Highland Council will give every Park Primary pupil £100 to replace the belongings they lost in Monday’s devastating fire.
Highland Council officials have now confirmed that from tomorrow, pupils will be housed at Invergordon Academy until a “longer term plan” is established.
Highland Council Chief Executive Donna Manson said: “It’s been a real trauma and the main focus on meeting families tonight is to deal with the trauma.
“For all experiences like this, it is trying to get back to normal and that’s why we are delighted that the children will be back to school on Thursday.
“We know the children have lost their coats, lost their shoes and it’s really cold outside. We want them to be able to get back into school on Thursday not having to worry about these things – pencils, their gym bags – and I think that helps them get back into school.”
Eight additional teachers are also being brought on board to help the school’s traumatised staff.
Mrs Manson confirmed a second meeting would be held within the community in the coming weeks to explain the council’s long term plan.
She added: “We have got five to six weeks through until Easter time and we need to give the children some stability to come to terms with what has happened.
“We will be back to the public in two weeks’ time because we know people are going to ask questions about post Easter and what does that look like but the main focus is on well-being, welfare, and making sure the children are okay and the staff are okay.”
As a precautionary measure all old laptops have now been scrapped from use as the council works to replace these provisions as part of their ongoing refresh programme.
With investigations ongoing to establish the cause of the blaze, she said the council was willing to be transparent and learn from their mistakes.
She said: “In every tragic incident there is always a sense of shock but there was a huge relief yesterday that everyone was safe.
“That is the most important thing at times like these but at the same time we are listening, open and are aiming to be a transparent as possible.
“If there is anything we need to learn from this then we want to be able to do that and be honest and brave enough to share that with the public and to understand anything we can do better.”
Invergordon rallies round following Park Primary fire
A north community has rallied to lend support to families affected by the fire at Park Primary.
Local man Martin Black commended the staff for their quick thinking.
He said: “To the first responders of Park Primary School (the teachers) – they saved countless lives of the children. Every one of them is a heroine/hero. They made sure everyone was safe and avoided a tragedy, not forgetting the emergency services, South Lodge School and Invergordon Academy and anyone else who helped. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying you were fantastic today and the good people of Invergordon thank you from the bottom of our hearts. May God bless you all.”
Former Park teacher and member of Invergordon Community Council Angela Windsor said she was “heartbroken” for the community’s tragic loss.
She said: “It is heartbreaking for the school community and to all in the town where there has been a connection or attachment to Park over the years. The whole town has lost so much.”
Park head teacher Karen Cox said she was “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support.
She said: “Thank you all for your kind words and support. It is quite overwhelming. I am very proud of our staff team at Park Primary. They were fantastic.”
Offers of support have come from further afield too, with Tarradale Primary School in Muir of Ord and Ross County Football Club appealing for donations.
A spokesman from Tarradale Primary said: “In any fire drill or alarm the children are trained to walk out of the door directly and promptly picking nothing up on the way. This means that the pupils and families of Park have to now look to buying all new school equipment.
“We all know this can be very expensive business. If you have anything in your house which could help in any way and that you no longer need would you consider donating to these families? Just pop anything at all into the school and your parent’s council will deliver it directly to people in need.”
In a statement, the Dingwall-based club said: “Everybody at Ross County is absolutely devastated to hear about what has happened at one of our sponsored schools, Park Primary.
“A school that has played such an important part in the heart of the Invergordon community for a number of years.
“Park Primary is an important part of the Ross County family.”