A school damaged by fire will remain closed for the “immediate future”, it has been confirmed.
Kent County Council (KCC) say the blaze at Rodmersham Primary, near Sittingbourne, caused extensive damage and the school cannot re-open to pupils after half-term.
The school was due to welcome back pupils on Wednesday next week but KCC says the building cannot be used at all. Online learning will be provided until a temporary premises can be found.
There were four fire engines and a crane called to the school after a blaze ripped through the building at 7pm yesterday.
Crews spent two hours fighting the flames, which had taken hold of, and badly damaged, the roof. The cause is still unknown.
Thousands of pounds has already been raised to help the school, which is in the top 1% of primaries nationally, with more than £2,700 donated in just two hours.
The GoFundMe page was set up at 7am today (October 27) to help pay for new supplies and equipment. It has raised more than £5,000 so far.
To visit the fundraising page click here.
Cllr Monique Bonney, (Swale Independents Alliance) who lives in the area and represents the West Downs on Swale council, said she was “absolutely heartbroken” by the damage to the school.
Speaking from the scene, she added: “My heart goes out to the Rodmersham school community and the village at this challenging time.
“Thankfully no one was hurt or injured.
“This is a school that I went to and my son went to, so it has a huge place in our hearts. So much so that I remain a school governor.
“The governors in attendance tonight and the head teacher, Mrs McMullen, are truly devastated at the extent of the damage witnessed.
“We will be looking to ensure the pupils can continue with their education. How is yet to be determined but the head teacher will communicate with parents in due course.
“Please be patient as there are many issues to be addressed.
“The head teacher has been in touch with Kent County Council who are responsible for the school buildings.”
Blue tarpaulin had been placed over a large section of the roof which was being repaired during half-term week.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used hose reel jets to extinguish the flames.
Villagers and fire crews were pictured outside the school after the blaze had been put out.
One resident told KentOnline: “We realised quite quickly how bad it was when more engines turned up.
“There was some form of alarm going off during the day and there has been work going on there, but we can’t say much more than that for certain.”
A Kent County Council spokesperson said today: “The school cannot be used at all for the immediate future as the damage is extensive.
“KCC is working with the school to identify and arrange alternative temporary premises for the pupils.
“Our insurers have already been contacted. When the damage has been assessed and investigations completed, work will begin to repair and rebuild as necessary as soon as possible.
“The school had already planned to have two staff development days on Monday and Tuesday (so pupils would not be in school anyway) and will be providing online learning for pupils for the remainder of next week (Wed-Fri).”