MORE than 250 pupils at a Wiltshire primary school have each been given a musical instrument to help get them through the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Edward Powe, the new head at Staverton Church of England Primary School, has dished out ukeleles to every child at a cost of £4,000 to help boost their mental health.

Mr Powe, 32, said: “It’s based on a book called Every Child a Song by Nicola Davies.

“The idea is that every child is unique and has a song to sing, some are loud, some are quiet, and some have different tunes, and we should cherish them all.

“It’s not a gimmick. The ukeleles are theirs for life. It’s an investment in their education and to say we value their uniqueness.”

Many of the children have never had a musical instrument before and are learning how to play the ukeleles in class and at home, where they are being given online tutorials by Mr Powe’s wife, Annabel.

“If just five children have a spark for music and learn how to express themselves, then it will have been worth it,” said Mr Powe, who previously worked at three schools in the Bristol area.

The ukeleles are just one of the ideas he has introduced since joining Staverton Primary at the start of term on January 4 as its new headteacher.

Mr Powe has also built a new library in the school’s main corridor and has plans for a new play area at the front to be completed by early March.

He says: “Reading for pleasure is a great passion of mine. I want the children to be able to read for pleasure and enjoyment.”

The school is coping well with the Covid-19 lockdown, with 90-107 of its 252 pupils coming in for lessons.

All are vulnerable or the children of key workers. The remainder are being home-educated by the school’s 30-plus teaching staff and their parents.