Fife’s education chiefs believe they may be able to save much of the fire-hit Woodmill High School.
While large sections of the badly-damaged Dunfermline school are being demolished, initial assessments have revealed a significant number of classrooms could be reinstated to be able to accommodate pupils within months.
Fife Council’s head of education Shelagh McLean said structural surveyors and architects were still on site in a bid to ascertain the full extent of the impact of the blaze that ripped through the building on August 25.
Addressing councillors on the education committee, Ms McLean said officers were hopeful they would be able to start operating out of the building in some form from January.
She warned, however: “That doesn’t mean we will be able to accommodate all of our young people at that point in time.
“We don’t know how many we’ll be able to bring back in and what we have said to parents and to young people at the moment is we will work with them between now and Christmas to determine what’s right for the young people, particularly our S4, S5 and S6 who are studying their certificated courses.
“We need to make sure if we look at further change for them within this academic session…it’s not going to have an impact on their learning.”
Woodmill’s 1,400 pupils and staff have been accommodated in various other buildings across the Dunfermline area since the devastating fire, which left no part of the school untouched.
The youngsters have been kept together in year groups and with their own teachers to minimise disruption as much as possible and to maintain the Woodmill identity.
The education service has been widely praised by parents and the community for their response to the crisis, which saw all pupils back at their desks within a week of the fire.
However, some staff and students are already said to be feeling some strain over the moves and a longer-term solution is being sought as quickly as possible.
Dunfermline SNP councillor Jean Hall Muir described the communication from school staff and education officers, as well as the outpouring of support from the community, as extraordinary.
She added: “I will echo that both the teachers and pupils have been incredibly positive but they are fragile. They are exhausted.”
Ms McLean said educational psychologists were on all of the school sites offering support to pupils and staff.
“If there’s a requirement for additional support then obviously we’ll make sure that’s in place,” she said.