“I WAS so upset when I found out that I just collapsed on the floor and cried.”

These were the words of York High School student Alex Dykes, 15, telling of her reaction to the news that the central block of the school had been gutted by fire.

As fire investigation experts today began trying to discover the cause of last Friday’s blaze, Alex revealed how she had lost irreplaceable GCSE coursework in the inferno at the former Lowfield School in Acomb.

The Year 11 pupil, who lives off Foxwood Lane, said she had lost art and textiles work and feared that English coursework, which she had only just finished, might also have been destroyed.

Her mother, Anthea, who is a governor at the school, said Alex and a group of her friends had spent last Friday at home because the school was closed to all 900 pupils.

“These young people are decent, hard-working pupils who have spent the last year working towards their GCSEs and are really upset by this news,” she said. “All they want now is some news of when they can return to work to continue their learning.

“A lot of these young people will be going on to college next year and will probably go on to university. Their GSCE coursework means a lot to them and they are very upset and confused about what will happen next.”

She also spoke of the extra disruption caused by the fire to Alex, who was originally at Oaklands School but moved to the former Lowfield site a year ago when the two schools merged to become York High. Lowfield became the school’s temporary home while the new York High is built on the site of Oaklands. Alex is due to move back to the former Oaklands site in January when York High is completed, but may now have to be educated somewhere else between now and then. The school’s head David Ellis has given a categorical assurance that no pupils will lose out through the loss of any coursework in the fire, saying the examination board is very understanding in such circumstances.

He has also revealed how, while the school’s offices had been damaged on Friday, no school records had been lost, as IT back-up had worked. He said about 100 computers used by pupils had been destroyed.