PRIMARY pupils in Greenock joined forces to give each other a great big hug – from the safety of their own homes.

Children from Aileymill Primary and Nursery who are missing school because of lockdown took part in an art and design challenge by drawing pictures of themselves with their arms outstretched.

Each image has now been put up around the perimeter of the Norfolk Road building to create a giant big group hug around the school.

Almost 140 drawings were submitted.

Catriona Miller, Aileymill head teacher, said: “The children are missing us and we’re missing them so we decided to do this to give the school a great big hug.

"It shows the children that the school is still there for them.

"We had a brilliant response to the project and everyone has done so well.

"We've been acutely aware throughout this pandemic that distance learning can undermine the feeling of being part of a thriving school community.

"It's so important for the children to continue to engage with the school experience and to know that were are here for them."

Paper packs were made available from four local locations for children to collect and create their designs at home and they handed their completed artwork back in.

The colourful drawings, featuring pupils’ names and classes, were picked up by staff, who laminated them and used tie wraps to put them up on the school fence for all to see.

The drawings were gathered at the nearby Nisa store, at Braeside Stores, Lalley's, and Branchton Community Centre.

During the shutdown Mrs Miller - along with other members of the Aileymill team including depute head Angela Ferrier - prepares learning packs for the youngsters which they receive every two weeks.

She also posts a video on Facebook every Sunday about plans for the week ahead, and phones families regularly.

Mrs Miller believes that the gigantic hug shows the school's place at the heart of the community.

She added: "We're very well known for our nurturing approach to learning and we pride ourselves on that.

"This project has helped to show the children that the school is a big part of their community and that we're still here caring for them."