Search for classrooms for pupils at fire-hit school

Staff at a school damaged in a large fire said they have been 'overwhelmed' by the support they have received.
Fire crews were praised for their effortsFire crews were praised for their efforts
Fire crews were praised for their efforts

Westleigh Methodist Primary School, in Westleigh, was badly damaged when a blaze broke out on Sunday morning.

An investigation has discovered the fire was caused by an electrical fault in solar panels embedded on the roof of one of the school buildings.

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Investigation uncovers cause of fire at primary school

The school has been closed due to the damage.

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In a joint statement, executive headteacher Julie-Ann Hewitt and headteacher Cathy Whalley said: “Westleigh Methodist Primary School experienced a devastating fire that destroyed a number of classrooms and areas to the school. We are very thankful for the swift response of local residents and the amazing work of the fire crews who managed to save a significant part of the school.

“The local community, including the church and neighbouring schools, have offered tremendous support to our school family and this will help us in moving forward positively. As we face numerous challenges ahead in getting our school building restored as quickly as possible, we will collectively embrace this with resilience and determination.

“We are hoping that year six will be able to attend classes later in the week but the school will remain closed for all other pupils until after the Easter holidays.

“We are looking at various options for the school to function whilst the work required takes place, including utilising rooms within the building that remain intact, and exploring spare classrooms in local schools and temporary classrooms.

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“We have been overwhelmed by the support from the wider borough and feel fortunate to belong to such a caring community and extend our gratitude to them.

“We will keep parents updated with the school arrangements as soon as they have been made.”

The community has rallied around to help the school since the blaze started.

Parent Kerry Harris, who has two children at the school, set up an online appeal to raise money for school supplies so they can create new artwork.

More than £200 has been donated so far.

She said: “As parents we wanted to do something. It was to get as much as we could.”

Donations to Mrs Harris’s appeal can be made here