A school community came together to support each other before closing its doors as the Coronavirus pandemic continues.

Along with the rest of the nation, students at Epping St John’s Church of England School, in Epping, were told by the Government that all schools should close on Friday, March 20.

Despite that meaning Year 11 and 13 students missing out on the traditional leavers day celebrations, the school rallied to make it an end to remember.

During the days before the enforced school shutdown, students participated in:

• Year 7 students wrote secret letters for their friends to read during the weeks ahead

• Students and teachers went head to head in a traditional end of year football match, refereed by head of school Michael Yerosimou

• Year 11 attended a “not leavers” assembly to mark the end of their time at the school, before they return for the school’s sixth form

• Students wrote thank-you postcards to their teachers for holding the fort during the challenging time

• Year 13 had a pizza get together in their sixth form common room

• Year 11 were rewarded with a pizza lunch for their efforts this year

The Epping-based school remains open for students of key workers who are unable to stay at home during the worldwide crisis.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Year 11 and 13 students enjoyed a pizza party in honour of their hard work prepping for GCSE and A-Level exams

Mr Yerosimou said: “This is a very difficult time for everybody in our community. Our staff have worked incredibly hard to ensure a calm and supportive working atmosphere in this very unsettling period.

“I feel exceptionally proud of how we have all worked as a community through this difficult time. We will all get through this together.

“I am so proud of the staff and students. Many are already self-isolating, as per government guidelines, and students are getting on with all the wonderful work that teachers have put on the Show My Homework online system for them.

“But, the atmosphere in school during the last week was unique and something I will never forget. I knew our community bond was strong, but it’s been strengthened immeasurably.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Pupils and teachers played against each other for the traditional end of year football match

“This is not a time to celebrate, but it is a time to be positive, show resilience and take the very best you can out of this worrying situation.

“We saw all of that in abundance this week and I am humbled by the spirit showed by our wonderful school community.

“Nobody knows how long this situation is going to last, but I do know we all have very special memories to take with us from this week, although I’m not sure the teachers will remember the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Year 11 so fondly.”

For information on the school’s sixth form, visit www.bmatsix.org.