A SCHOOL community has had a tragic start to the year after the death of a young student.

A girl who was in Year 8 at Henry Box School in Witney, who has not yet been named publicly, died on Sunday.

Pupils were told the news on the first day of term yesterday, and a letter was then sent out to families.

Writing in the letter, the secondary school's headteacher Wendy Hemmingsley said: "With deep regret I am writing to let you know that one of our Year 8 students passed away yesterday [Sunday].

"Our thoughts and deepest condolences go to her family.

"We have shared this sad news with students today."

The head added that students will have access to support as they come to terms with the loss.

She wrote: "School counsellors are available to counsel students and referrals can be made via tutors or student managers.

"I am confident that the Henry Box community will support each other through this difficult time."

Ms Hemmingsley did not name the pupil nor give any circumstances as to how she had died.

Pupils in Year 8 are usually aged between 12 and 13 years old.

The news comes less than two months after Henry Box School student Thomas Early died in a cycling crash in West Oxfordshire.

READ AGAIN: Schools pay tribute to cyclist Thomas Early

The 16-year-old died on November 20 while cycling on the B4449 near Eynsham, having recently joined the 1,139-pupil school's sixth form.

READ AGAIN: Pupils in Witney light candles for boy killed in crash

Pupils lit candles for their classmate Thomas and were sent home after learning of his death.