An independent school has been granted planning permission for a new ‘academic hub’ – to replace classrooms and buildings that are "inadequate, inefficient and outmoded".

Haberdashers Aske's Boys' School in Elstree has been given the go-ahead to replace an existing building and ‘lean-to’ structures with two larger teaching blocks.

As well as classrooms they will include a drama studio and a debating chamber, and break-out areas for teaching too.

Councillors on Hertsmere Borough Council's planning committee were told at a meeting on August 15 that the school didn’t currently have enough classrooms to teach core subjects, such as English and maths, within one area.

They heard that the new blocks would allow for a more flexible and adaptable approach to teaching, that was fit for the future – as well as enabling the school to expand its outreach programmes.

Speaking in favour of the application, headteacher Gus Lock said Haberdashers was a highly academic and high-achieving school, that was committed to being at the forefront of teaching.

He said some of the current teaching facilities at the school, dating back to the 1960s and 70s, were "outdated and no longer fit for purpose".

But he said the new larger classrooms – with natural light and break-out spaces – would allow more versatile approaches to teaching, that would help motivate and inspire pupils to excel and help to attract the best teachers in the area.

During the debate, Cllr Anthony Spencer said he supported the “excellent” proposal.

Even though it was in the green belt, he said he believed there were ‘very special circumstances’ that justified the development.

Cllr Kumail Jaffer also suggested that public benefit was much greater than any possible green belt harms.

He said: “We are lucky to have a school of such prestige in our borough and I feel buildings like that need to be kept up to date in order to maximise pupils’ potential and provide that benefit to the whole of the borough.”

According to planning officers the new blocks would be significantly larger than the buildings they replace.

The development of the academic hub at the school was backed unanimously by the committee, as was the application for listed building consent.