Lancashire

Fire-hit St Mary's College reopening on 16 September

Fire at St Mary's College Leyland
Image caption The fire broke on two days before pupils were due to return to school

A school in Lancashire badly damaged by a fire is to re-open on 16 September.

A blaze broke out at St Mary's Catholic Technology College, on Royal Avenue, Leyland on Sunday, two days before pupils were due to return after the summer.

Pupils will use part of the school which was not damaged in the fire and a site formerly owned by the school on Ribbleton Hall Drive, Preston.

Five boys, aged 11 to 15, were arrested on suspicion of arson and bailed.

Head teacher Kathryn McNicholas said all pupils will be back at the Royal Avenue site by the beginning of the spring term on 6 January in a mixture of surviving classrooms and temporary accommodation.

'Spirit remains intact'

Ms McNicholas said pupils being taught at the Preston site will be transported there on free buses.

She said: "I am confident that these temporary arrangements will enable us to continue to offer our pupils an excellent education."

"In parallel with these arrangements we will be pushing ahead with plans to rebuild the school on its current site.

"What has been inspirational at this difficult time is the realisation that, whatever has happened, the spirit of the school remains intact and resolute."

Lancashire County Council said the longer-term plan for Sir Tom Finney High School to move to the refurbished school building on the Ribbleton Hall Drive site remains unchanged.

Firefighters said foam roofing materials in part of the school, from the 1950s, plus the fact there was no sprinkler system, contributed to the rapid spread of the flames.

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