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Fire-damaged academy to be fully operational for new term

Students and parents have been reassured the academy will be fully operational in time for the start of the new school year

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 26, 2015 | Facilities & buildings

Fire destroyed a classroom block at The Freeston Academy in Normanton last week. The cause is not being treated as suspicious.

Acting Principal Mike Tarr said classes due to have taken place in the block and been reallocated elsewhere across the large academy site: “I’d like to reassure parents and students that the Academy will re-open as scheduled after the summer holidays on Wednesday, 2nd September. 

“The block affected might look a mess but the site will be safe and secure for the return of our students. That is a priority. 

“The fire affected less than 10% of the school site and was not on the scale initially reported.” 

The fire-damaged block included the library, two ICT classrooms, a learning support room and a hospitality and catering suite, with its industrial kitchen and canteen area. 

Tarr continued: “We’ve lost the books in the library but the impact on students is minimal because, while the ICT rooms have been destroyed, their work is stored on our central server which is housed elsewhere rather than the individual computers.” 

The block was built in the 1960s.

“The incident is not what we would have wanted but at least it is during the holidays and is something we’re able to cope with,” said Mr Tarr. “I’d like to thank the staff who’ve come in to help out and Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) for its support during this difficult time.” 

The Freeston Academy has been given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Education following a consultation process to join WCAT. It does not join the Trust formally until 1st September. 

Alan Yellup OBE, its Chief Executive Officer, was sorry to hear about the fire. 

“The important thing is that nobody was injured,” he said. “While The Freeston Academy does not formally join us until September, we are fully committed to it and won’t let an incident like this deter us from our long term aims and ambitions for the Academy. 

“Colleagues have been on site working with its senior management team to ensure everything will be as normal as it can be for its re-opening on 2nd September.

“I’d like to thank everybody who has come together to ensure there will be continuity for the students."    

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