Parents complain of chaos after Woodmill High fire

Pupils are being taught at schools across Fife until temporary accommodation opens next year. Picture: PA
Pupils are being taught at schools across Fife until temporary accommodation opens next year. Picture: PA
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Pupils are missing lessons in vital subjects and enduring a chaotic timetable after their school was devastated in a blaze, parents say.

They say children at Woodmill High School, in Dunfermline, Fife, have been taught the wrong subjects and have been missing out on up to 10 hours of lessons a week.

Nine appliances, carrying more than 40 firefighters, were sent to the secondary school. Picture: PA

Nine appliances, carrying more than 40 firefighters, were sent to the secondary school. Picture: PA

The school was badly damaged on 26 August and a 14-year-old boy was later charged with wilful fire-raising to the danger of life. Pupils are being taught at schools across Fife until temporary accommodation opens next year.
In a letter to parents, depute head Stuart Fraser admitted interim timetables had “caused anxiety” and were “not perfect”.

Pupils working towards National 5s - the equivalent of O Grades or Standard Grades - have not been taught the curriculum. Other pupils were not offered any of the three science subjects - physics, chemistry and biology - but were instead taught basic laboratory skills.

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Class time was also reduced by up to 10 hours a week for some pupils, according to families. Parent Patricia Hunter said: “Initially, S3 pupils were taught subjects they didn’t pick. That was the case for a number of weeks. My daughter wasn’t happy about it and I wasn’t happy about it.”

Debbie Eason, who has twin daughters in S4, said: “My girls are worried sick about their prelims. I have spoken to several of their friends and they all feel they are nowhere near ready.

They have not had any homework. My daughters want to be PE teachers and they’ve been given 16 weeks of table tennis. What is that teaching them?”

"Stress levels are very high"

Wilma Pirie, president of Fife EIS teachers’ union, said: “The management and education service have tried to do as much as they can to mitigate the level of stress but, by the very nature of Woodmill staff having to go to different sites to teach, stress levels are very high.”

Fife Council education chief Shelagh McLean said: “The first few weeks were particularly challenging, and interim timetables were put in place while staff and pupils settled into new arrangements over the six sites being used to house them. Now all of our 1,400 pupils are studying the appropriate timetables for their age and stage.”