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Devon - #163;4m rebuild for thatch-roofed school

One of England's last remaining thatched schools is to be rebuilt.

Staff and students at Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary in Crediton have campaigned for a decade to get their 17th-century classrooms replaced. Building work for the new #163;4 million school will begin next month.

Children have to walk along a narrow country road between two buildings to get to lessons. Pupils travelled to Downing Street two years ago to present a petition to then prime minister Tony Blair.

Although land for the building was available, Devon County Council had been unable to find the necessary funding for the project until this year.

The school is due to be completed in October 2010. It will be the last thatched school in Devon to be replaced.

Headteacher Wendy Harris said: "Although we have a nice-looking building, it's very impractical for 21st-century education. The new school will make a fantastic difference to the way we're able to operate.

Local county councillor Michael Lee said: "I have long campaigned for a new school for Cheriton Fitzpaine and I am delighted it is one of the first projects on which we have been able to start work." KM.

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