THE reader who took pictures of the school blaze at its height told how the drama unfolded in the early hours.

Tony Walker, whose sister works as a cleaner at the school, had gone to his local newsagent to collect his copy of The Press when he saw the inferno.

“The sky should have been getting light but it was completely pitch black, and when I walked nearer to the school I could see what was happening,” said Tony, 50, who lives in nearby Ascot Way.

“The building had gone completely up in flames and there was smoke everywhere. The fire crews were telling us to stand back because the fumes were so terrible and running hoses down nearby streets. When you're standing close to it, you realise how shocking something like this is.

“Pupils were turning up for school and some of them were in tears, as were some of the teachers and staff. There was a lot of disbelief about it.

The chairman of governors at the school has spoken of his shock and sadness for pupils. Coun Andrew Waller, who is also the leader of City of York Council, said: “It is one of the last things you want to hear as chairman of governors that your school is on fire. My heart goes out to the kids whose coursework may have been lost.”