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Appeal for help to rebuild classroom

The Forest School before and after the fire
The Forest School before and after the fire

Staff at a special school in Dudley have appealed for help from the community to rebuild a classroom after it was gutted by fire.

The wooden building, which was part of Pens Meadow’s Forest School at its post-16 unit on the former Pensnett High School site, was destroyed in a blaze last month.

The Forest School, which also had a bird hide, pond dipping area and camp fire circle, was paid for by school fundraising activities and built by volunteers and students.

Now staff at the school, which caters for pupils with severe and complex needs, are appealing for help towards the significant cost of replacing the facility.

Jodie Colbourne, deputy headteacher at Pens Meadow, said:

“This project has proved to be a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to explore the outdoors, as well as giving our post-16 youngsters valuable work experience.

“All of our pupils have developed confidence and independence skills, as well as a sense of team work and being closer to nature.  

“As a school we have invested in training three members of staff to lead Forest School sessions to ensure pupils have every opportunity to be in the woodland.

“Most recently other special schools have also been able to access this facility.

“We are very saddened and frustrated that this area of our school has been subject to vandalism and most recently a large fire which has destroyed our wooden classroom. This will now limit the amount of pupils that can take part in Forest School lessons and we are not in position to fund a replacement.

“We would like to thank the staff, families and friends of Pens Meadow for their unified support and determination to rebuild the area.

“We will be looking into fundraising ideas in the very near future, and any offers of help will be very gratefully received.”

Around 10 firefighters were at work for more than an hour at the Tiled House Lane site to tackle the fire, while the cause remains unknown.

Anyone who can help is urged to contact the school on (01384) 818945 or email info@pens-meadow.dudley.sch.uk

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