Construction work is set to commence this September for the reconstruction of Ash Green Community Primary School in Calderdale, which was severely damaged by a fire incident that occurred on 1st February 2022. This arson attack, situated in Mixenden near Halifax, resulted in a significant blaze that engulfed four classrooms and various sections of the school’s upper site.

The extent of the damage necessitated the demolition of the affected building by Calderdale Council, ensuring the safety of the premises. Additionally, the remainder of the school suffered from smoke damage, demanding an extensive cleanup to maintain its operability. The local community rallied behind this effort, contributing £20,000 through a Community Foundation for Calderdale fundraiser, £8,000 via a crowdfunding campaign, along with various other donations.

Now, preparations are underway for the construction of a new facility that will connect with the existing school. The Department for Education Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) is financing this new structure, which will incorporate upgraded amenities to enhance the educational experience for students. This includes more spacious classrooms, level floors throughout with ramps for improved accessibility, and the creation of a new year-round outdoor play area and Multi-Use Games Area.

The new school building has been meticulously designed to incorporate sustainable features such as solar panels and air source heat pumps, enabling the building to generate its own energy. This aligns with Calderdale’s commitment to climate action and its ambitious goal to become a carbon-neutral community by 2038.

Thorough planning has been undertaken to ensure that the learning process can continue seamlessly during the construction phase.

The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Jane Scullion, said; “Eighteen months on from the devastating arson attack at Ash Green Community Primary School, I’m delighted that work is due to start on a new top-quality building to replace the fire-damaged part of the school.

“An awful lot of hard work has gone into ensuring that the project could progress as quickly as possible, with the new building including fantastic facilities to support a great learning environment, where children can achieve their best. The work has also been carefully planned around school activities to minimise any further disruption.

“The whole school community has shown incredible resilience since the fire and the local kindness shown in the immediate aftermath of the blaze was truly heart-warming, with people offering to help with the clean-up and supporting fundraising efforts. I’m pleased that we’ll soon be able to provide the area with this great new facility.”

Mungo Sheppard, Headteacher of Ash Green Community Primary School, added; “Since the night of February 1st 2022, our school and community has worked tirelessly to ‘build back better’ and reinstate a fantastic learning centre for Ash Green. We have been magnificently supported by the DfE, Calderdale Council, architects and other stakeholders in planning, procuring and now starting the rebuild. The next few months are very exciting as we look to get our children back where they belong in 2024.”