A SCHOOL was shut today after gales tore off the roof.
Fartown High School closed this morning after last night's heavy gusts ripped off sections of the flat roof.
Staff arriving this morning took the decision to turn away the 550 pupils after finding large ceiling panels had been swept into the grounds.
An outer bitumen covering on the roof had lifted up, exposing foam-backed panels beneath.
About eight boards, covering hundreds of square feet, were then blown off.
Deputy head teacher Guy Edmondson saw one panel crash into a window.
"When I saw the boards blowing about I knew we had serious problem," he added.
Six upper floor classrooms were directly affected and rain has been running into the building down to a lower floor.
A satellite dish on the roof was also knocked over after being buffeted by the storm-force gusts.
Head teacher Warwick Firmin said specialist contractors had been called to fix the damage, initially by waterproofing the interior of the classrooms.
"It's going to be quite a big job," he said.
"We are optimistic about opening on Monday but we can't be sure," he added.
The bad weather is forecast to last into the weekend and could hamper repair attempts.
A Met Office spokesman said storms had lashed the country.
"Heavy rain and strong to gale-force winds swept across much of England, Wales and Scotland this morning.
"Gusts will reach up to 70mph in parts of England and Wales."
The Fartown school opened in September, 1968. It took almost two years to build the then Far-town County Secondary School in Woodhouse Hall Road.
The new school was designed to replace the former Fartown Secondary Modern School in Wasp Nest Road, which then became Birkby Junior School.
The new school has top-of-the-range science laboratories and a swimming pool.