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Pupils evacuated from class after suspected lightning strike at Wymondham's Robert Kett Junior School

PUBLISHED: 14:40 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 19:36 06 July 2017

Robert Kett Primary School hit by a lightning strike. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Robert Kett Primary School hit by a lightning strike. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

Almost 600 school children were evacuated from class after a suspected lightning strike at their school.

The pupils at Wymondham’s Robert Kett Junior School were told to leave their rooms and head to the school’s sports hall after a “very loud thunder clap” and lightning at around 1.15pm, during today’s storm.

Karen Hurst, the school’s business manager, said they believed lightning had struck a lightning conductor on the roof of the main one-storey school building.

MORE: Weather warning in place as thunder is heard across Norfolk

It created a power surge, which blew the school’s alarm system.

Mrs Hurst said: “During the storm we believe that the lightning struck our lightning conductor, which does a fantastic job of keeping us safe.

“We evacuated the children as a precaution until it was deemed to be safe.

“It was lightning followed by a very loud thunder clap, which immediately set off our emergency alarms.”

Headteacher Alison Clarke said staff realised something was wrong when a hand drier in the toilets turned on by itself and then stopped working.

It was followed by a smell of smoke coming from the alarm panel in reception.

The fire service was called to the school, and engineers were called in to investigate if any damage was done and confirm whether or not lighting struck the conductor.

MORE: Lightning causes train cancellations from Norwich to Ely, Sheringham, Lowestoft and Yarmouth

A sweep of the building was made and staff were confident that it was safe for the children to return.

“Some of them were upset because of the unusual way we evacuated,” Mrs Clarke added. “The alarm in the sports hall was going off too, which was a bit odd.”

She added that none of the school’s 583 children were sent home.

“We had just been calming the children down over lunch because the storm was overhead,” she said.

“We were talking to them saying ‘it’s alright, it won’t hit us’...”

MORE: Norwich postal worker describes “big bang” as lightning strikes her home

As the alarm system was out of action, Mrs Clarke said the school used a manual system to evacuate the building in under three minutes.

Business manager Mrs Hurst added: “There wasn’t any fire and we just wanted reassurance from the fire brigade that the building was still safe and they confirmed that it was.

Mrs Hurst said pupils had returned to the main building and classes resumed by 2.15pm.

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