PUPILS at fire-ravaged York High School are back on the site and have been praised for their maturity in dealing with the aftermath of the blaze.

The Acomb secondary school’s 970 students and staff have been at various schools across the city after a fire devastated a third of the building, in Dijon Avenue, on October 3.

The Press reported how more than 70 firefighters were sent to battle the flames at the school when a fire broke out after 5am.

The area devastated by the inferno contained IT, art, food technology and textile classrooms – subjects which are examined almost exclusively on course work.

Yesterday, the children moved back to their school’s site, with teachers using temporary portable buildings as classrooms.

Head teacher David Ellis said: “Moving back into the school has gone as well as can be expected. Obviously there has been a lot to do to adjust to the situation but we are working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“I do think the young people here are finding it strange because it is very different. Some people are also seeing the building for the first time since the fire, which I think has caused a lot of shock.

“In my experience, young people find it hard to adapt to change and the pupils here have had a lot of that over the past 18 months, with the merger of the Oaklands and Lowfield schools, then the fire, temporarily moving to a different site then coming back to the school in this state.

“It is not easy for them to cope with such a lot, and credit to both the staff and pupils for how they have coped.”

Mr Ellis said all the IT systems were back up and running and the schools 900 children were spread out among 14 portable buildings on the site.

He said: “It is far from ideal, but we are all doing our best until the school is ready again”.

As previously reported, the initial conclusions of a fire service investigation show the fire started in a room close to an art room which contained a kiln that was in use during the night on a programmed cycle. In an initial report, investigators said a number of factors contributed to the severe damage to the school, for example, a void between the ceiling and the roof facilitated fire spread over the top of internal walls.