Fire school pupils get an extra week off

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Pupils of a fire ravaged Leyland school have been granted another week’s holiday as plans are put in place to accommodate the hundreds of children affected by the drama.

Leyland St Mary’s Headteacher Kathy McNicholas advised on the school website yesterday that parents should make arrangements to keep all pupils at home for the remainder of this week, as the school will not be accessible.

Fire aftermath at Leyland St Mary's Catholic Technology College

Fire aftermath at Leyland St Mary's Catholic Technology College

It is thought that around half of the school buildings have been completely destroyed in the blaze which started on Sunday, and will have to be demolished.

It comes as staff were due back at the Royal Avenue high school on Monday, and students were supposed to return from the summer break today.

Miss McNicholas told the Guardian: “This is very sad for pupils and staff.

“It’s just terrible. Everyone is very proud of the school, and we’d just had a £250,000 refurbishment programme completed over the summer holidays, with a new ICT suite, furniture and furnishings, and a new chapel.

“It’s just all gone. People are taking this quite personally, we’re all feeling very hurt.”

School governor, Coun Michael Green, said: “We really believed at one point that we would lose the whole school.

“It started near the science block and spread to a three-storey building, which housed a lot of subjects.”

Coun Matthew Tomlinson, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, added: “We’re working really hard to get a plan together to accommodate more than 700 pupils, and we’re exploring a number of options as we talk to local schools and Runshaw College.

“We’re even looking at a site in Ribbleton, Preston, where there is a school building which closed a number of years ago.

“The headteacher is keen to keep as much of the school together as possible, rather than spreading the students and staff across Leyland.

“This really is a tragedy for the whole town.”