School fire probe begins

EDUCATION chiefs have this morning pledged an urgent investigation after a massive school blaze left 400 pupils with an uncertain future.

Dave Gooderham

EDUCATION chiefs have this morning pledged an urgent investigation after a massive school blaze left 400 pupils with an uncertain future.

Police and fire investigations have begun to determine the cause of the inferno which virtually destroyed St Felix Middle School in Newmarket, yesterday afternoon.

Suffolk County Council has begun considering alternative arrangements just four weeks before the new school term.

A county council spokesman said: “This is a devastating blow for the Newmarket community. St Felix Middle School is highly regarded by its pupils and former pupils.

“We are urgently looking at the options on how to provide alternative arrangements, with as little disruption as possible, for the start of term in September.”

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Devastated current and former pupils have used social networking site, Facebook, to speak of their shock after a special tribute page was launched.

And current pupil, Cheyenne Wilson, wrote on the EADT website: “I was truly devastated. Sick with worry that the school wouldn't be open again. I phoned my best friend and we were crying over the phone about our much-loved memories at St Felix.”

The youngster said she had spoken with a teacher at the school who said mobile classrooms were an option and that “even though the building is dead, the school and the pupils won't be”.

And officers from one neighbouring council have pledged to help in any way they could as pupils faced the prospect of being taught in mobile classrooms or schools elsewhere.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council told the EADT: “We have not yet had an approach from Suffolk County Council but we are happy to discuss the situation with them and help in anyway we can.”

A potential problem could be that Cambridgeshire largely operate a two-tier education system compared to the current three-schooling structure in Suffolk.

Click here to see the Facebook school tribute siteClick here to see the Facebook school tribute site