The new Black Country and Staffordshire schools aiming to ease demand on crowded classrooms
Several schools could be built in the Black Country and Staffordshire over the next few years to ensure there are enough school places to meet demand.
Figures from the Department for Education have already revealed numerous schools across the region were at, or above, full capacity as of May 1 last year.
But there is good news for families with a string of schools either set to be built across the region, or are making their way through the planning process.
One notable school is at the former site of the Rugeley Power Station in Staffordshire.
The free school, proposed to be built on the cleared Engie site, is set to open its doors in September 2023 and will eventually cater to 1,400 pupils and a nursery.
The all-through school will be run by the John Taylor Multi Academy Trust (JTMAT) and will be open to nursery, reception and Year 7 pupils in 2023.
It forms part of Engie's major development of 2,300 homes and up to 12.36 acres of employment space which has received outline planning approval.
JTMAT CEO Mike Donoghue said: "We are naturally excited and extremely proud to have been given the responsibility to lead the new school at Rugeley.
"With a growing trust that currently comprises many local good and outstanding primary and secondary schools, and a track record of successfully delivering a large free school, we felt that we were well-placed to offer an exciting, high quality, and innovative offer to the children and families in the area.
"Focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from nursery through to Sixth Form, we will do all that we can to make this school outstanding and stand out. I’m delighted that, after a rigorous application and interview process, the selection panel agreed.
"Now the work begins in earnest to fulfil our vision to create the best school we possibly can. The application was very much a team effort, and so will be our work to deliver the school to the community.
"We look forward to working alongside our partner organisations to make all this happen. We couldn’t be more thrilled."
Elsewhere, there could be a modern technology school planned for Wednesfield – the Wednesfield Technology Primary School – which would see the disused Edward the Elder Primary and Nursery School situated on Lichfield Road torn down.
The building, which dates back to 1910 but closed in 2007, has been earmarked for demolition on May 12 to make way for the new school, run by the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust.
The development has been met with a mixed reaction from former students who have been left "very sad" another historic building will be torn down in the area – but welcomed the move for a new school to help youngsters for generations to come.
Meanwhile Star Academies is reportedly looking to open a new school in Wolverhampton in 2024 as part of a £1 billion plan first announced last year by then Education Secretary Sir Gavin Williamson.
Bosses have revealed they have entered discussions with the authority over a number of potential site options for the school, which will cater for 11 to 16-year-olds in the city. 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. No date has been set for when this school will be open.
And a school twinned with the Symphony Orchestra is set to be built on the infamous Providence Place in Sandwell – sold at a loss to the council and previously called a "humongous mismanagement".
Plans have been put forward to convert the building into a school run by the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust and tied with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
The Shireland CBSO Academy is said to cater for around 870 pupils, and will be the first such non-fee school in the country to be sponsored by a world famous orchestra. Every child will be given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, with tuition delivered in partnership with Sandwell Music Service, as well as regularly attending CBSO concerts at Symphony Hall.
It comes after a report published last September revealed the council had lost £22.5 million of taxpayers money after selling 1 Providence Place to the Department of Education for only £8.46 million.