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Exning Primary School reopens after fire with help of the community

PUBLISHED: 18:43 10 September 2015 | UPDATED: 18:43 10 September 2015

The scene of a fire at Exning Primary School. Headteacher, James Clark.

The scene of a fire at Exning Primary School. Headteacher, James Clark.

Archant

Pupils returned to their school in west Suffolk this week following an arson attack that destroyed a classroom.

The temporary classroom at Exning Primary School for the year one pupils.The temporary classroom at Exning Primary School for the year one pupils.

The blaze at Exning Primary School, which began in the early hours of Friday, September 4, hit the school on its first day of term.

The fire, which spread to the main school building, is being treated as arson and police have arrested two teenage girls in connection with the incident.

Since the blaze, which left children and staff “devastated,” the community has rallied round to ensure the year one pupils, who lost their classroom, could begin learning this week.

Exning Primary School headteacher James Clark said the year ones now have a temporary classroom in a group room.

The inside of the fire-damaged school.The inside of the fire-damaged school.

He said parents and volunteers had been “fantastic” in helping to kit it out with resources after the originals were lost in the blaze. “About 20 or 30 parents came in on Monday and some parents have been back to continue on Tuesday and yesterday.

“They have been cutting resources out, making resources, just bits of filing and labelling. There’s just so much work that goes into one plastic wallet of resources in a classroom.”

He added: “We are extremely grateful to our parents, and not just parents, but grandparents and people from the community turning up to help. That’s just been amazing.

“And local schools as well, they have been offering classrooms and help, whatever we want really.”

He said it is hoped the year one students will be able to return to their original classroom before Christmas.

Mr Clark praised the fire brigade for getting to the blaze so quickly and added it was also reassuring police has already made two arrests.

•A 17-year-old girl arrested on suspicion of arson following the fire at Exning Primary School has been bailed to return to police on September 26.

The teenager was detained on Monday and taken into custody at Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre where she was interviewed by officers about the blaze.

Emergency services were called at around 12.50am on September 4 after the fire, which is believed to have started in a shed adjacent to the school, spread to the main building.

A 16-year-old girl has already been arrested on suspicion of arson and has been bailed until September 18.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Bury St Edmunds CID on 101 quoting reference NE/15/1501.

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