Plans revealed for special needs school on site of fierce fire

Plans for a new school set to rise from the ashes of a former Phoenix school have been revealed.

The fire at Manor High in 2019
The fire at Manor High in 2019

The Elm Tree Primary Academy for children with special education needs is to be built on the site of the former Manor High School on Friar Park Road in Wednesbury.

Manor High was operated by Phoenix Collegiate until its closure in 2015. In March 2019 a blaze fought by 10 fire crews and 60 firefighters completely gutted the three-storey structure causing it to collapse.

Councillor Simon Hackett welcomed the plans saying it will allow pupils to easily move into a secondary school already nearing completion on the same site.

An artist's impression of proposed Elm Tree Primary Academy on Friar Park Road, Wednesbury. Photo: DPP planning.

He said: "I have been told by parents we need a seamless progression for children with special education needs into a high school also designed to provide the support they need.

"We haven’t had this type of provision in this part of Sandwell before and it will be welcomed by pupils and mums and dads. I’ve campaigned for sometime to bring this site back into use and I’m really pleased this is now moving forward."

The new building will be run by Victoria Academies Trust for pupils aged five to 11 years with a diagnosis of autism and moderate learning difficulties.

The proposed one-storey teaching block will be able to accommodate up to 126 children.

The aftermath of the fire in 2019

Announcing the development, planning constants DPP said: "The primary school will complement High Point Academy, the new secondary special school, which is currently under construction on the southern part of the former Phoenix Collegiate site.

"The design team have worked closely with the trust to ensure that the building and wider campus is functional and suitable for the needs of its pupils.

"The school building itself will house teaching spaces, dining areas and a main hall as well as specialist spaces such as sensory rooms and therapy rooms to cater to the individualised curriculum and needs of each child."

Based in Sandwell, Victoria Academies Trust runs nine schools in the West Midlands including the Victoria Park Primary and Devonshire Junior and Infant academies in Smethwick.

Plans for the new school are expected to be submitted to Sandwell Council in the near future.

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