Pupils return to fire-ravaged school

A SCHOOL ravaged by fire resumed some level of normal activity as it welcomed its first pupils for the start of term.Copleston High School in Ipswich, which was partially devastated in a suspected arson attack last month, received its new Year Seven pupils yesterday while also welcoming the return of its sixth form.

By Danielle Nuttall

A SCHOOL ravaged by fire resumed some level of normal activity as it welcomed its first pupils for the start of term.

Copleston High School in Ipswich, which was partially devastated in a suspected arson attack last month, received its new Year Seven pupils yesterday while also welcoming the return of its sixth form.

Bill Robinson, chair of governors, said the day ran without any glitches and praised the attitude and hard work of staff in enabling the school to get back to some form of normality.


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Pupils in Years 10 and 11 are due to start back on Monday while those in Years Eight and Nine will return on Tuesday.

Mr Robinson said: “It has gone from despair to a real positive mood of wanting to get the school ready for pupils to get back to the business of education. It is very commendable and I am sure parents would appreciate that.

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“It all went very well this morning. They have the newcomers in the school and held an assembly as part of the introduction process.

“They were helped around the school to get familiar with the layout of the school which has changed a bit because of the building and demolition work.

“It has been a successful day. Obviously we welcome another two year groups on Monday which will be the next step.”

The fire happened on Sunday, August 27 and is believed to have been started deliberately.

The cost of the damage is unknown but it is believed to be much more than the £100,000 previously reported.

On Tuesday, experts from CDC Demolition Ltd used machinery pulled down the first floor of the central school building which used to house a staff room, offices and science lab.

“I went up there yesterday and saw the plans and operation to welcome the new seventh year. It's the first day of their new school and we wanted to make that as uneventful as possible,” said Mr Robinson.

“I was perfectly satisfied that the head and staff had made sure safety was paramount. The flow around the corridors will be more difficult than normal but it will enable pupils to get to their classes.

“It was essential we had a phased process, to bring all 900 back in one day would be impossible.”

n An 18-year-old man has been arrested and bailed in connection with the suspected arson attack.

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