SCHOOLS across County Durham are finding new ways for students to stay connected throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

At Ox Close Primary in Spennymoor, its weekly whole school assembly now takes place virtually, allowing every class to join together in celebrating the achievements of each week.

The Northern Echo:

Positive mental health is also being promoted during these continued challenging times, with each classroom bubble having created their own ‘Tell Me Tree’.

Through the trees, students are encouraged to talk about their feelings.

Anna Bowden, Head of School, said: “It was really important to us that we thought of ways to continue bringing the children together and making them feel as though they were still part of a bigger community, despite the challenges of coronavirus restrictions.

“I’m so pleased we thought of the virtual celebration assembly, which we hold every Friday. The children really love coming together for it; one little boy told me it was the highlight of his week and it is wonderful to see every class together – even if it is just on screen for now.

The Northern Echo:

In the 'Harvest Hearts' initiative, pupils sent hearts which featured a picture or message to spread love.

Recipients included the children’s Treetops ward at the University Hospital of North Durham.