A SOUTHAMPTON school has been targeted for the third time this year by vandals just days before pupils were due to sit their exams.

Teachers discover shards of broken glass yesterday morning after a group of teenagers used a drain pipe to smash 13 skylight windows at Townhill Junior School.

Now school staff are appealing to residents to help identify the vandals who struck on May 11 at 2.30pm to prevent future attacks.

Sian Carr, headteacher of Townhill Junior School, said: "It is disappointing that the school offers a positive space for the community and to have this happen is a real kick in the teeth. We do not have any money to spend on this, but the safety of the children has to be prioritised.

"This is the worst time it could happen because children have been moved out of classrooms, which does not support their academic learning."

Nick Humphries, the deputy head, said: "It is mindless violence and I was devastated for the children because it is the first day of their SATS. You could not make it up and it will cost thousands to repair.

"The year six classrooms were the worst affected, which now have red tape over the doors, and some of these rooms will be out for the rest of the week."

He added: "They also flooded the pre-school area and in the past four months these people have used the furniture there to get up on our roof. We have had to put up fencing to try and stop this from happening.

"Last week they destroyed a camera on the side of the school so it seems it was planned."

Claire Coomber, a year six teacher, said: "My first thought was where are the children going to do their SATS? There was glass all over the tables and we had to relocate all the children to the hall, as it was the only room big enough to do their exams. It was a nightmare and the amount of damage here is the worst we have had."

Dave Fordon, another year six teacher, added: "It is tough for the kids. The people who have done this have an agenda and wanted to disrupt what was happening at the school."

Hampshire police said: "Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101, quoting 44190164017."