Senior Woodmill High pupils to return to lessons from Monday

Senior pupils at fire-hit Woodmill High School in Dunfermline have been told that they will be able to restart lessons next week - but no solution has yet been found for younger students.

A fire ripped through Woodmill High School on Sunday night.

Fife Council said meetings would take place with parents of children who attended Woodmill tomorrow morning after identifying "a possible opportunity" to house S5 and S6 pupils from Monday - but said they wanted to discuss the proposals with parents and other groups before making them public.

Other students may return to lessons on a "phased basis" from next week as council workers try to find accommodation and transport for them. Headteacher Sandy McIntosh insisted that the school would remain together as a community, adding that he expected children to wear uniforms while being taught in temporary accommodation.

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The fire, which broke out on Sunday night, began in the department of additional needs, but spread throughout the building, destroying many classrooms. A 14-year-old boy from Kirkcaldy appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court earlier this week, charged with wilful fire raising to danger of life.

Mr McIntosh said: “We have identified solutions that will allow S5 and S6 pupils to return to their learning from this coming Monday, 2 September. We know they’re anxious to pick up their certificate courses and we’re inviting parents and pupils to sessions tomorrow evening, to talk about how arrangements will work.

“We’ve identified a possible opportunity to accommodate our DAS pupils in a single facility from Monday 9 September. We need to discuss these proposals with a number of groups before we can talk about more detail publicly, but we’ll be speaking to our DAS families directly and hope to meet many of them on Friday."

He added: “Officers from across the council are still securing accommodation and transport for our 1,000 S1-S4 students – this is a large and complex task. We’re working on solutions that would keep whole year groups together and bring them all back into a school as soon as possible, which might be on a phased basis over the next week.

“To do that, we will have to use space within other secondary schools and community facilities in Fife, and there are still a lot of practical issues to work through. We will communicate with all the school communities that are likely to be affected as plans develop."

Fife Council executive director Carrie Lindsay warned on Tuesday that no part of the building had been “left untouched by fire” and said the school would be shut in the “short to medium term”, which is believed to be a number of weeks.

Mr McIntosh added: “Wherever our pupils and staff are hosted in the short-term, I’m keen to stress that we will still be maintaining our identity as Woodmill High, which will include wearing our uniforms. We’re all sad to have lost our school building, but the building itself doesn’t make a school - we are Woodmill!

“Lastly, I’d like to reiterate my thanks to everyone in the community for their support and, particularly, to thank our parents, pupils and staff for their patience during this difficult period.”

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding campaign to buy new equipment and resources for the school has reached more than £9,000 within two days of being set up.

Parent Karen Anderson, who launched the fundraising campaign on Just Giving, wrote on Tuesday night: “Just over 48hrs of fund raising and we are closing in on £9000! Thank you again to everyone!”

Support centres providing free school meals to Woodmill High School pupils have been set up across Dunfermline.