LISA Percy, the head teacher at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham has paid tribute to student Ellie Gould, 17, who died on Friday, May 3.

In a poignant scene students at the school released 250 bio-degradable balloons to mark the first week anniversary of her death.

Head teacher Lisa Percy said: “This has been an extremely difficult week for our school and the wider community, but I have been truly humbled by the way students have come together and supported each other.

“Many tributes have been left in the 6th Form courtyard and I’m sure this will have been of huge comfort to Ellie’s close friends and family.

“Ellie was a well-loved, popular and bubbly student and in her memory, students wanted to mark the one-week anniversary of her death with a balloon release today.

“This was a chance for everyone who knew Ellie to come together, support each other and share their fondest memories of her.

“Since returning to school on Tuesday, we have provided specialist support to students through a number of partner agencies and I am extremely grateful to them for the invaluable support they continue to provide.

“I would like to take this opportunity to also thank the Hardenhuish staff for the support, professionalism and compassion they have shown during this time – many of them had taught Ellie during her time at the school and they have all been shocked and saddened by the news of her death.

“I would also like to thank the parents of our students who we have maintained close contact with this week to ensure they have the relevant information to support their children out of school hours.”

Insp Don Pocock said: “The mobile police point in Phelps Parade has remained in place all week for anyone in the local community who may have concerns or questions.

“This is likely to remain for the next few days and I’d encourage residents who have concerns to visit and we will do our best to answer any questions where appropriate."

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard paid tribute to the school and friends of Ellie.

He said: "I simply cannot comprehend the grief and sadness all those affected are feeling."

A murder investigation has been launched and a 17-year-old male from the Chippenham area was charged with murder on Monday, May 6.

He appeared in Bristol Crown Court and is next due in court on June 6. An inquest is set to open soon.