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High water mark for flooded school

After a horrendous year of floods, mobile classrooms and building work, Dave Ledgard, head of Cottingham Croxby Primary, finally thought the worst was over.

It was Easter and his school in Hull - one of the worst hit by last year's floods - had undergone a amp;#163;2m refurbishment and would be ready in just two weeks.

Then he got the dreaded call.

"I told Ofsted they just couldn't come," said Mr Ledgard, 60. "I said it would crucify us because morale was strained and it would be grossly unfair to judge us in that situation."

One anxious hour later, Ofsted rang back to agree. The delayed visit in May was a triumph. The school was rated good and the inspectors praised the staff's "dedication, ingenuity and stamina".

Mr Ledgard, headteacher at the school for 24 years, had been considering retirement before the flooding. Now he intends to stay on for at least another year.

June 2007 was the wettest month recorded in Yorkshire since 1882. On June 24 the deluge was so bad that it caused the school's drainage system to fail.

The 360 pupils were moved first to Hull University for lessons and then into mobile classrooms on site. "We tried to keep spirits up," said Mr Ledgard, "but there was a lot of trauma to go through. When it rained, it sounded awful. It drummed on the roof and brought back horrible memories."

Only the walls and roof remain of the old school. Everything else is new. The refurbished building - opened last week by David Davis, the local MP - has been designed to withstand flooding, with, of course, extra drainage.

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