A school which was ravaged by a fire four months ago will welcome its pupils back next week.

The blaze ripped through SS St Jude CE Primary School on Thursday, August 17, just weeks before the next term at school was going to start.

At the fire's height, 17 fire engines from across Greater Manchester were called in to tackle it. 

Around 85 firefighters and 100 fire and rescue staff overall were called to the scene, according to Rochdale station manager Gary Weight.

The Bolton News: The fire at SS Simon and Jude's CE Primary SchoolThe fire at SS Simon and Jude's CE Primary School (Image: GMCA)

Following the fire, pupils at the Newport Road school have been learning at three learning hubs, the Railway Club on Green Lane, Bolton Cricket Club and a site opposite Mount St Josephs.

But now the school is reopening on Tuesday, December 12 with temporary classrooms and related buildings in place for the 554 pupils.

Portable buildings provider Portable Offices organised a range of portable primary classrooms, early years spaces, toilets and washrooms, offices, and canteen facilities to be fitted on the adjacent playing field.

Portable Offices has extensive experience in disaster recovery and manager, Ian Smith, exemplified this commitment by empathetically working with the school to learn of their requirements and initiate a thorough disaster recovery plan.

A total of 73 buildings were delivered to site which included 69 modular sections.

The playing field will be returned to its existing use once the school is rebuilt, which will take approximately three years.

Portable Offices manager Ian Smith said: “We are accustomed to responding quickly to disaster recovery contracts and were able to pull out all of the stops to get a range of buildings to site in just five weeks.

“Groundworks on the playing field were prepared in record time and we had seven and half days of solid cranage rolling out.

“At one point, we had a team of around 30 people on site literally all working closely as a team to bring the project to fruition.

“The greatest challenge was one of logistics – we had to create a new access road to the site up a steady incline and worked closely with ground workers and the end user, solving problems as they occurred.”

The buildings will be ready for handover to school staff on December 11.

School principal, Miss Katie Jones, said: “The portables are an excellent temporary alternative provision to our original building, and we are looking forward to welcoming the pupils back.”

Trust CEO Jill Albertina said: “Huge thanks to the whole team working on our education village.

“Everyone has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting the educational journey of our children.

“We are excited about the opening of our village, it is wonderful to bring pupils, staff, and families back together, within such a short space of time, following the devastating fire.

“Our community coming together really has made the impossible possible— truly living the trust value of ‘not setting a limit on what is possible for ourselves, for one another and for our community.”

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @chloewjourno.