SECURITY patrols and extra CCTV cameras are being brought in at a school following a racist attack by intruders armed with a baseball bat.

Hameldon Community College heateacher Gill Broom has been praised by councillors and police for her "positive and proactive" response to the violence.

But Burnley Council leader Gordon Birtwistle accused the county council - which runs the school - of 'hanging Ms Broom out to dry'.

Marcus Johnstone, county council cabinet member for education, hit back and said "schools run themselves not us".

Ms Broom revealed the extra security in a letter to sent out to parents during the Christmas break.

Attendance at Hameldon, Byron Street, Burnley, went from 52 per cent to 25 per cent in the three days following the incident before the school broke up.

Ms Broom's letter aims to reassure parents in a bid to get more pupils back in class when Hameldon - which was put into special measures last March after Ofsted found it to be failing - re-opens.

In addition, two community meetings have been called this week for those who are still worried.

They will be on Thursday from 4-7pm at the Chai Centre in Hurtley Street, Burnley, and on Friday from 4-7pm in the meeting room at St Leonard's Church, Padiham.

In the letter, Ms Broom said: "We realise that there will be some parents who have some concerns or issues they wish to discuss with us prior to the school reopening and have therefore arranged for two informal drop-in sessions.

"We hope that you will be able to meet with us at these times but we are also planning a further series of meetings early in the spring term."

A teenage pupil was hit in the head with a baseball bat by an intruder on Friday, December 14.

After Ayaaz Darr, 16, was hit on the head and taken for treatment, another boy punched Amanat Yousaf, 15, who suffered a seizure.

Four teenagers - two of whom are current pupils aged 15, and another is a former pupil - were arrested before being released. Under their bail conditions, they are banned from going near the school grounds.

Ms Broom wrote an initial letter of reassurance to parents in the days after the attack, which is being treated as a racist incident.

In the latest letter she said that the governing body had commissioned the county council to carry out a "complete health and safety audit of the site", involving police and other security agencies.

And she revealed that during the Christmas holidays additional security cameras had been installed.

Ms Broom also pledged that security monitors would be now be watched more regularly, while additional staff would be on patrol during lunchtime and breaks from the start of the new term.

She said: "The new year brings many planned opportunities for the college to build upon the good progress that has been made in response to our post-Ofsted action plan.

"All staff and governors are committed to ensure that Hameldon continues on its journey of school improvement as recognised by Ofsted in our September monitoring vists. "

At present, the special meetings this weekwill only be attended by school staff and governors.

There will be no representative from Lancashire County Council, although Coun Johnstone said they "would be happy to attend if invited".

Coun Birtwistle applauded Ms Broom's positive actions, but criticised the county council for "doing very little".

Coun Birtwistle said: "Ms Broom has done all she can, but she and her staff appear to be the only ones who are concerned with the school - once again, where are the letters to parents from the county council?

"The staff are doing their level best in a difficult situation, but leadership should be coming from the education authority.

"I give Ms Broom 10 out of 10 for being proactive and committed and I hope this helps parents, but it's a pity her employers aren't doing the same. They've hung her out to dry."

But County Coun Johnstone hit back and said: "As I have said before, schools runs themselves, not county council.

"This initiative is a progressive attempt to allay parents fears and as an authority we are doing everything we possibly can to support the school at this difficult time.

"I and other colleagues have written to the parents of the assaulted boys, but it is not generally the authority's place to write letters to parents."

Chief Superintendent Neil Smith , head of the police covering Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, said he was fully behind the school.

He said: "The head is very keen to do what is needed to reassure parents in difficult circumstances, and we welcome her efforts.

"We are thoroughly investigating the incident to find out how people came into the school, but I'd like to reassure parents that this was an isolated incident.

"The school is being very proactive and we are keen to provide support where it is needed, but it also needs parents' support."

Hameldon was launched under the Building Schools for the Future scheme last year and replaced Ivy Bank and Habergham High school.