the rebuild.

The county council was one of 11 local authorities to receive the grant from the government to spend on one school in the county.

It decided that Rednock would benefit most from the money, which the government stipulates must be spent on modern transformation.

In the past Rednock has developed on a piecemeal basis, but this new development will create a whole new school.

Last December a consultation meeting was held with the developers Cube Design and parents, staff, students and members of the local community.

Once the school is finished in two years and Rednock has been transferred to the new buildings, the old buildings will be demolished.