CHILDREN from the Pinewood Baby and Toddler Group are full of smiles now they have a new classroom to replace one destroyed by fire in March.

They are based at Pinewood Infant School, which suffered an arson attack that left only three rooms unscathed.

Mothers and organisers say they are indebted to staff at the school for giving them use of a temporary building.

Spokeswoman Amanda Clare said it was a quick turnaround in the group’s fortunes.

“Everything went — the room, the toys and kitchen facilities. We are so pleased to have a venue again. We would like to say a big thank you to all involved, especially for the help and support given by Sue Harris, the headteacher, and Brenda Jackson, the admin officer.”

Amanda said the fire hit everyone hard but the will to carry on never wavered.

“We still continued but we had to adapt by going round to people’s houses and finding alternative things to do with the kids.”

She said everyone was determined to fight for the rebuilding of the infant school because it played a vital role for people living there.

“Pinewood has a great community spirit and we are all looking forward to seeing our children grow up through the school.

“Many of the children who attend the Baby and Toddler Group have been signed up to attend the playgroup and will continue their education through Pinewood Infant School.

“We hope good will come out of this disaster and that they rebuild the school as soon as possible.”

Amanda said the baby and toddler group was a meeting point for parents to attend with their children.

“It’s about having a chat, letting your hair down and meeting other parents. We get dads coming along as well as mums.”

Doubt was cast over the future of Pinewood Infant School last month when it was revealed there was a huge number of surplus infant school places in Farnborough — Pinewood is only just over half full.

In 2000 education bosses estimated there would be a 25% drop in the number of four-year-olds, leaving infant schools struggling to fill places.

County councillor Don Allen has said all those who started their education at the school in September 2002 would complete their three years at Pinewood.

In the meantime a survey has begun to forecast pupil numbers and places required in Farnborough from 2004.

Two boys, aged ten and 11, were arrested shortly after the fire began. They have been released on bail pending further inquiries.