When did it happen?
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was first alerted that there was a fire at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline, Fife, just after 5pm on Sunday. The fire was extinguished on Monday morning. No one was injured.
We are all utterly devastated by what has happened to our school. I will be meeting with our teachers and school staff this morning, along with staff from the Education Service and wider Fife Council to put in place plans for our young people. Mr McIntosh— Woodmill High School (@WoodmillHigh) August 26, 2019
Have the police taken any action?
Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection with the fire.
How badly damaged is the school?
The fire started in the school’s department for additional support needs, but Carrie Lindsay, the council's executive director of education and children's services, said in a statement today that "no part of the building" was left "untouched by the fire".
She added: "The wing containing the assembly hall, sports halls, and the technical block is the least damaged, but there are no classroom facilities that will enable us to reopen the school in the short to medium term." Ms Lindsay said the council was "working flat out" to explore the best possible solutions for pupils and that she hoped to have more information on short-term arrangements tomorrow.
Scary stuff still ongoing at #Woodmill High tonight with @fire_scot protecting the main building of the school for catching. Devastating for the kids who have only just returned to school. @courier_fife #WoodmillHighFire pic.twitter.com/ywIj1G2SUR— Steven Brown (@C_StBrown) August 25, 2019
How old is the school?
The school has a number of different buildings constructed during different periods but it opened in 1958 and, before the fire, there were plans to build a new school. One proposal was for a super campus that would also include a replacement for St Columba’s High and a new Fife College campus.
What is happening to staff and pupils?
The council has said the school will be closed this week. The school’s 1,400 pupils have been offered the chance to get together for a free lunch this week with classmates and school support staff at local community centres, churches and a primary school. A similar arrangement for pupils with additional support needs is being hosted by special school Calaiswood School, and pupils are being offered swimming and racquet sports for £1 between 9am and 3pm.
Woodmill High teachers are meeting at nearby St Columba’s High every day. Staff are pulling together homework packages that will be accessible via the school’s website, as well as trying to arrange some practical sessions in local community facilities for senior pupils this week.
@WoodmillHigh pupils! Quid-a-kid sports and Café Inc sessions Weds 28 – Fri 30 August. Activities at leisure centres & free lunches with classmates & support staff, see full details https://t.co/5x1pIADWG7— Fife Council (@FifeCouncil) August 27, 2019
I have no idea where they are going to put us all whilst construction will be going on. Me and my friends are devastated about the fire. #woodmillhighschool #woodmillhighfire pic.twitter.com/kU7VX5mjV7— Unicorn Grace (@PipSqueekMouse) August 26, 2019
What’s the likely impact of the fire?
The population of Dunfermline has increased substantially in recent years, which means there is no spare capacity in the town’s other secondary schools for the displaced Woodmill High pupils.
Last year Tes Scotland reported on the aftermath of the fire at Braeview Academy in Dundee, which took place in September 2018 and resulted in the pupils being split across two of the city’s other secondary schools. After a few months, they were able to return to their school, where around 30 temporary buildings had been constructed.
However, the more extensive the damage, the longer Woodmill High pupils and staff will be forced to stay away. One commentator on Twitter said a fire at his Dundee school in the 1970s resulted in three years of being bussed to schools “who didn’t want us”. He predicted the Woodmill High fire would “affect generations”.
Watched the news about the fire damaged school in Dunfermline. It's a tragedy. My schooling ws affected similarly in Dundee in the 70's. Short school days for 3 yrs. Bussed over the city, put in schools who didn't want us and fights bet kids. Dunfermline will affect generations.— Colin Milne (@colinamilne) August 26, 2019