The headteacher of Castle School has sent an emotional message to parents and students following the school’s closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After operating a partial closure for two days last week, the school shut to all but the children of ‘key workers’ on Friday.

In a letter sent out to parents on Friday headteacher Joe Docherty described the week as ‘incredibly challenging and unprecedented’.

Addressing school leavers, those in years 11 and 13, he said: “Understandably, students and parents are shocked and confused regarding the situation with their examinations and leaving school.

“The traditional events that mark the end of GCSE or A-level courses are one of the highlights of the year in a school; it saddens all of us that these events have not been able to take place.

“However my main priority has to be the safety of our students, our staff, our students’ wider families and our community. The current situation with Covid-19 is incredibly serious and it is clear from the governmental guidance that gatherings should be limited and social distancing take place.

“These end of year events are often emotional: it is a human reaction in emotional times to hug or touch. During these type of events, there is a greater risk of passing on a virus.

“I understand that some students and parents may feel let down, however, I took this decision to protect everyone. I can confirm we are looking to formally say goodbye to Year 11 and 13 when it is safe to do so.

“We have in no way forgotten them and we will ensure we do everything within our power to send them on their way to their next stage of education safely, positively and with our full support.”

Mr Docherty also thanked all the parents who had written messages of support.

He said: “These messages have helped keep morale high in what has been an incredibly challenging and unprecedented week.

“The staff at The Castle School have been absolutely incredible and I thank them for their dedication and support.”

In a similar message to parents headteacher of Marlwood, Del Planter, also announced his intention to hold and event for Year 11 students.

He said: “We will off course want to gather these students together as a year group in the future when it is safe and appropriate to do so.”