Two weeks after they should have returned, pupils of fire-ravaged St Mary’s Catholic Technology College finally got back into the classroom.
Nine double-decker buses arrived at the wrecked Royal Avenue site yesterday morning to transport 700 pupils to the former high school in Ribbleton Hall Drive, Preston.
The plan is to operate St Mary’s from the temporary base for approximately two weeks, before accommodation is brought into Royal Avenue.
Headteacher Kathryn McNicolas was out in the biting winds to direct pupils onto the vehicles.
She said: “It’s really exciting, there’s a real first day of term feeling.
“The pupils are all raring to go and looking forward to seeing all of their friends and teachers.
“The staff are also ready to get back to business. We have to get on with things, there is no other way.”
She added: “This is a very, very short-term plan, and soon there will be lots of temporary accommodation brought onto the site so that we can all be back on this site by Christmas time.”
The aim is to get years seven, 10 and 11 back to Royal Avenue first. Currently workmen are at the damaged site to conduct analysis.
Mum Beth Unsworth waved off her daughter to join year seven, and her son to year eight.
She said: “We only live round the corner, so we saw the fire and it was very scary. The smoke was so bad it was setting all our alarms off, and it killed our rabbit in the garden.”
She added: “If it had happened at the beginning of the summer it wouldn’t have been so bad, but this was two days before they were meant to go back, so there was a lot of disruption, and the kids have been fed up.
“My daughter’s a bit nervous about not knowing where her form room is going to be, but the staff have all been brilliant with us.”