Bondi Beach school closed after fire, students to be bused to Bellevue Hill Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content

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By Sarah McPhee

Bondi Beach Public School will not reopen until at least term 3 due to fire damage and more than 500 students will be accommodated two kilometres away at Bellevue Hill Public School.

A classroom block was extensively damaged when a fire broke out at the school, on the corner of Warners Avenue and Campbell Parade, shortly before 5pm on Wednesday.

The fire erupted on the second floor of a school building.

The fire erupted on the second floor of a school building. Credit:Twitter/@krlangford

Flames were seen issuing from a second-storey school building and smoke stretched across the iconic beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

More than 50 students and three staff members were evacuated at the school’s after-hours care service and all were accounted for. Two police officers were treated for smoke inhalation.

The school was closed to on-site learning for the rest of the week. In an update on Friday night, the Education Department said it would remain closed for on-site learning for the rest of term 2, which ends for NSW public schools on June 25.

Until it can reopen, the slightly smaller Bellevue Hill Public School, which has 524 students, according to MySchool 2020 enrolment figures, has offered to accommodate all 584 Bondi Beach Public School students from Tuesday, June 15.

The fire was extinguished from outside the building.

The fire was extinguished from outside the building. Credit:Fire and Rescue NSW

The Education Department said the Bellevue Hill school had been “fully refurbished in recent years and has the capacity to cater for the students from both schools”.

“Sydney Buses will transport students to and from Bondi Beach Public School for the next two weeks, with a staff member travelling on each bus,” it said.

“At Bellevue Hill Public School, students will remain in their regular class group with their class teacher, including any special arrangements for learning and wellbeing.”

The arrangements, designed to make the change as smooth as possible, were made in consultation with the Parents and Citizens groups at both schools.

The Education Department is working to have Bondi Beach Public School back to full on-site learning and teaching from term 3, commencing on July 12, although this depends on the assessment of the fire damage.

It is working with the Bondi Beach Hive – the before and after-school care facility – to explore the possibility of relocation to the Bellevue Hill school. The Hive is non-operational until further notice.

The department will also be refunding any weekly lease costs for the Bondi Farmers Market and Bondi Markets, held at the school on Saturdays and Sundays respectively but cancelled indefinitely because of the fire.

In the meantime, the markets have encouraged customers to support the Growers Market at Paddington on Saturdays and the Rozelle Collectors Market on Sundays.

“Please stay tuned for reopening at Bondi,” the Bondi markets said on social media. “Thanks for your support!”

Fire and Rescue NSW received multiple triple zero calls for smoke coming from the school building.

“NSW Police officers were first on scene and went inside to search the building as it was unknown if anyone was inside,” FRNSW said.

Firefighters arrived and conducted a full search, confirming no one was inside. The fire, contained to a classroom, was extinguished from outside the building.

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