Academy chain in talks over new Wolverhampton secondary school site

A major academy chain has entered talks with council chiefs to find a site for a new secondary school in the Black Country.

The former Sainsbury's at St George's is one of the sites believed to be under consideration for a new school
The former Sainsbury's at St George's is one of the sites believed to be under consideration for a new school

Star Academies is set to open a new school in Wolverhampton in 2024 as part of a £1 billion plan first announced earlier this year by then education secretary Gavin Williamson.

Now bosses have revealed they have entered discussions with Wolverhampton Council over a number of potential site options for the school, which will cater for 11 to 16-year-olds.

The Lancashire-based chain has not revealed details of the sites under the microscope, although it is understood that the old Sainsbury's building at St George's is under consideration.

Other potential locations include part of the old Royal Hospital site, which has previously been earmarked for housing, a section of the upcoming Westside development, and part of the old bus depot site, which is currently being developed as the 'city gateway' scheme.

Star Academies, which runs 28 schools across the country, is understood to prefer a city centre site for the school.

Provisionally named Star Leadership Academy, it is on course to open with a Year 7 intake of 150 pupils each year, starting in 2024, up to a full allocation of 750 pupils.

The scheme was announced alongside rebuilding plans for a number of schools in the region, including St Peter's Collegiate CofE School in Wolverhampton and Wombourne High School in Staffordshire.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson, who campaigned for a new school in the city, said its opening would be a "huge boost" for Wolverhampton and would help bring further investment into the city.

"The important thing now is that this comes to fruition as quickly as possible so that children in the city are able to benefit from the opportunities that the school will bring," he said.

"The preferred option is for a city centre site, which could potentially link in with the city learning quarter and help regenerate the area.

Councillor Mike Hardacre, Wolverhampton Council's education chief, said: "The Department for Education has designated Star Academies as the provider for a new secondary school in Wolverhampton.

"We are working with Star Academies to ensure that the high quality of education they have offered in other schools is replicated in Wolverhampton."

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