Polar explorer Alan Chambers paid a visit to the Springfields Academy in Calne to see progress on the building of a £2.8 million project for 16 new classrooms last week.

The project, funded by the Education Funding Agency, will provide a better teaching space for pupils at the school with complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.

The academy has a permanent vocational centre, but at the moment classes in the main school are taught in nine mobile classrooms and the new building will create a central learning space.

Mr Chambers, who is a strong supporter of the academy, visited for a topping out ceremony and signed a metal plaque for the building after workers finished putting the steel framework in place.

The building, which stands at the heart of the academy’s site, will be used to teach core subjects such as maths, English and science, as well as for therapy and counselling sessions.

Associate principal James Lynch said pupils were enjoying see the building go up around them and the whole school was proud to have got this far with the project.

The academy’s first bid for a grant from the Education Funding Agency in was refused, but it was successful the second time round with a bid submitted in December 2012.

Mr Lynch said: “The children are really looking forward to being taught in that space, they are very proud of the academy.

“This really does signify how much we’re trying to create that perfect learning environment for our young people. It’s good for the young people because they can see that people want to invest in them.

“For the children the signing of the plaque was a real visual moment, and it was really good to have the governing body with us just to share that moment.”

The building work, carried out by construction company Kier, began in October and is on schedule so far. It is hoped the building can be completed in July and pupils can move in by September.

Pupils on the academy’s vocational construction course have been fascinated by the building and workers from Kier have volunteered to give them a talk on health and safety.

They will also help to reshape the academy’s quad bike track with soil from the building site according to designs drawn up by pupils, who use the track in their spare time.

Phil Cooch, vice principal for finance, said: “There is a lot of co-operation between the academy and Kier. Taking soil and spoil offsite is quite expensive so we have come up with this idea for our quad bike track.

“We suggested they could put the soil on the quad bike track. The children will design the course and then Kier will reshape it. They are really getting into the community feel of the academy.”