West Midlands Fire Service and West Midlands Police today confirmed they were treating the fire at St Alban’s Primary School fire as arson, the fire broke out shortly after 8pm yesterday (Thursday 5 February, 2015), with dozens of firefighters battling to bring the blaze under control.
Councillor Phil Page, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning, said: “This was a mindless act of arson which could have put lives at risk.”
He added: “Incidents like this, terrible though they are, often bring out the best in people and I’d like to thank members of the local community who have rallied around in the school’s time of need – particularly the team at The Hub at Ashmore Park who arranged arts and crafts activities for pupils this morning to keep them occupied, and local community groups who have offered the use of their facilities by pupils if required.”
Officers from the City of Wolverhampton Council were at the school yesterday evening and again this morning to assess the damage caused by the blaze, which was centred around the main hall and surrounding corridors and office accommodation.
The building also has smoke and water damage and more than 20 square metres of roofing is likely to need replacing, though most classrooms were fortunately largely unaffected.
The clean-up operation led by the council will continue throughout today and into next week, and it is unlikely the school will be able to reopen before half-term. The council has therefore worked with the school to make alternative arrangements for pupils next week.
On Monday 9th February can all Year 5 and Year 6 children report to Coppice High School (Ecclestone Road, Wednesfield, WV11 2QE) for 8:45am.
Reception, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3/4 children will be accommodated at Berrybrook Primary School (Greenacres Avenue, Underhill, WV10 8NZ).
They will be transported by coach supervised by St. Alban’s staff.
The coach leaves at 9:00am and will return for 3:00pm.
They will be taught by St. Alban’s staff and have their own area away from Berrybrook pupils.
A sandwich meal will be provided for lunch (children can also take packed lunches from home if they prefer).
Nursery classes will be held at The Hub at Ashmore Park? from 9am – 12pm Monday – Friday
Mrs Morris and Mrs Jones are committed to ensuring the continued education of all of the children at St Alban’s C of E Primary School.
St Albans Primary will keep parents updated with arrangements over the coming days – parents are asked to check the school website atwww.stalbansprimary.co.uk for details and we’ll also try and keep you up to date through our pages.
St Albans Primary School has thanked the fire service and community for their support and Headteacher Helen Morris said: “Everyone at St Alban’s would like to thank the whole of the Ashmore Park community for their support.
“Unfortunately it is too early for help to come into the school at the moment but we know that you are thinking of us and thinking of the children. Thank you for your continued support.”
At its height, a total of eight fire engines and a hydraulic platform were used to tackle the blaze.
Detective Inspector Mark Rushton from Wolverhampton police station said: “This is mindless vandalism that has struck at the heart of the community, depriving children of their education.
“The disruption this has caused to parents, pupils and staff is astounding and 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.
“If you have heard anyone talk about this and you feel that the information they have is suspicious then please call us. No matter how insignificant you feel the information is it could be crucial to our case.”