ANXIOUS children and parents packed into a special public meeting, to hear the plans for youngsters displaced from York High School.

Hundreds of people descended on Westfield Primary last night to receive an update and raise concerns, following last Friday’s massive fire.

Even after splitting the crowds between two halls, it was still standing room only in both.

Head teacher David Ellis told the crowds he had been overwhelmed by the level of support from staff, pupils, parents and other schools in the city.

He also said it could be weeks before the cause of the inferno was known.

“I am advised it is likely to be a few weeks before investigators can tell us how the fire started,” he said.

“At this point in time, we have no idea. The only thing we are pretty sure about is that it started somewhere on the first floor of the building where it started.”

Mr Ellis was given a rousing ovation at the end of the meeting when parent Karen Garrity praised his efforts.

She said: “I am very surprised they have got everything going so quickly. Staff have put their hearts and souls into the children. It’s a great school and a great community.”

Points from Mr Ellis’s comments included:

* Technicians were optimistic that all coursework saved on the school’s computer network could be recovered.

* Exam boards would be sympathetic, as they had been with schools hit by floods in Humberside last year. Any coursework marks given by teachers would stand.

* A long-awaited batch of new uniforms had been delivered to the school the day before the fire – but is not believed to have been damaged.

Mr Ellis said it had been a “hugely emotional” few days.

Ish Herd, head of key stage three at York High, said the response and turnout at the meeting had been “fabulous”.

She said: “It just goes to show how much parents care about their kids’ education.”

Travelling to lessons

YORK High School has released details of travel arrangements to parents.

In a letter, head teacher David Ellis said from Monday to October 24, Year 8 pupils will taught at the Burnholme Community School site by York High School staff. Pupils will be required to make their own way to the Oaklands Sports Centre from where a bus will take them to Burnholme. Buses will depart at 8.45am for a 9.30am start.

The buses will return to Oaklands for 3.30pm. On the same dates Years 9, 10 and 11 will be taught on the Manor CE School site. School buses will operate on two routes on the west side of the city, following similar routes to those of buses number 4 and 26.

Pupils will be collected from bus stops on these routes south of York Road and Wetherby Road.

Pupils living north of this line can either make their own way to Manor CE School or wait at one of the service bus stops on Ridgeway. At the end of the school day the buses will leave Manor CE just after 6pm and drop off in a reverse of the earlier route.

The school has asked that pupils return home on the same bus on which they arrived at school and the buses will be numbered to help make this easier.