A HEAD teacher has commended outside agencies for their ongoing support following the death of two pupils in just two months.

14-year-old Windermere School students Pierre Dacosta Noble and Fionnuala Ryan, died in November and December of last year.

This week the private school’s head teacher Ian Lavender spoke out about the tragedies for the first time.

Mr Lavender assured parents and staff about the importance of pupil safeguarding.

He said: “Two students who attended Windermere School died tragically last year.

“Pierre DaCosta Noble died in school and Fionnuala Ryan died during the Christmas holidays at home.

“We take the safeguarding of all the students at our school very seriously."

Mr Lavender spoke out after inquests into both deaths were launched by the Cumbria coroner.

Yesterday an inquest into the death of Fionnuala Ryan was adjourned to give key witnesses more time to assess the documents of evidence submitted to the court.

Earlier this week, an inquest into the death of Pierre DaCosta Noble, who resided as a boarder at Windermere School, found he had taken his own life days after classmates smeared faeces into his pillow.

Coroner Andrew Tweddle ruled the French-born 14-year-old intended his actions and would have been ‘deeply upset’ by the incident.

Mr Tweddle was also told excrement was smeared inside one of Pierre’s boots and said it impacted on the decision he made on November 9 last year.

The teenager was described as a model pupil at Windermere School after he joined as a boarder in Spring 2019. But he told his friends he was not enjoying his time at the school, Cockermouth Coroner’s Court was told.

Statements from Pierre's friends suggested he was a happy boy and was very popular.

Jennifer Davies, head of safeguarding at Windermere School, was asked by the coroner if she felt a multi-agency report created to review the events running up to the death was correct to find the excrement incident had no impact on Pierre's decision to take his own life.

She said: “Given the passing of time, I don’t believe the conclusion of the report was correct.”

The report was created after a review was launched to see if there were any lessons that could be learned from Pierre’s death.

Paul Ainsworth, a physics teacher and house master at the school, said: “He was very popular with all the other students. I would describe him as a model pupil.

“Someone had put excrement in his boot and smeared it on the inside of his pillow.

“We found it odd that he was targeted as he was well liked.”

Mr Ainsworth described the night Pierre died and spoke of how he had gone missing when it was time for the boys to go to bed.

The inquest heard he had signed out just after an evening meeting at around 8pm and had not returned.

Mr Ainsworth said he thought he would either be in a friend’s block or speaking with his parents on the phone so asked a couple of senior boys to look for him.

The hearing was told how the two pupils returned visibly upset after finding the Year 9 student hanged.

Mr Ainsworth tried to resuscitate him until the emergency services arrived and took him to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where he was later pronounced dead.

He said he did not follow normal protocol to raise the fire alarm if a child was missing due to his fears it would cause Pierre more distress in what had already been a difficult week.

The coroner asked Joanna Parry, deputy head of pastoral care at the school at the time, whether he made the right decision.

“I believe he made a good decision. He did not know what the students were going to find when they went out,” she said.

Headteacher Ian Lavender was asked by the coroner why he never had any face to face interaction with the student. He explained there was a system in place, and that he was aware of the incident classed as bullying, but would only be involved himself further down the line. “I deeply regret that I did not get involved with the matter sooner,” he said.

The coroner said: “It is clear what his intentions were. It is my conclusion that Pierre did deliberately intend to take his own life.”

Following the inquest, Mr Lavender added: “We have worked closely with outside agencies to support those who knew the pupils who died.

“The agencies have been exemplary and I would like to thank them for their services at this time.”

Anyone with needing to talk to someone should call Samaritans on 116123.