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Headteacher praises fire crews for 'saving' Sherburn High School following overnight blaze

The headteacher of a school which was up in flames overnight has thanked the fire service for 'saving' it.

Dramatic photos show high school near Leeds engulfed in flames

Police investigators at the scene of a fire which destroyed changing rooms and damaged the gymnasium at Sherburn High School near Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson.

Police investigators at the scene of a fire which destroyed changing rooms and damaged the gymnasium at Sherburn High School near Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson.

The headteacher of Sherburn High in Sherburn-in-Elmet, Maria Williams, and senior leadership team as well as staff members who live locally joined fire crews in the early hours of the morning as the fire was contained.

It is thought that the gym and changing rooms have suffered the most damage, though the full extent of the damage is currently being assessed by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service along with North Yorkshire Police who are still on site.

Nobody has been reported injured, all students are said to be safe and the damage is thought to have just affected the exterior of the building.

The school’s senior leaders had informed parents through email and text by 5.30 am that the school would be closed for the remainder of the day and students, parents and carers, staff and the community will be updated when necessary.

Senior Leaders have asked that the school community stay away from the area in the interests of safety until further notice.

Maria Williams, headteacher of Sherburn High School, said: “We hope very much that we can get back into the school and that teaching and learning can continue for our students as soon as possible” said Maria Williams. “It seems as if the main teaching areas have been saved but the investigation is still on going. I cannot thank the fire service enough for working so hard through the night to save our school.

“As the teaching and administrative areas have been saved we believe no student work has been lost. All public examinations have finished, as well as our celebration evenings and sports day and we can confirm that school trips that had been planned for the end of term, some of them overseas, will still go ahead.

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“As years 11 and 13 have finished their exams, we had reduced numbers in school – years 7-10 and year 12, so we are hopeful that we can get back to teaching and learning as quickly as possible. For the last three weeks of term year 6 children from local primary schools come into Sherburn to get accustomed to life in secondary school. We had 160 children enjoy their first day yesterday, but for the time being they will return to their primary schools.”

North Yorkshire County Council officers were also on site early this morning and once the school has been handed back to the council by fire and police services, the council’s property services will work with the school to get teaching and learning up and running as soon as possible and make an assessment of losses.

County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools said: “We would like to thank all the emergency services for working so hard overnight to save Sherburn High School. The school has an extremely dedicated senior leadership team and we will work with them to make sure that teaching and learning can start again as quickly as possible. We must wait for the emergency services to complete their investigations but we are hopeful that the main areas of the school will be fit for the school to get back to business”.