Children to return to fire damaged school

Cllr Nick BennettCHILDREN at a school ravaged by fire will be able to return to the classroom this week after temporary arrangements were put in place.

Around half of the teaching areas at Shinewater Primary School, in Langney, Eastbourne, were damaged in a suspected arson attack in the early hours of Monday.

Some of the children will begin to return to the school tomorrow (Wednesday, October 14 2015) with all pupils due to resume their studies by Friday.

Youngsters in reception class, years one, two and three and nursery children will return to the non-damaged areas of the school, while years four, five and six will temporarily be based in classrooms at West Rise Junior School, a short distance away.

These arrangements will continue until the end of next week, when the school breaks up for the October half term.

Temporary classrooms will then be installed on the Shinewater site, and it is hoped all children will be back at the school when the children return on Monday, November 2.

Cllr Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for learning and school effectiveness (pictured), said: “This has been an extremely difficult and trying time for everyone involved with Shinewater Primary School.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the head teacher and her staff for their leadership and resilience, and the community in Eastbourne for the way they’ve rallied round to ensure the children can return to education as quickly as possible.

“It’s too early to say what the cost of the damage will be or when the school will be able to be refurbished, but the temporary arrangements being put in place mean we can minimise the impact on children’s learning.”

Children at the school who are waiting to return are able to do work via online learning, while parents are being kept informed of developments via a text message service.

Theresa Buttery, head teacher of Shinewater Primary School, said: “Myself and everyone involved with the school are absolutely devastated by the fire and the damage it’s caused.

“The staff work phenomenally hard and do their utmost for the children and we are all determined that the school will recover from this and we will rebuild it better than ever.

“I’d like to thank the fire service for their phenomenal efforts, without which the damage to our school could have been a lot worse, and the police for their prompt action.”

Timetable for return

Wednesday, October 14
Nursery, reception, year one and year two children will return to school all day.
A meeting will be held with parents at 2.30pm to talk about the incident.

Thursday, October 15
Year three children will return to school all day and a meeting will be held with parents at 9.15am.
Year four and class 5FC will come in for the morning only and a meeting will be held with parents at 12.15pm.
Year six and class 5SD will come in for the afternoon from 1pm to 3pm and a meeting with parents will be held at 3pm.

Friday, October 16
All children back at school for a full day.
Years four, five and six will meet at Shinewater and walk to their temporary base at West Rise Junior School

Breakfast Club and After-school Club will operate from Thursday onwards.