Being the headteacher of a primary school for children with learning difficulties has plenty of challenges, but one issue head Gail Beaton did not anticipate was a campaign of vandalism.
Preston’s Acorns Primary School has been repeatedly targeted, with criminals tearing tiles off the roof and smashing windows.
Mrs Beaton said: “The children here are a fantastic group of people and if these people spent some time to come in and see what a difference they make to each other and the community, they wouldn’t be doing this.
“These vandals aren’t the same calibre as the children we have at the school.”
The school, in Moor Park, provides children with learning difficulties with specialist high-level education up to 11 years old.
Police say the incident took place between 6pm on May 17 and 7.30am on May 18 and admit it isn’t the first time the yobs have targeted the school.
I’d love them to come into the school and meet the children, because I know they wouldn’t do it again.
“They climbed on the roof and knocked tiles off, which meant when it rained it flooded our brand-new foyer,” Mrs Beaton said. “They smashed open toys sheds and used some of the equipment as weapons to break windows and doors.
“Our nurse had to move out of the medical room because the broken windows meant it was too cold for her and the children to use.
“It’s really disrupting what the children are doing here and things are being put back because we’re trying to make everything as safe as possible for the children.”
And now the school is increasing its security in an attempt to catch the vandals and Mrs Beaton hopes when the offenders are caught, they can be brought into the school to see just who they’ve affected.
“She said: “I’d love them to come into the school and meet the children, because I know they wouldn’t do it again. They’re wonderful the people here and it would do a lot of good for the vandals to meet them.”
Ward councillor David Borrow said: “It is obviously concerning that a school has been vandalised, especially if this has happened repeatedly.
“I would be more than happy to visit the school and have a discussion with the headteacher about any extra support that Lancashire County Council can offer.
“I will work with my fellow ward councillor Frank De Molfetta on any additional support for the school.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We are appealing for information after several windows were damaged at a school in Moor Park, Preston.
“Officers believe the crime happened overnight between May 17 and 18 and are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact police.
“If you can help, call 101 quoting crime reference SA1606504.”