Lightening Strike School Re-opens

A Dorset School, badly damaged in a fire that was caused by a lightning strike, is back open today (09/01/13).

The blaze at Lytchett Minster school in Dorset was caused by a lightning bolt during storms just after Christmas.

It was the second fire at the school in 12 years.

It meant the creative arts block and Gainsford Theatre suffered major damage, with students' coursework being lost.

When it happened pupils, parents and staff wept as they gathered to watch the three-storey building burn, as dozens of fire crews from across the south west battled for hours to control the flames.

David Ruston, deputy head teacher (community) at the school, said everyone connected with Lytchett Minster was determined to ensure students' work lost in the fire would not affect their coursework grades.

Mr Ruston said: "It is obviously heartbreaking. But this school was described by Ofsted as 'outstanding' before the fire, and we're determined to be 'outstanding' again.

"The building was home to the school's arts faculty, drama, music and dance. Some coursework has been lost, but the school has a very good computer system which means some of it has been saved on the servers.

"We are liaising with the examining boards to explain this unusual situation. We are confident that, given the circumstances, they will be sympathetic.

"They appreciate teachers will have already graded students' work, so I'm sure that will be taken into consideration.''

Mr Ruston said a fantastic sense of community spirit had emerged as a result of the fire.

"We had a head teacher from a nearby school asking if there was anything they could do, a caretaker from elsewhere offering his help too, members of the public offering support - everybody has been fantastic.

"We are determined to battle back from this.''

Because they're short of classrooms the school can't have everyone back in at the same time, for details click here: