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Pupils all set to return to school following arson attack

Pupils will be able to return to their school after half term following an arson attack which caused severe damage to parts of the building earlier this month.

Officers from Wolverhampton City Council have been working hard with staff to get St Alban's CofE Primary School back on its feet following the fire on the evening of Thursday 5 February.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the Ashmore Park school's main hall and adjacent office accommodation, and needed dozens of firefighters to bring it under control.

As a result of the fire St Alban's was closed to pupils last week with their education continuing at other schools around the local area including Coppice Performing Arts School and Berrybrook School. Nursery pupils found a temporary home at The Hub at Ashmore Park.

Since the fire, council staff have been hard at work cleaning up at the school, removing debris and damaged equipment and carrying out preparatory works prior to repairs to the ceiling and floor of the hall which will take place in the coming weeks.

While the hall and adjacent office accommodation will remain closed as the repair works continue, the rest of the school is expected to reopen to pupils on Monday (23 February, 2015) with 2 classrooms used as temporary dining rooms.

Parents are advised to check St Alban's CofE Primary School for further information regarding the reopening arrangements.

Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning, Councillor Phil Page, said: "The fact that St Alban's will be open to pupils again less than 3 weeks after the fire is tremendous news for pupils, parents and teachers.

"Our number one focus was on ensuring continuity of education for the pupils and thanks to everyone's hard work this has been achieved.

"I'd like to thank West Midlands Fire Service for doing an excellent job in tackling the blaze, which surely prevented the school from suffering much greater damage.

"I'd also like to pay tribute to the local community for rallying around St Alban's in its time of need, from The Hub at Ashmore Park which organised activity sessions for children the day after the fire and then provided a temporary home for the nursery, to the pupils at other schools who have made their fellow children so welcome.

"It's good to see such amazing gestures of goodwill, and that something positive can come out of a mindless act of vandalism which put lives at risk."

In a letter to parents, Head of School Joanne Jones said: "The pupils, staff and Governors of St Alban's would like to thank everyone for the astonishing support which has been shown since the fire took place.

"It has been heartening to see the local, and wider, community rally around the school to ensure that there has been minimum disruption to the education of our children."

West Midlands Police are treating the incident as arson, and ask anyone with any information to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Detective Inspector Mark Rushton from Wolverhampton police station said: "We are determined to catch the culprits. I believe that the answer to who did this lies within the community and I would appeal to anyone who has any information that could help us identify the arsonists to call us.

"No matter how insignificant you feel the information is it could be crucial to our case."

  • released: Wednesday 18 February, 2015