Oldbury school's new building opens after a decade of campaigning by parents and staff

A new school building in Oldbury has opened for pupils after a decade of campaigning for its expansion.

Lord Lieutenant John Crabtree OBE opening the new school building at Bristnall Hall Academy
Lord Lieutenant John Crabtree OBE opening the new school building at Bristnall Hall Academy

Bristnall Hall Academy won permission to build a new two-storey teaching block to offer an extra 150 pupil places in August last year after families and bosses pushed for a decade for the school to be expanded.

The scheme comes after the authority approved a £21 million investment in classrooms for nearly 1,000 students at three academies in the borough.

The building will provide four new classrooms, a kitchen, dining area and space for student support to be built on the school’s existing tennis courts.

The loss of the tennis courts had led Sport England to object saying the plans don’t provide alternative provision.

At the planning committee meeting, held in Sandwell Council in August last year, Mr Kully Uppal, headteacher at Bristnall Hall Academy, described the school as “over-subscribed”. As one of the highest performing academy within Sandwell, Mr Uppal was determined to “have as many places available as possible” for his prospective students.

Speaking at the opening of the building, Mr Uppal said: “I am relieved and really pleased to see the opening of this new building for our pupils here at Bristnall Hall Academy.

“After the pandemic and the tremendous upheaval caused by it to our pupils and our teachers, it is so great to be able to provide new facilities to our school.

“This building expansion represents the continued efforts of our school, to bring education to life, and to build on our reputation as a ‘good’ school rated by Ofsted.”

Inside the new school building at Bristnall Hall Academy

He added: “I look forward to our pupils and teachers returning to our school to teach at these world-class facilities.”

John Wood, OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, said: “This school has a fantastic reputation, with real energy, and a whole series of initiatives.

“The last time I attended this school they did a fantastic charity record event for Sandwell Hospital. That just shows the commitment this school has to its pupils and the wider community.”

He added: “It’s an honour for me to come.”

Councillor Ellen Rachael Fenton, Bristnall ward, who attended Bristnall Hall Academy as a teenager, said it felt “surreal” to come back to the school in her professional capacity.

She said: “It has changed massively. This is a terrific school. It’s amazing to see that this hall now has special facilities for SEND pupils and a fully fledged catering area. It will always have a special place in my heart.”

John Spellar, MP for Warley, said: “A major problem in Sandwell is excess numbers of pupils. These extra facilities will be a real boon to the area.

“Extra capacity will be very much welcomed to Bristnall Hall Academy. This is a school that parents want their pupils to attend. It’s had a really good succession of headteachers.

“Often, some school are reluctant to make extra room for pupils and I commend Bristnall Hall Academy for taking this much needed step that will benefit pupils and their parents alike.”

The new facilities are part of Sandwell council’s £21 million investment in extra classrooms for nearly 1,000 students in the borough.

Q3 Academy Langley and West Bromwich Collegiate Academy have also won funding to create an extra 840 pupil places.

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