Buckholme Towers: "the phoenix is dusting itself off" - school back in session two days after fire (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Buckholme Towers: "the phoenix is dusting itself off" - school back in session two days after fire
A POOLE school is back in business just two days after a fire left its premises severely damaged.
Buckholme Towers put on lessons yesterday for a small number of students whose parents had been unable to arrange childcare.
They were taught in neighbouring Parkstone United Reformed Church while staff and other helpers moved in items salvaged from the school’s ground floor.
A group of 25 pupils and two teachers is still on a trip to the Isle of Wight, but all 100 of the remaining children were expected to turn up at the church this morning to continue their education.
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Although insurers have not yet assessed the scale of the damage, head teacher Iain Robertson is already looking forward to the future of the 72-year-old independent nursery and prep school.
He is hoping it can be rebuilt on its current site in Commercial Road, where it has been for the last 50 years.
“The phoenix is dusting itself off. It hasn’t risen, as it will do, but I can guarantee there will be a grand reopening and the community will be heavily involved,” he pledged.
“Having a school in what is basically a house gives it a warm, homely, nurturing feel, but it’s not straightforward to work in. Potentially we could end up with something more school-friendly.
“Inevitably the place will be stripped right back. This is an opportunity to bring it into the 21st century and provide everything the children need, particularly in terms of technology. To start with a clean slate I would anticipate being a wonderful opportunity.”
Mr Robertson, who took over as head in 2007 and proprietor three years later, was alerted to the blaze by police at about 2.45am on Tuesday.
“They said: ‘There’s a fire at the school,’ but didn’t tell me any more. It was obvious when I got here that it was pretty ferocious. I went through a very emotional 15 minutes before anyone else arrived.
“The fire brigade was absolutely amazing. Because it was a very windy night, I thought they were never going to get it under control.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.”
Mr Robertson said the school had been overwhelmed by offers of help from the community, including local businesses, parents, current and former pupils and the children themselves. The response has been astonishing,” he said.
“Over the next few days we will be sifting through the options for a longer term plan.
“Pretty much every single independent and state school within a five-mile radius has contacted us with offers and the grammar schools got in touch, wished us luck and asked if there was anything they could do.
“We’ve got two and a half weeks of term, which takes us to Easter, but we’ve pretty much decided we are going to remain where we are, in the church.
“The church has been amazing and said it could have us for up to 18 months. We’ve pretty much taken over. There’s another little nursery carrying on as normal, but the church has had to rearrange prayer meetings, public groups and mums’ mornings around us. We’re absolutely bowled over.”
An open day scheduled to take place at Buckholme Towers this Saturday has been cancelled, but Mr Robertson vowed: “Give us a couple of weeks and we’ll be ready.”