Sussex

Selsey Academy fire: Arson theory dismissed as 'tosh'

Selsey Academy fire
Image caption Large sections of the school have been reduced to a skeleton

There is "nothing to suggest" a blaze that destroyed a secondary school was caused by pupils, the fire service has said.

It dismissed suggestions of an arson attack on Selsey Academy in West Sussex as "complete tosh".

Investigators are sifting through the remains after the blaze, which broke out on Sunday morning.

The county council said it was working with the school's trust on plans for the start of the new term in September.

It said it would "ensure the education of pupils is not affected" and its top priority would be letting pupils and parents know where they would be based.

Image copyright West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The library building was saved but much of the school is a smoking ruin

The Kemnal Academies Trust said it wanted to ensure "children of the Selsey Academy can return to school as soon as possible".

It has arranged for pupils for collect their GCSE results, due on Thursday morning, from the local primary school, Seal.

Sussex Police said officers were not investigating the fire.

Dr Chrissie Tizzard, who lives opposite the school, described the smoke engulfing the building as "like an apocalypse".

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Media captionSmoke and flames were seen coming from Selsey Academy
Image copyright West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Large sections of the school have been destroyed by fire
Image copyright West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Plumes of smoke spread across the town
Image copyright West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Aerial pictures show the extent of the destruction at the school

Selsey Academy

  • Opened in September 2011 as part of the Kemnal Academies Trust
  • Formerly known as The Manhood School
  • Smaller than average mixed secondary with 453 students aged 11-16
  • Last year, 47% of GCSE students gained five or more A* to C passes including English and Maths
  • The school was rated inadequate in an Ofsted inspection in March 2013
  • A July 2014 inspection upgraded it to "requires improvement"
  • Current head teacher Tom Garfield took up his post in January 2016
  • The main building dates from the early 1960s
  • New drama and music facilities were added in 2004, a new sports hall in 2008 and new library in September 2012

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