Weather Icon 9.9°C Overcast
School Fire Heartbreak
Thursday 29th May 2014 @ 12:47 by Becky Cahill
Denton & Audenshaw News
Pupils and staff at Denton’s St John Fisher Primary School have been left devastated after the Forest School they created was torched by mindless vandals.
Fire crews were called to the specially created garden area behind the Haughton Green school at around 9pm on Monday.
Hyde firefighters attended the scene and extinguished the fire, believed to have been started by youths with matches.
But they could not save the children’s Forest School which has been left in ashes.
Forest School Leader, Elaine Knight, said: “The school have invested a lot of time and effort into making the Forest School available to all of the classes.
“Each week we come out and we work in the forest, we look after it and we learn about insects.
“The children have created the land, the base camp and the path themselves.
They designed it and have been learning about so many things. They absolutely love it.”
Mrs Knight, who works as a learning assistant at the school, added: “We come out in all weathers and unfortunately the investment that we’ve put into it has been destroyed in one go because these people have got in.
“They’ve destroyed the two bug hotels we created, set fire to it and set fire to our living logs, which were full of living beasts – ants, insects, snails.
“They’ve just indiscriminately come in, looked at what’s available, started the fire and destroyed it all in one go.
“The children are so upset.”
Nine-year-old pupil Hamish Carr said: “I feel disgusted because there’s loads of creatures under there and they’ve probably burned loads of them and they’ve littered and they’ve done loads of bad things and I’m really disappointed.”
Peniel Amegee, also nine, said: “I just feel horrified because they’re ruining how wonderful nature can be for all of us and there could have been something wonderful that could have happened in our future, but now they’ve spoilt it all because of the bad thing that had happened by just burning up the fire just for no reason. It’s just a horrible and crazy thing.”
Mrs Knight added: “A lot of the children have learnt from this and the fact that they find it disgusting, we know that in the future they won’t be the sort of children who cause this sort of thing because they know how it feels to be the victim of vandalism, and it’s been a really big learning curve.
“All the staff are disappointed. Haughton Green is a community and this school is very community orientated.
“The school bought all the pupils water proofs to wear because we come out in all weathers.
“I’ve been sent on special courses for Forest School and three other members of staff have been too so there has been investment not only for the school, but for life skills.
“The Forest School area is open to the public and is part of the community and so can be shared by everybody and enjoyed by everybody.
“But the result of this means it will have to be closed.
“It may not have been a lot to a lot of people but it was a lot to our children.”
St John Fisher’s most recent Ofsted report resulted in the school achieving a ‘good’ in all areas with specific reference to the outdoor space stating: “Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make good progress in the very stimulating and attractive outdoor areas.”