Dorset school fire pupils to get exam grades

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Media captionThe school only recently fully reopened after a £12m rebuild following a fire in 2000

Pupils whose work was destroyed in a fire at their Dorset school will still be awarded grades, an examination board has said.

Examination coursework was destroyed in the blaze in the the arts and theatre block of Lytchett Minster Upper School near Poole on 27 December.

Exam board AQA said it would ensure students are "not disadvantaged by this very unfortunate set of circumstances".

The school aims to reopen on 9 January, with restrictions due to lack of space.

Investigations are continuing into the fire which is thought to have been caused by a lightning strike.

Image caption Paige Marsh had spent 40 hours on her last piece of coursework

In a statement AQA said emergency procedures were already in place to ensure overall subject grades could still be given where work is lost in incidents such as fires or floods.

A spokesperson said: "We will discuss all the students affected, whether any evidence of their work still exists and what the best plan of action is over the next few months.

"We will apply special consideration in the summer, based on any evidence we've been able to retrieve and what other work the students have been able to complete."

'Nothing left'

Student Paige Marsh had handed in a piece of coursework which she said took 40 hours to complete just before Christmas.

She said: "It's one of the worst feelings in the world. It was heartbreaking."

"We have nothing left to show the examiners, apart from photos if you are lucky. It leaves you hanging".

Senior staff previously said they had good records of the work and believed pupils could still be marked.

The 1,330-pupil school hopes to reopen next week, with some classes working four-day weeks because of the shortage of space.

The school was only recently fully reopened after a £12m rebuild following a fire in 2000.

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