IT'S clear to see – this Victorian convent is going for a very modern new look.

The sisters at St Mary's in Wantage are planning to create this new glass front entrance and reception area on their main building.

The plan is part of a wider scheme to rejuvenate the 19th century community: just to one side of the new entrance will be the new HQ for the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, which manages 13 Oxfordshire church schools, while new conference and meeting rooms will be created on the other.

Sister-in-charge at the community Sister Stella said: "By sharing parts of the convent buildings with other organisations which share our ethos and objectives, the sisters are finding exciting new ways to reach out into the local community."

This initiative follows two other recently-completed projects on the convent site supporting local schools.

St Mary’s Lodge on Challow Road has been converted into six flats for newly-qualified teachers, aiming to help local schools to attract new staff, and the first residents are about to move in.

Another building on the convent site, known as the studio, has been converted into offices for the Vale Academy Trust which runs eight secondary and primary schools in Wantage and Abingdon.

The trustees who look after the community's funds as a charitable organisation said all the new developments were a direct link to the community's founding educational ambitions which saw it found St Mary's School in Wantage and St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon.

Chairman of trustees Alastair Hunter said: "Supporting education in local communities was one of the founding objectives of the community.

"We are delighted to be putting the resources of the charity to use to meet this objective in the 21st century."

Alongside the new activities, the sisters will continue to live at the convent and welcome guests from around the country who regularly come to the site to enjoy religious retreats and quiet days in the beautiful surroundings.

A planning application for the new glass entrance has been submitted to Vale of the White Horse District Council and it is hoped that work on the project will start in the middle of 2018.