A secondary school has launched a £60,000 appeal to its local community in Bradford on Avon to help equip new state-of-the-art science laboratories for its 1,400 pupils.

Head teacher Fergus Stewart launched the appeal on Thursday evening with help from Professor Carole Mundell, Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy and Head of Physics at the University of Bath, and former pupil Hugh Alabaster, who now works for the Science and Technologies Facilities Council in Swindon.

Mr Stewart said: "This is a really exciting project with the chance to provide modern facilities for all our students. It's something I feel passionately about and I think it's something that they all deserve."

The school will start work on March 25 on the £970,000 new science block which will house four new classrooms, three of which will be state-of-the-art laboratories.

The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of November and be officially opened in December or the new year.

The school already has ten classrooms/laboratories but two of them are housed in temporary buildings and are no longer fit for purpose.

Up to £600,000 of the funding has come from a Community Infrastructure Levy and some from reserves, but the school is facing a £60,000 shortfall.

This is why it has launched its £60,000 appeal to equip the new laboratories with everything from a cylinder measure costing 62p to a large balance costing £500.

Professor Carole Mundell, who is also Chief Scientific Advisor at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, said science would help to boost the UK economy and prosperity.

"Young people are the future of this country. They are remarkable young people and will be able to achieve unimaginable things given the right resources."

Mr Alabaster, who also studied at Southampton University, urged individuals, companies and organisations to donate to the appeal.

"The science students of today are the scientists, engineers and mathematicians of tomorrow and there are all sorts of problems to be tackled, including the energy crisis, global warming and combating diversifying diseases.

"By building these new facilities, you will facilitate greater enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and promote the students' career prospects."

Other guests at the launch included Bradford on Avon Mayor Cllr Alex Kay, former alumni in science, engineering and mathematics-related careers, as well as local councillors, school governors and parents.

Donors will be recognised in one of three categories: Bronze (up to £500), Silver (£500-£2,000) and Gold (£2,000-£10,000) and their names will be enscribed on Gudgeons, a fish that features as part of the school logo.

A donor who contributes more than £10,000 will have the opportunity to name one of the new laboratories.

To donate, contact Lorna Lumb, St Laurence School’s Director of Finance and Operations, on 01225 309500 or go online to https://donatemyschool.com/project/1737