PARENTS emerged from the second meeting called after an armed attack at a school full of praise for the staff and hopeful for the future.

The event, held at St Leonard's Church in Padiham, allowed parents of children who attend Hameldon Community College to raise concerns with headteacher Gill Broom, as well as police and council representatives.

About 20 parents attended the drop-in session.

It followed a successful meeting held on Thursday night at the Chai Centre in Hurtley Street, Burnley which 40 parents attended.

The meetings were triggered after a teenage pupil was hit in the head with a baseball bat at the school by an intruder on Friday, December 14, in what police say was a racist attack.

Four teenagers have been arrested and released on bail following the attack.

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

Alison Taylor, who has two children in years nine and 11 at the school, said: "Some of these teachers are brilliant and never get a word of praise.

"I feel completely reassured after talking to the staff and the police.

"Gill Broom and her staff put a lot of time into the school and are a credit to it."

This was echoed by fellow parent Christine Everiss from Padiham, who has children in year nine and 10.

She said: "It's not the fault of the teachers or the head teacher, it's the parents of the kids to blame.

"I work at the school and I see Gill Broom in at 6am working flat out for those kids.

"They are working hard and I am reassured that they are doing something about the problems. The school was improving a lot before this attack."

Ms Broom said: "It's important that people feel that they have had a chance to discuss issues with us.

"We want to establish a dialogue between the school, partnership agencies and parents, and keep that open.

"We are asking parents to fill in a sheet with their problems, the school will then work through the issues to find solutions, and then a response will be posted to parents.

"It's back to school at 8:45am on Monday morning and I expect a full turn-out."

Sgt Phillip Hutchinson, neighbourhood officer for Burnley West and Padiham, said: "It's been a really good session and it's good to talk to the parents and hear them say that they're reassured.

"We're here to set the record straight and open the lines of communication."