A BULWELL school has been forced to remain closed extending the Christmas holidays for most pupils after a fire hit the school.
Luckily only a store cupboard at St Mary’s Primary suffered severe damage in the blaze which happened on Friday January 4 and has been blamed on an electrical fault.
But due to the central location of the cupboard where the fire started, smoke has contaminated most of the building and its contents forcing the closure on health and safety grounds.
Headteacher at the Ragdale Road school, Daniel Farthing, said that despite initially thinking they had come out pretty unscathed from the blaze, the effects are far-reaching.
“We thought initially that everything was okm apart from the contents of the cupboard,” said Mr Farthing who has been head for 18 months. “But the extent of the smoke damage is significant and we have had to call in industrial cleaners to sort it out.”
The school will remain closed for the rest of this week but staff are hopeful it will reopen on Monday.
“Year six pupils were invited back on Wednesday as their classroom is a mobile unit separate from the school and was therefore unaffected,” explained Mr Farthing. “However because the kitchen can’t be used at the moment the local authority are providing packed lunches for the pupils.”
Colourful displays of pupils’ work has had to be stripped from the walls and skipped and equipment, furniture and toys professionally cleaned in a bid to save them.
“Unfortunately a lot of hard work by staff and pupils has been lost in the fire and most of the toys from the foundation unit have had to be binned,” added Mr Farthing.
“It has been very shocking and upsetting for all staff who have had to come back from the break and been forced to face this.”
It could have been much worse though as it was the sounding of the alarm that alerted police to the site initially in the early hours. The fire was spotted prompting swift action by the fire service who soon had the blaze under control.
The community has been rallying round St Mary’s since news of their plight has been heard. Top Valley School has offered accommodation if required and Tesco staff at the Bulwell store has had a whip round and collected £500 to help towards replacing toys lost in the foundation unit.
Mr Farthing is disappointed that the school was forced to delay opening but said it was necessary on health and safety grounds.
“The children have lost a week’s education and the impact to parents and carers, who have had to find childcare at short notice after two weeks holidays, is huge,” he said. “We are keeping parents informed through the text alert system and local radio but hope to be back up and running on Monday.”