Pupils begin returning to fire-ravaged high school

Woodmill High School in Dunfermline was closed after it was gutted by a major blaze.

Pupils begin returning to fire-ravaged high school
Return: Pupils.

By Kaye Nicolson and Jack Thomson

A high school in Fife devastated by fire has partially reopened, with some year groups returning to classes.

Woodmill High School in Dunfermline has been closed since August after it was gutted by a major blaze.

But on Tuesday, third, fourth and fifth years will be reunited in their renovated classrooms.

Sandy McIntosh, head teacher of the school, said: “We’re really pleased that we’ve got to this point.

“There’s been a massive amount of work from contractors, building services, janitorial staff to get us to this point just now.

“But again, this is the first step. Ultimately we need to get all of our young people back on site, so it marks a really important point in us starting to get that taking place.

“The priority for me and the priority for the school community is to get us all back under the one roof as quickly as is possible.”

Parts of the school suffered significant smoke and water damage, meaning floors were redone and computers replaced.

New temporary classrooms have been set up for the coming term.

Shoana Smedley, Woodmill High School parent council, said: “It was a huge impact on everybody, the parents, the staff and the wider community so there was initial upset about the whole situation and worrying about where the kids were going to go.”

Blaze: Woodmill High School fire in August
Blaze: Woodmill High School fire in August

Speaking about the benefits of being back at the school, Ms Smedley pointed to the return of a “sense of normality”.

She said: “They’ll feel more relaxed being back in a reasonably normal environment.

“Obviously there’s the new accommodation but I think to get back and get the teaching staff back on track as well and just continue their learning and preparing and to sit their prelims in familiar surroundings will be a big benefit for them as well.”

It is hoped junior years will be able to return to Woodmill by Easter but it’ll be the summer before the specialist additional support needs unit is rebuilt.

The aim is for every pupil to be back by August.

The Scottish Government has committed to a full replacement for Woodmill, which has been earmarked for 2024.