Boy,11, arrested on suspicion of arson after fire shuts Stevenage school

The fire happened at around 12.25pm today

The fire happened at around 12.25pm today - Credit: Archant

An 11-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson after allegedly starting a fire which has shut a Stevenage school.

The boy, from Stevenage, was arrested yesterday afternoon after police and fire crews were called to Marriotts School in Brittian Way.

After it was put out a fire investigation team went to the school to establish the cause of the fire, which is being treated as arson.

A spokesman for the fire service confirmed that it was not a large blaze but that smoke had activated the building’s sprinkler system.

This led to water damage and forced the school to close this building while the electrical systems are checked for any damage.

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As it houses so many classrooms the school’s headteacher, Bethany Honnor, has decided to shut the entire school until Monday.

The boy has now been bailed.

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Writing on the school’s website, headteacher Ms Honnor said: “Firstly thank you again for parents’ support and students’ excellent conduct yesterday. The fire service were impressed with the evacuation and the behaviour of our students.

“The school premises management and local authority teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that our building can re-open and that all repairs to damage that the sprinklers caused are completed as quickly as possible.

“The local authority has now confirmed that the building is safe to open but the north wing of the school needs to remain closed until Monday morning whilst the de- humidifiers work and the final repairs and clean up take place. Hot food cannot yet be provided.

“In light of the disruption to learning that this partial building closure would cause, it is with regret that we have made the decision to open to staff only tomorrow. All students should remain at home tomorrow then return to school on Monday to resume lessons as normal. Hot food will be available. Maths lessons will take place in a different location as the electrics in this area will take slightly longer to fix. The whole building is now completely safe and has been signed off by the local authority.

“I appreciate that this school closure has been inconvenient for parents and unsettling for some students and want to reassure you all that we will work hard to quickly catch up the learning missed, so that students’ levels do not suffer. Tomorrow students should use ‘Sam Learning’ and ‘Show my Homework’ to complete their own studies. Exam classes will receive additional work on ‘Show my Homework’.

“We will use tomorrow as a staff inset day and will therefore cancel the planned inset day on January 5, to make up for lost learning time. I will of course update all students in assemblies on Monday and as I have previously said will keep all parents informed about the outcome of the investigation into the cause of the fire.

“Thank you all for your patience and understanding in this matter and we look forward to welcoming students back to school on Monday.”

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