Saturday, March 22, 2008

My school goes up in flames

Last night, David, Richard and I went down to the Marquis of Granby, a pub a few minutes walk from Streetgate, the next village down from Sunniside where our house is. After dinner, we left the pub and at that point, noticed smoke billowing from a site somewhere in Whickham. Given that it was dark, windy and we were having to look at the fire from a considerable distance and across the expanse of Washingwell Woods, we could not make out the exact location of the fire. Yet as we got further up the bank and got to the edge of Streetgate, we were able to see the flames leaping into the air, fed by the strong winds, despite the fire being over a km away. It seemed as though it was coming from the Grange Estate.

We discovered in the Journal this morning that the fire had been at Whickham School. The details were thin on the ground so after we dropped Richard off at the station to head back to London, David and I drove over to the school. I was met by one of the governors and was shown the damage by the caretaker. We have lost an entire block which contained the staff room, sixth form common room, lecture threatre, library and a couple of classrooms. 40 computers gone and smoke damage to the music rooms though fortunately the musical instruments were saved.

My guess is that the damaged block will have to be demolished. We are not sure whether or not the school will open on Tuesday.

I was at Whickham Comprehensive when the block in question was built. So the building in question still had the feeling of being new when I was in the sixth form. It's a shock to the system to know what has happened to it.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its a shock to you! We were in those rooms just two days before. Those are the only rooms we have available to us for personal sixth form use, and the bulk of computers that have been lost will effect the entire school, its very worrying being in my final year of sixth form, to see how this stupid act affects the students who'll have to deal with the leftovers.

DJ-Gazzer said...

Will be return to school on tuesday and be turned away if the school remains closed, or however will they ring us etc..

Whats the chance of the school being open on tuesday?

Jonathan Wallace said...

At the moment, we don't know. The fire needs to be fully investigated (not helped by the appropriate people being away for bank holiday), the police had to be satisfied that the site is safe, the mains supplies have to be working and so on. It is possible that the governors will meet on Sunday or Monday. But as I say, at this point in time (10pm Saturday evening) I can't say either way.

Laura said...

Have you any idea whats going to happen to the sixth form? seeing as we have no where to study or spend our frees.

Anonymous said...

Seriously the mentality of sum people, I hate to make presumptions but we all know what kind of person it would be, some one who hates school and whose life’s ambition is to go on the dowel.

It selfish is what it is no thought towards any1 els but them selves, Now what is left for my fellow 6th formers and I, nothing is the answer. The common room and study room were the only places we had in the entire school. Its strange to think it was only 2 days before hand that the room had been packed with all the students form my yr and yr above.

And I cant believe the amount of simple minded people who think its all a big joke.

Anonymous said...

Seriously the mentality of sum people, I hate to make presumptions but we all know what kind of person it would be, some one who hates school and whose life’s ambition is to go on the dowel.

It selfish is what it is no thought towards any1 els but them selves, Now what is left for my fellow 6th formers and I, nothing is the answer. The common room and study room were the only places we had in the entire school. Its strange to think it was only 2 days before hand that the room had been packed with all the students form my yr and yr above.

And I cant believe the amount of simple minded people who think its all a big joke.

Anonymous said...

ballah, baroo, meshem, paroo! quem? xxx

Anonymous said...

As a year 10 student at Whickham, i'm really angry at whoever thought that this would be an amusing stunt. They obviously didn't think the consequences through and I hope that they are feeling really guilty now.
The whole situation is messed up and communication must be really hard to organise but do you think that we could all be informed via the school website as that is the obvious place for us to look?
Thanks for this blog though - really helpful!

Anonymous said...

i can't belive sum 1 would do this they are really sick and sum people think its funny i mean sum people could have lost corse work and th sixth form have no wher to study as the common room is a mess

Anonymous said...

i am realy angry who eva dun this should be ashamed and guilty. it s also wierd that it was two skewls in newcastle gateshead 3 hours apart can u keep us updated about bein at skewl on tuesday the blog was helpful tho thanx

Gowdy said...

I have to say i agree with everything said here, this fire will hugely affect students. I am in my final year of 6th form, however i am fortunate, all of my course work is on computer and backed up at home but what if other peoples course work was destroyed, to lose that could lead to the year being an entire waste. With final year exams approaching a lot of people will find it hard to study in school without the proper facilities. and all of this caused by some idiot.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the information jonathan. very helpful. My son is in the sixth form , any idea if the school wil be open on Tuesday or whether sixth formers should turn up. Do u know if any info. will be posted on the school website or at least on the school answerphone.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable that the school has not updated it's website or answerphone!!!I despair

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with anonymous.
The school website should have been used as a form of mass communication for parents! All we have are rumours. Even if they said that they weren't sure yet, it would help.
We went to have a look at the damage yesterday and it looks like a health and safety risk to me as it stands. The damaged buildings are not isolated and have not been made safe as yet, so I would imagine that would be a priority job for Tuesday morning which would mean the school would be closed until that was done, surely?

Come on, powers that be, keep us in the picture please?

Concerned parent.

Head Boy. said...

i am sickened.
i sincerely hope you're pleased with yourself you filthy arsonist.

a shame you wern't in the building at the time