School targeted by arsonists bounces back

RL Hughes Primary Year Five pupils from left, Madeline Briars Wheeler, Michael Clarke, Isabella Partington, Jack Scarborough, Lilly McManus and Jonathan Faulkner with Headteacher Monica Middlehurst in their newly refurbished classroom after an arson attack in December
RL Hughes Primary Year Five pupils from left, Madeline Briars Wheeler, Michael Clarke, Isabella Partington, Jack Scarborough, Lilly McManus and Jonathan Faulkner with Headteacher Monica Middlehurst in their newly refurbished classroom after an arson attack in December

Pupils have returned to their classroom at a Wigan school - just seven weeks after it was destroyed in an arson attack.

Lessons for year five children have been held in the hall since the blaze at RL Hughes Primary School in Ashton in December.

Headteacher Monica Middlehurst surveys the scene of devastation

Headteacher Monica Middlehurst surveys the scene of devastation

A team of builders from Parkinson’s have been working hard to refurbish the damaged classroom as quickly as possible.

And now the pupils have been able to return to the revamped room for their lessons.

Headteacher Monica Middlehurst said: “The children have been great. They are great children so they coped, but they are glad to be back in the classroom.”

The fire started when a shed was set alight at around 10.05pm on Friday, December 9. The flames spread to the main school building and badly damaged the classroom used by year five pupils.

Firefighters spent three hours tackling the blaze and prevented it causing further damage to the building on Mayfield Street.

Mrs Middlehurst said: “It was the roof that was destroyed and one of the external walls was compromised. They had to rebuild the external wall and partially rebuild the roof. It’s had a refurbishment inside as well.”

She praised Parkinson’s for doing a “great job” and Wigan Council.

She said: “Wigan Council have been great at supporting us. Their quick action in response to the fire has been really good.”

Police are continuing to investigate the arson attack. A 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of arson but police decided not to take any further action against him.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111.