Four of his pupils, and one former pupil who had recently left the school, died in the blaze. A handful of other students who lived in the tower escaped with their lives – some with injuries – while others have been rehoused.

In total, 56 out of 60 students made it to the exam on 14 June. They were “shellshocked”, says Benson, and some in borrowed clothes but they still came.

Others studied during their convalescence, including Georgina Smith, a younger year 8 student, who diligently emailed her computer science homework to her teacher from her hospital bed.

Almost all have continued to turn up for their lessons – with attendance at 90%.

“The overwhelming majority of students were eager to get back to school,” says Benson. “They were eager to see their friends. They understood the importance of getting on with their learning and lessons.”


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