The Sandwell Academy is the third in the family of our major schools in the Midlands preceded by the Thomas Telford School and the Walsall Academy. This Academy was sponsored by Thomas Telford Online (the curriculum software arm of the Thomas Telford School), the Mercers’ Livery Company, HSBC Educational Trust and West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
It lies in the crook of the arm of the A41 and the M5 to the south-east of junction 1 in the heart of Sandwell, West Midlands.
Instigated by the Mercers’ Livery Company following the success of their new academy at Walsall, Sandwell District Council offered a site next door to West Bromwich Albion Football Club for another Academy. Close to the famous Hawthorns pub the site was generally waste ground, with a small primary school to one side that was relocated by the local authority.
The major challenge was not the ground conditions but the fact that the national grid itself swung precariously over the site and had to be literally buried beneath the playing fields before construction could begin.
The sporting nature of the site with the large football stands facing the building was irresistible and the amphitheatre-like design - carrying on many of the techniques used at Walsall some three years earlier - faces the football ground. All the teaching facilities are on just two floors with science and teaching on the south wing and physical education on the north. The horseshoe-like design created a natural small running track which has been readily adopted by the Academy and the “Sandwell Run” is now an annual competition for prizes.
Apart from the playing fields immediately behind the school the academy was lucky enough to acquire some land across the A41 to the north and the construction project run by BHM also involved closing the A41 at midnight and swinging a new bridge across this major trunk road.
"BHM designed a building which not only inspires students, staff, parents and visitors; they have worked with us to agree a well thought out design with excellent learning environments which have undoubtedly contributed to our record breaking student outcomes."
Head, Sandwell Academy