The blaze erupted in the roof of the arts and theatre block of Lytchett Minster School in Poole, Dorset after a huge storm, and quickly spread through the rest of the two-storey building.
Members of the public dialled 999 when they spotted the 20ft flames and huge plume of smoke. Crowds of teachers and students raced to the scene as more than 60 firefighters tried to put out the blaze.
Blaze: Flames rip through the roof and upper floor of Lytchett Minster School near Poole in Dorset, in a fire thought to have been started by a bolt of lightning early this morning
Panic: More than 60 firefighters battled the flames throughout the morning. In a cruel twist of fate, the school was only recently fully reopened after a £12 million rebuild following a fire in 2000
Storm: The fire is thought to have been started by a bolt of lightning early on Thursday morning
Firefighters were called just after 7am but they were still trying to douse the flames by late afternoonCrews from Dorset, Devon, Hampshire and Somerset have been tasked to help with the inferno that has left the building a blackened shell.