AS celebrations go, this one was definitely groundbreaking.

Staff, students, dignitaries and members of the community came together for a special turf cutting ceremony to mark the start of work on a flagship new Southampton school.

Developers Carillion have already started work on the £16.3m Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill at Five Acres field, which is expected to open next September, four years after the merger of Oaklands and Millbrook schools.

Pupils from all age groups attended the ceremony, which principal Ian Golding said allowed the older ones who will not attend school in the new building to perform “a symbolic gesture of handing over a legacy to the younger students.”

He said: “The new building will offer our students a vibrant and inspirational place to learn, where we can further improve standards while working together with our local community. We are all aware of how fortunate we are to be getting these fantastic new facilities against the backdrop of governmental cuts.”

Southampton City Council’s education boss, Councillor Jeremy Moulton said: “The fact that we are able to go ahead with this new building is a clear demonstration of the commitment in Southampton to investing in our young people.

“The new Academy will be a fantastic resource that we can all be proud of and will deliver real benefits for the whole community.”