PUPILS at a school which burned to the ground returned to the classroom today as their headteacher promised: "Our future starts here."

And Viv Clark, the head of Brindle Gregson Lane Primary School, Bourne Row, Hoghton, revealed their new school could be complete within 10 months.

The old school was destroyed by a blaze which started in the early hours of Saturday, May 12.

The fire meant pupils spent nearly a month off before returning to lessons in portable classrooms based on the school's playground.

But Mrs Clark said: "Today is the day when we begin to look to the future.

"We are determined to provide as wide a curriculum for our pupils as possible.

"The fire devastated us all and we spent much of the remaining weeks of term trying to get a grip on things.

"But now we are back at school and have the prospect of a brand-new school to look forward to. We have new resources on the way which are modern and up to date. We have a lot to look forward to."

Planning permission was granted over the summer for the temporary classrooms to stay in place for the next two years, but the school is hoping they won't be needed for so long.

Mrs Clark added: "Plans and briefs are being drawn up and we have the chance to build the school we want.

"It will be a better school because we will be able to lose all the things which were awkward. We will be able to conform to all modern-day building regulations.

"Some of the pupils came in for a summer school to catch up and, all around, there is a determination to succeed.

"We are proud of the way the community rallied round and helped us. It is something I never imagined would happen, but the support we received was wonderful and things are looking bright for the future."

Two juveniles have been charged with arson. Six fire crews attended the blaze which is estimated to have caused £2million damage.

The school will be fitted with state-of-the-art sprinklers which may be fitted in all schools in the future.