Makeshift classrooms for Toftwood’s flood-hit school

Three weeks into the new term, children at a Norfolk school which was flooded during the holidays are still being taught in the library, dining hall and cooking room.

Toftwood Infants, near Dereham, was one of at least 17 schools in the county which suffered leaks when pipes burst in the freezing weather over Christmas.

Three classrooms and the ICT suite were taken out of action at the School Lane site meaning staff have had to be creative when it comes to finding space to teach their 90 year-one pupils.

So far the floors have been replaced in the corridor, ICT suite and two of the three classrooms, and re-decorating has also begun, but the headteacher thinks it will be at least half-term before the children are back in their usual rooms.

In the meantime, year one pupils are making use of whatever space is available. Head Joanna Pedlow said: 'We have a class which works in the hall in the mornings and the nursery in the afternoons, one class has gone to the library and one class has gone to the music and cooking room.

'It's an adventure for them and some feel quite grown up because this is the year-two end of the school.'

Sitting a few feet from the cooking area, five-year-old Chloe Partridge said she was enjoying the change of scenery but still found her new classroom 'quite strange'. 'It doesn't look right,' she said.

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Cloakroom equipment has been moved and staff offices vacated to allow speech therapists and other visitors to work with the children.

Mrs Pedlow said teachers had been determined to keep going and not close the school.

The nursery was shut for the first three days while they worked out how to accommodate everyone but since January 10 all 285 children, aged three to seven, have been there and learning.

During the Christmas holidays, Norfolk County Council's insurance department received about 19 claims from at least 17 different schools due to the prolonged sub-zero temperatures.

Yesterday a spokesman said George White Junior School in Norwich was also still repairing the damage caused by a burst pipe on Christmas day.