Fire destroys classrooms at school in town

One of the classrooms at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy that was burned to the ground.
One of the classrooms at St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy that was burned to the ground.

A fire has completely destroyed two classrooms at a Bedlington school, with police treating it as arson.

Two other mobile classrooms were damaged at the same time, approximately 1.30am on Thursday, October 26, and St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy has confirmed that the devastation will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair.

The scene when the fire was ablaze.

The scene when the fire was ablaze.

However, thanks to the efforts of staff coming in during what was half-term, the school was able to run to normal timetable from Monday. The area of the fire has been fenced off.

Headteacher Con Todd was informed of the fire by the school’s caretaker and said he was shocked to see that the two classrooms were “completely burned to the ground” when he arrived at the site on Thursday morning.

He added: “This is a culmination of things as we’ve previously had intruders on the school grounds and these classrooms are on the periphery of what is a very big site.

“As for the classrooms that were damaged but not destroyed, a structural survey will be carried out to assess their condition.

“Our students are horrified by what has happened and I’m confident that the police will find the culprit or culprits based on the information provided by several students, which we have passed on to officers.

“A number of teachers and other staff came in that day and the following days to make sure that important work, such as GCSE and A-Level coursework, was retrieved from other classrooms in this area in case there was a copycat incident.

“And thanks to their hard work, we’ve not cancelled a single lesson.

“Some are not in an ideal place, as we’ve had to use the library, meetings room and Sixth Form study areas as classrooms, but we’ve managed to operate as normal.

“We’re very grateful to parents, governors (some of whom also came into school), the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and the Department for Education for their support, as well as other schools for offers of equipment.

“We will now look into what we can do to increase security at our site.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said the fire is being treated as arson.

Any witnesses or anyone with information about it are asked to call officers on 101 and quote reference 220 of 26/10/17.