A VILLAGE school that prides itself on looking after the environment has been devastated by vandals who have targeted its outdoor classrooms and forest school.

Police have stepped up patrols around Dauntsey Academy Primary School, West Lavington, near Devizes after it is believed teenagers caused damage in the evenings and at weekends.

School head Philippa Winbolt said: “It has been very upsetting for all of us. Our caretaker John Maxwell has been coming in early on a Monday morning to clear up the worst of the damage so the children would not see it.

“Having to pay for repairs and replacements is money we can’t really afford especially at the moment when we have so many other things to buy because of coronavirus.

“Sheds have been broken into and doors smashed but our Forest School has taken the brunt of it. Nature items that had been collected have been thrown around and ladders and pallets taken and moved up to the woods.

She thanked the police for their help and said cameras have now been installed to try and catch the culprits.

A Devizes police spokesman said: “It is distressing to report that unknown persons have opened sheds, damaged equipment and trashed the forest school.

“Teachers are under enough pressure to look after and educate our children in the current Covid circumstances, it is unacceptable that they are being targeted.”

“Please if you live in West Lavington and surrounding villages, keep an eye on where your children are hanging out.”

But the school is also celebrating a good rating from Ofsted and the way children have adapted to settling back into school life with new coronavirus restrictions in place.

Mrs Winbolt said: “I was delighted with the Ofsted report and the way all of my staff have rallied since the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have never closed as we take children of key workers and vulnerable children. It then took a lot of work to sort out how we could make the school safe for the return of reception, Year 1 and Year 6.”

The school has created bubbles with 12 children in each and Mrs Winbolt is now considering getting more toilets ready for September when all age groups are set to return.

But she was shocked by the cost of Portaloos which she was told would cost between £500 and £600 a week.

Inspectors who visited the school just before lockdown were very complimentary about the schools academic achievements and inclusivity.

Inspectors said: “Pupils thrive on the opportunities Dauntsey Academy offers. They talk excitedly about the many trips and visitors they have. Pupils listen carefully and learn well. Pupils feel happy and safe. They say bullying seldom happens.” The school’s ethos helps pupils realise that they can succeed whatever their gender or background. For example, on a rainy lunchtime when older pupils had chosen to go out and play football together, there were almost as many girls joining in as boys.”

But the report said some extra work was needed on helping Year 6 children prepare for the move to secondary school.