AMESBURY CE Primary School has remained open throughout the pandemic to care for children of key workers and vulnerable families.

Although staff have been busy looking after children while respecting social distancing, things are "not the same" – teachers miss their pupils and pupils miss their teachers, TAs and friends.

To lift people's spirits and show children that "we're all connected", 40 members of staff put together a video using pieces of string.

As deputy headteacher Sophie Short explained, the idea goes back to picture book 'The Invisible String' by Patrice Karst which was read to all children before schools shut.

She said: "On the 20th of March, our last official day of school, every single teacher shared that with the children and gave them a little card with the message 'we're all connected' and a piece of string to take home with them so that if they ever got upset they had that [to go back to].

"We know that children would have been a bit excited not to be going back to school but it's not a holiday and we knew that down the line they would suddenly get a bit confused and a bit upset that they couldn't go back so we wanted them to know that we would be thinking about them."

In the past few weeks, lots of changes have been brought in and the school has had to adapt very quickly to keep children and staff safe.

"[There's] lots of hand washing and lots of wiping down," said Mrs Short.

"We're quite fortunate because we are a large school with many staff but a significant number of staff have had to self-isolate for health reasons.

"We're on a rota system that's made up of teachers and support staff and they take children into small groups so we can social distance as best we can."

On average, 30 pupils attend school each day and 65 have been cared for so far. However, that number is set to increase to accommodate the needs of some families who, from this week, will no longer be able to provide childcare.

Children share classes with pupils from different year groups and the focus of teachers and staff has so far been on "trying to make it fun".

"We have music lessons every Friday, poetry, lots of arts and crafts. Some teachers even bought extra art resources to make sure children have nice activities to do."

But as well as caring for children in the classroom, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to support pupils and families at home.

During the first four weeks of lockdown, before the government's voucher scheme was introduced, staff cooked up around 350 meals for vulnerable families. Most of them were delivered door to door.

Teaching material that needs to be printed out also gets delivered to families who have no access to printers, while to ensure everyone can access books, staff have placed a trolley outside the school gates so families can pick up a few titles of their choice during their daily exercise routine.

While the pandemic has undoubtedly posed many challenges, Mrs Short hopes that one day staff and pupils will be able to look back and appreciate "how much stronger we are".

For now though, the trick is to "take each day as it comes".

"We're just waiting and hoping we'll find out more information [on when schools can reopen] soon. We just have to patient and appreciate that this is a situation we haven't seen before and everybody, in every line of work, is taking each day as it comes and responding to the situation as it unfolds."