PARENTS of pupils at John of Gaunt School in Trowbridge have shown their appreciation by delivering cards, flowers and more than 600 Cadbury's Creme Eggs for the staff.

The Friends of John of Gaunt wanted to recognise the incredible work the school has undertaken over lockdown.

The group, which is made up of almost 200 school parents, said: "We want to say thank you. We are so lucky to have an incredible team who work tirelessly for the students and parents.

"These have been challenging times and you have all overcome many difficult obstacles to keep us supported and informed while providing a first class service."

Three weeks ago, Boris Johnson hoped schools could start to return from Monday, March 8, although at this stage it is still not clear whether this means all students.

On January 4, the Government announced schools would close to all students apart from those with parents who are key workers and students classed as vulnerable.

Since lockdown, John of Gaunt School has been teaching around 70 students at school with the rest working at home. All its lesson are broadcast ‘live’ to students in line with the school's existing curriculum.

Assistant headteacher Amy Eyers said: "We have invested heavily in staff to enable them to master on-line teaching. The staff have done a wonderful job in challenging circumstances and we are really proud of the quality of the live lessons being delivered."

Headteacher, Paul Skipp said: "Across the lockdowns we wanted to ensure that we continued to follow our curriculum. Our live lessons have ensured we can do exactly that.

"Live teaching has enabled us to provide clear instructions, maintain dialogue and engagement with students whilst still proving clear and constructive feedback."

"We are so grateful to our parents for not only supporting and helping their children continue to learn at home but also for this very generous gesture, this is testament to hard work across the whole of the staff team."

With so many students working from home there has been a real concern that children’s mental health will suffer.

The rate has risen in boys aged 5 to 16 from 11.4 per cent in 2017 to 16.7 per cent in July 2020 and in girls from 10.3 per cent to 15.2 per cent over the same time period, according to The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2020 report, published by NHS Digital, in collaboration with the Office for National Statistics, the National Centre for Social Research, the University of Cambridge and the University of Exeter.

Mr Skipp added: "There is no doubt that students find it really difficult being away from their friends.

"As a school we have put a significant amount of resources into supporting children’s mental health.

"Our Pastoral staff have worked tirelessly across this lockdown maintaining daily contact with students that we know are finding things difficult.

"Our tutors meet their tutor groups daily for wellbeing check in’s, our PSHE lessons are dedicated to mental health support and we have provided a range a resources for students and their parents.

"This included a live webinar last week by Dr Dominique Thompson, a children mental health specialist who wrote the book How to Grow a Grown Up."