Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 18:04 UK

New site for 'burned out' school


Much of the school was destroyed in the blaze

About 350 children whose school was almost destroyed in an arson attack have been offered a new building.

Pupils from Whitehouse Primary School on Doagh Road, Newtownabbey will move into surplus classrooms at Newtownabbey Community High School.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board said it would need money from the Department of Education to prepare the building at Rathcoole Drive.

But it is confident that classrooms will be ready for the end of August.

Most of the Doagh Road school was destroyed in Saturday's blaze. Only the nursery section of the school survived the early morning fire.

It is the third school to be targeted by arsonists in the greater Belfast area in the past few days.

Last Wednesday, St Mary's Star of the Sea Primary School on the Shore Road was damaged in an arson attack.

Fire at Whitehouse Primary School

Watch firefighters tackle the blaze

A plastic sign and rubbish bins were set alight and a boiler house was extensively damaged.

The arsonists also tried to set fire to the roof and sectarian graffiti was written on the building.

A fire at a former school - La Salle Boys' School - on the Glen Road last Thursday is also being treated as suspicious.

A board spokesman said the school should be able to reopen at its new site at the end of August.

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane said she had visited all three schools targeted by the arsonists and offered the support of her department.

"My officials met with the North Eastern Education and Library Board over the weekend and will be working to ensure minimal disruption to the education of children from Whitehouse Primary when they return after the summer break," she said.

"We are examining a range of options, including making use of spare capacity in nearby schools. A longer term option could be accelerated approval of the new school building."

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