Today marks the first day back for the pupils of Woodridge College and Preparatory School (Woodridge) after the fires which caused extensive damage to the school on June 10th, 2017.
“We are delighted that we can resume the academic year today,” remarks Derek Bradley who is the Headmaster of Woodridge College. “We see the situation we stand in as an opportunity to rebuild an even greater school. The entire team that supports the school and pupils are incredibly grateful for the support they have received so far, and are extremely motivated to get back on campus and move forward.”
The academic and admin staff have been working on plans to make up teaching time, creating shortened tests to replace missed exams, the safe location of temporary classrooms and the dining hall, and re-installation of IT systems which support the school.
In the three weeks leading up to the staff and student return, there has been extensive work to prepare for the first day back to ensure the health and safety of everyone who lives, works and visits the campus. “Safety and security of our staff and pupils are of paramount importance,” adds Craig Warner, Woodridge Business Manager. “Hoarding has been erected around damaged sites to prevent unauthorised access, we have employed additional security [12 guards], any construction vehicles will access the property via a dedicated road, and an appointed project manager will oversee the entire reconstruction including safety and security.”
Well covered by insurance, the school is in a financially secure situation and will not need to use school fees to subsidise reconstruction. Any donations from the public and former pupils to the Humanitarian Fund will be used exclusively to assist the ground and teaching staff that were displaced. “We are overwhelmed by the numerous offers of assistance and the donations we have received,” adds Warner. “Other funds that have and will be raised by the OWA will be allocated to rebuild an improved schooling infrastructure under the discretion of the Board of Trustees.”