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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
2m school arson bill
Fire
There are 16 arson attacks on schools each week
An arson attack on a secondary school in the summer holidays will cost over 2m.

Insurance will not cover the cost of temporary accommodation, while Chase Terrace High School in Burntwood, Staffordshire is re-built after a "massive" fire.

The 2m arson bill will have to be taken from Staffordshire council's reserves, says a local authority spokesperson.

The fire, which last month destroyed half the school, has meant building a school for 1,300 pupils out of temporary mobile classrooms.

The council has hired about 50 double mobile classroom units, plus facilities for an assembly hall, kitchen and toilets, and placed them on land at the back of the existing school site.

The school will open a week late - and the temporary classrooms could be needed for two years, as the replacement school is built.

Mobile village

The "mobile village" being put in place has also had to be supplied with power, drainage and footways - and equipped with books and furniture.

Insurance will cover the cost of constructing a new school - but not the cost of accommodating pupils in alternative classrooms.

Each summer, schools have been the subject of arson attacks - with a survey earlier this year showing that the rate of attacks was continuing to increase.

At present, there are an average of 16 arson attacks per week on schools, says the Arson Prevention Bureau - an organisation set up jointly by the Home Office and the insurance industry.

Staffordshire police say that inquiries are ongoing and that they will be visiting the school next week.

See also:

25 Jul 02 | Education
03 Mar 02 | Education
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